As we head into the season of the random pop-overs, family visits and neighbourly catch-ups, consider stocking up on these essentials for last-minute entertaining.
Cheese platter ingredients
A cheese platter is quick and easy to throw together, but it requires a bit of pre-planning to make sure you have all of the essentials on hand. Make sure you’ve always got two types of cheeses in the fridge (at least), a box of crackers, dried fruit, dips and even cured meats if you’re feeling organized. Find out how to make the perfect platter right here.
Box of chocolates
There are so many reasons to keep a box of chocolates in your pantry for the silly season – they make a great offering for visiting guests, but you can also send it to school with your children if you’ve forgotten their ‘bring a plate’ party or teacher gift.
Champers (or any kind of wine)
Visiting friends call for a drink, and there’s nothing more celebratory like a bottle of champagne. It’s ideal to be able to offer your guests a choice between bubbly, red and white wine, so next time you do the bottle shop run, see what’s on special and stock up! Wine doubles as a great last-minute gift, too.
Next time you spot a cute gift set of hand creams, cologne or chutney, pick it up – you literally never know when it will come in handy. Buying mini product bundles are usually a great way to save money on the individual items, and it looks like you’ve gone into waaaay more effort than you actually have. Perfect.
Guests staying a little longer than expected? Dash to the freezer and pop a round of frozen pizzas, pastries or pies into the oven! The selection of frozen foods on offer these days is pretty mind-blowing, so you certainly don’t need to opt for your nanna’s sausage rolls. Your guests truly won’t notice the difference.
If you’re trying to convince your giftee that you thought of them five weeks ago, and not five minutes ago, you need to give them a card. They take two seconds to fill out, but make all the difference when it comes to giving a heartfelt present – you just need to make sure you have a stack of generic, yet aesthetic, cards on hand.
Similarly, if you don’t have time to wrap a present (who does?!) a gift bag is a great last-minute alternative. Buy a selection of colours and try to coordinate it with the gift itself – it’s such an easy way to make your gesture look considered. Add some ribbon or stick-on letters and you’re golden.
There’s an old Australian proverb that says, “When in doubt, serve a bowl of chips.” They never disappoint! You can pretend you’re putting them out for the kids, but be sure to leave a bowl at the adults’ table, too. You’ll all be picking at them before you know it.
A simple candle is the perfect way to set the mood and make your house look and smell more welcoming. We recommend setting one up by the front door, meaning you can light it as soon as you hear a knock and make it look as though you’ve been expecting company all along.
A great playlist
Finally, it’s not a party without music, and having a great playlist on hand – ready to go at the touch of a button – is an essential part of entertaining. Go for the cheesy Christmas tunes with our playlist, or make your own!