Christmas is about creating and sharing special moments with the ones you love.
We all usually have the Christmas Day family extravaganza sorted, but it is also so lovely to have a special night with a small group of friends. And because it is Christmas, it’s nice to do things right. Though it takes some thought and planning, it is so worth it!
So here are some tips to do the small Christmas Dinner Party well.
Start with the list of guests as they are the most important ingredient. These people need to get along together, so think this one through, then invite away. You may like to bring some people together that have not met but who you think will get along well. These days when everyone is so busy it’s advisable to make sure people are free. So contact them first to see what days/dates suit, but make sure you let them know your preferred dates and provide 2 or dates extra. SMS or messenger or what’s app is fine but don’t do one message that includes all the guests as that constant pinging is so punishing.
Personally, for a dinner party, I now prefer to have around 8 guests so that you can all talk and enjoy the night. Sometimes the larger the numbers the harder it is to have a cohesive night but that’s my personal preference at the moment.
Then set about planning the event, this year we hosted a small party to launch Christmas and the Oscar Amherst Christmas candle at the same time, which gave us a starting point for the overall look and feel. Australian inspired dinner party with green and gold as the hero colours, just like our beautiful gift candle, 'All I Want'.
Designing the tablescape. Table scaping is the new buzz word given to designing the tabletop. This should be fairly easy but just needs some planning and thought. We started off with the white linen tablecloth and napkins which we purchased from Carlotta and Gee. White so that it could provide brightness to a night-time table setting. We ordered some floral table pieces from Seed Flora. Of course, the brief was Australian Christmas but its always a good idea to send some examples of what you like so they can have a good starting point as a reference. We ordered 3 low arrangements to allow enough room on the tables for the Oscar Amherst candles and low so that people can see each other across the table. To this, we layered some red pomegranates and Cinnamon quills as they made part of the notes that made up the Oscar Amherst candle. Due to the fact it was a night-time event we added some golden fairy lights through the middle of the table and the floral arrangements so that they gave off a warm twinkly light at night. We added some gold table charges (just from Kmart) to add colour to the place settings, you could obviously add gold cutlery if you have it but play around with it when you set it up to see if you like it. For place cards you can have some fun or go traditional, we had our friend Lesley Workman who is a calligrapher to do someplace cards for the photoshoot but for the night-time dinner, we purchased some Christmas ornaments which also lit up in the initials of the guests. (also a nice little take-home gift). For the glassware, we bought out the special Waterford Crystal glassware which we have been purchasing throughout the years, which makes it always helps elevate the event to the next level … especially when you toast and chime! Finally, we added about 3 Oscar Amherst all I want candles on the table and a few around the room to provide the night with the perfect Christmas scent.
Food and Beverage
We wanted something different for our Christmas dinner, so we start off with scallops in the shells which we purchased from Di Costi at the Sydney fish markets – topped with red capsicum, green chives for that festive look and because it was a special event, we finished them off with the Yarra Valley Rainbow Trout Pearls. The scallops were row free so all we needed to do is fry them in a bit of butter and oil on each side for a few minutes add some seasoning then they were done. I wanted to enjoy and be part of the dinner table, so we reached out to friend Savva at Plated to see if he had a chef that could come and prepare the main meals for the night. We wanted something Christmassy but not the traditional turkey or ham etc so Savva designed the most amazing roasted duck breast as the main with cherries and orange rind, accompanied with a side of kifler potatoes and gem leaves. It was just amazing, and we are so grateful to have a friend who is so creative in the food game and to be part of the night in that way. (Just make sure you ask your guests for any dietary preferences before you design the menu).
Finally, to finish, my partner is a legend when it comes to baking so he made his wonderful fresh Lime pie, which he prepared earlier so we only had to decorate it with the raspberries and icing before serving.
All great events have to have great liquor, and because this was a special night we splurged on our favourite champagne, and even sparkling water, then visited our local bottle shop, Bayswater fine wines where Stefano, who we love to chat to about wines, and who always knows our tastes. was able to provide some wonderful options that would complement the food. We ended up with some French Chablis for the scallops and a Curly Float Pinot Noir which was perfect with the duck. To finish the night off we also served an epic dessert wine that was light like an ice wine with the dessert. Having different wines to go with each of the courses also gave the night a point of difference and was a great talking point.
Well, we were celebrating the launch of the Oscar Amherst candle, so we did gift one to each of the guests. To elevate the presentation and the gift candle factor we put them into a presentation box with a small bottle of Expresso Martini mix and some gingerbread bites from KoKo black at Harris Farm. Writing a special note with all of the gift boxes did take some time but added to the personal touch which we sometimes overlook.
So obviously we had the scent of the night sorted with the Oscar Amherst “All I Want” Christmas candle setting the fragrance and mood lighting for the night, but don’t forget the music. These days it is so easy with the different music apps to put together a playlist or use one of many that are already curated for the various moods. I think its always better to take the time to curate your own mix as then you end up with only the songs you know and love just make sure you give this some time to create as you would like at least 1.5-2hours of songs which take time to gather. I usually start this process week in advance then add songs along the way.
So enjoy your Christmas Dinner Party in 2020. We all deserve a night to celebrate being together again.
Make your Christmas Dinner special with our Limited Edition Candle.