HAMXIETY: what’s your Christmas entertaining dilemma?

Sponsored post for Woolworths

This year we are hosting Christmas at home and it’s the first time in 4 years that we will be in our own house. No packing Christmas presents in the car, no wedging our entire family into a room together, no stress, did I mention NO PACKING? I am so excited that Christmas Eve the sacks will be put up next to our fireplace and when we wake up they will be there.

I ADORE a big family Christmas, don’t get me wrong. We have had some crackers over the years – but they come with lots of plans on who will bring what and where, who will collect the ham and you get the pork, maybe you get some seafood…it’s A LOT. A lot of organisation, a lot of money and sometimes stress and a lot of, you know, family time. Sometimes not always the best.

But this year we are paring it right back. It’s going to be a small affair, it’s going to be basic and after a HUGE year that leaves us all former versions of ourselves by the end of it, we need to be kind and take the pressure OFF. 

I have discovered when I look back on all our Christmases that most of the time I don’t even remember what we ate. I remember us being silly, or dancing together, or everyone in the pool, or everyone playing a new board game. Christmas is about being together, making memories and the rest just doesn’t matter. We put so much pressure on ourselves for things to be perfect; well this year in particular my motto has been DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT. Why stress about a special fun time, let’s just relax and go with the flow. Take the pressure off and enjoy ourselves. Celebrate the achievement of another year with friends, family, and a good meal but not get our tinsel all tangled up.

Because the people, the time together, that’s what matters. 

I know from many messages over the years that people get overwhelmed with Christmas entertaining. It’s a big deal, having lots of people come to your home, providing food for them all, a place to sit and share a meal, it’s A LOT. But this Christmas with my approach of taking the pressure off, I wanted to share with you some tips I use and how you can take some shortcuts to still getting a great result on the big day. Woolworths have so many great products that are out there that help you create a wonderful Christmas without losing your mind along the way.

When you think about your main ham-xieties on Christmas what comes to mind? Time? Decorating? Cost? Pudding? How to carve a ham? There are so many, but here are some ways that may help you along the way.


Add stuff to your trolley well before the main event

I always think it’s a good idea to start adding in some Christmas items to your weekly trolley well before the main event. Grab some mince tarts or any of the Woolworths Christmas Gold bakery items you see now and whack them in the pantry for later.  

This can also help to have a stockpile of goods if people pop in or you have to go and bring a plate to a school event or the like…you have them there to go!

These Woolworths Gold Raspberry Meringues ($6) are perfect to add in now for later. Delicious treats that can be piled onto a platter or added to with cream and berries for a quick dessert.

Check out the Odd Bunch for bargains

Make sure you check out THE ODD BUNCH for buying up bulk stuff now that you could use at Christmas time. I find their citrus fruits always a bargain and so much cheaper. They can be used for cocktails, juice and freeze the juice in your ice cube tray for use in cocktails or even just to use in marinades for salads and dressings. I also love when I am at home and have people to entertain to have bowls of fruit around for people to help themselves to. Christmas is abundance and to me, there’s nothing better than bowls of citrus piled high to look wonderful.


No one will remember if you marinated your beef for 36 hours in a delicious melange of herbs. They just don’t. Believe me, I have done it and no one cares. They want to be with YOU, not your beef, so take the pressure down as Johnny said. Woolworths have some amazing hams available this year with lots of easy carve and roast options. I do love a smoked ham and the Woolworths Gold Triple Smoked Leg Ham is a winner. Grab one now if you have the space and don’t be scared of carving. Remember: DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT. I am no expert carver but I reckon you just give it a red hot go. Peel that skin back and carve as thinly as you can. I like to do a big session at a time and leave it on a plate carved ready for ham on toast, or sandwiches for lunch, or whenever the ham need strikes (which incidentally is 78 times higher than any other time throughout the year). You don’t even have to glaze it, just get carving onto a platter for Christmas lunch.

I have also seen that Woolworths have really stepped up their prepared veggies. Why not take advantage of the convenience of them like the Mixed Rainbow Vegetables you can roast off as a side, or to toss through a rocket salad with some Persian fetta and roasted nuts on top. Takes a bit of pressure off you, and no one will know the difference.

I also noticed that they have lots of prepared veggies: cauliflower & broccoli rice, pre-cooked mash, you name it. This section has really grown over the past 12 months. Pimp them slightly – or not!

There are also a huge range of entertaining platters available that you can order ahead and pick up – this is a no brainer and the easiest thing to do ever. Just order ahead and pick up and you are ready to go!

One other AMAZING shortcut is the Woolworths Mini Dessert Selection you would have seen on my Instagram. This pack, which is just $20, has got to be the easiest way to feed a crowd of people. And they are delicious. I may have taste tested a few…


I barely have time to get to the supermarket, let alone to run around to lots of different places for wrapping, or bon bons or decorations or even smaller gifts and this year there is such a great selection of Christmas wraps, cards and decorations right at the supermarket. It’s true! You can literally grab your tablescape in the one place. Have a look at some of the stuff I managed to find, and it was all cheap as chips and looked amazing.

While a few years ago I may have had the time to come up with a theme for my tablescape and wrapping, this year I believe it will be “whatever I can find”. And lucky for me I was able to find some great stuff at Woolies. You can pull together an easy, inexpensive and gorgeous looking table and even whip together a cute home made name plate with little to no effort.

I grabbed some  Woolworths Candy Canes for $1, tied three of them together with the large collection of elastic bands that I collect from bunches of broccolini throughout the year, then covered with a little ribbon…and there you have it! A home made stand for your name placements at the table. Takes 2 mins and looks fab!

And as for the decorations, take a look at the table I was able to pull together with what I found. Gorgeous bon bons for just $12, mini baubles and a beaded garland with a little greenery from the garden made a gorgeous table.

You can also add baubles into a glass or champagne flute and pop them around the table – they will look amazing with candle light flickering against them.

Little effort with high impact and a few little shortcuts with homemade touches. Remember it’s about taking the pressure off and focusing on the important stuff: time with people, making memories and not headaches.

Woolies have got some really great ideas this Christmas and no matter what your ham-xiety is, they will have a solution.

What are your main pressure points with Christmas entertaining?
Is it the number of people?
The ham?
The family?!
Share away and let’s see if we can all help each other out.

You may also find these Christmas entertaining posts I have done for Woolies useful:

Christmas at Grandma’s: Entrée (2012)
Christmas at Grandma’s: Dessert (2012)
5 Christmas Day Lunch Shortcuts (2014)
5 Vegetarian Christmas Canapes (2015)
Flavours of Christmas with Created with Jamie (2015)
How to build the perfect festive platter (2017)
Dessert hacks at Christmas (2018)


  1. I really do love your Woolies posts. Even though I’m an avid & loyal Woolies shopper you do spark ideas for me!
    My biggest stress is how to get everything cooked so that nothing is cold. Does that make sense? I have one small oven & no matter if there’s lots of us or just a few I like to go all out in food- ham & turkey, roast potatoes, yourkshire puds- it’s always a bit stressful kniwing what to cook first, what can sit while other stuff gets cooked. But in the end it’s always fine. I can’t wait!

    • Timing the dishes is a pain for me too, especially when people mill about and don’t get stuck in for ages. This year we’re doing all cold dishes. Salads, platters, cold roast chicken (buying the Woolies cooked one on Xmas Eve and bunging in fridge until needed). Dessert is going to be DIY pavs because I Don’t Care and everyone can sort themselves out.

      Hashtag exhausted and hungry…

      So maybe go for cold dishes?

    • Oh I know that feeling. One tip I have is that I always let the meat rest for almost the same amount of time I cooked it. I know – seems a LOT. I wrap it in foil, newspaper and then a tea towel and it stays juicy and warm..truly! Man I love Christmas Day!

  2. Awesome tips, thanks Woolies & Beth x

  3. thanks beth!
    i always have to do dessert … store bought pudding …
    but adding chocolate and orange with creamy custard and ice cream
    gilding the lily for christmas!
    much love mxx

Speak Your Mind