Easy Christmas Entertaining Tips


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Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I’m sure it is for many of you, too. Not only because it’s summer for us in Australia but it’s a chance to spend quality time with family and friends indulging over great food and wine.

When I’m entertaining for Christmas in Sydney, I usually like to keep it simple. Australia provides the perfect climate for outdoor entertaining and a cold seafood lunch.

It doesn’t have to be fancy with all the bells and whistles. It’s much more fun for everyone when it’s relaxed. If you’re relaxed, then your guests will be relaxed too and the more you’re able to enjoy hosting.


One tip to avoid last minute stress is to delegate. Don’t feel like you have to do everything. Most guests don’t like to come empty handed anyway, so let them be a part of the preparation.

And don’t be afraid to assign people certain things, that way you don’t end up with 5 plates of the same salad.

For Christmas eve dinner it’s usually roasted turkey breast with cranberry and orange dressing - it’s so simple, full of flavour and tastes like Christmas!

On Christmas Day, it’s usually a casual alfresco lunch that mixes traditional and contemporary Christmas dishes.

glazed ham

I always like to have a nice glazed ham on Christmas Day, I have a recipe which is studded with cloves, uses minimal ingredients and makes an impressive centre piece at the table.

If you make the glazed ham for Christmas eve, the next day for Christmas lunch use the leftover ham to make a salad, like this warm ham, pickled cherry and peach salad – it’s delicious and perfect for a summer’s day.

I also like to serve a variety of seafood - prawns, oysters, smoked salmon. This BBQ prawn, avocado and mango salad is a huge hit on Christmas Day. There’s always some beautiful champagne to start with and then I’ll open some special bottles of wine to share around, which always goes down a treat.

For dessert it’s either a summer trifle with fresh berries or my version of mum’s Christmas pudding with ice cream - still keeping with the tradition of having a pudding.

As one of seven brothers, Christmas was always a special time of year in the Mangan household.



Mum would spend hours in the kitchen cooking everything from scratch. We would get all the trimmings every year and she would make her famous Christmas pudding, nothing beats it.

When I head home for Christmas, the smell of her pudding brings back so many great childhood memories.

These days, Christmas changes every year. Some are spent in Sydney or Melbourne with family, others are spent travelling the world and making the most of the downtime in our restaurants.

Christmas this year is set to be very different. We opened our new restaurant Salt grill & tapas bar in Ginza earlier this year, so I will be spending some time in Tokyo

Christmas lunch will no doubt be very nontraditional and will probably involve a good amount of sushi and sake!

What are your plans this Christmas?