If you’re like me, nothing excites you more than unbuckling your belt, tucking a napkin into the collar of your shirt and sitting down to a large Christmas lunch with the family.
But, like everything in life, there must be a balance. The joy and ecstasy that comes with devouring mountains of Christmas lunch is always counterbalanced by the stress of preparation and planning.
8-Week Christmas Planner: Christmas Food Budget
In this article, I will go over the things that I believe are essential items for the perfect Christmas lunch. I will then show you how you can purchase these items over the next 8-weeks at roughly $30 a trip using my 8-Week Christmas Savings Plan.
Be smart, budget and think ahead. Use my 8-week grocery shopping list to plan and provide your family with the best feast this Chrissy.
You don’t need to do Christmas Day lunch on a budget, you just need to plan for it properly.
Let’s take a look at the items essential for lunch this Christmas. To make it easier, I’ve grouped each item into five categories:
- Table Display and Utensils
- Games & Fun
Ham – Christmas Ham, the good old family favourite. This item is great for two reasons: It’s delicious and ideal for leftovers.
Bertocchi Ham on the bone 2.2kg from Coles = $26.40
Turkey – Previously just for the Yanks, this versatile bird is becoming more and more popular in Australia. Delicious, healthy and perfect for inducing naps on the couch.
Steggles Turkey Hindquarter 2.6kg from Woolworths = $8.99
Prawns – The true Aussie appetiser that will impress and delight any guests you may have this year.
Black Tiger Prawns 500g from Coles = $14.00
Cranberry Sauce – Cranberry sauce goes great with turkey, as the sweetness really compliments the meat.
Woolworths Select Cranberry Sauce = $2.65
Gravy – If you ever celebrate a feast without gravy, I want you to stop reading this article now, go to the mirror and have a good hard look at yourself.
Gravox Gravy Mix 120g from Woolworths = $3.30
Assorted dips – It’s always a good idea to have some form of dip to go with your prawns, chips and crackers; and these days supermarkets carry more then enough flavours to satisfy your cravings.
Assorted dips both at Woolworths and Coles cost on average = $4.00
Cold meats – Cuts of ham, salami and pancetta are great protein boosts for your antipasto/appetiser selections.
500g of assorted cold sliced meats form Woolworths and Coles on average = $10.00
Cheese Stuffed Peppers – Another great addition to your antipasto/appetiser plate, these little bell peppers are packed with flavour and very easy to eat.
150g at the Coles deli = $ 6.00
Olives – A staple for Italian and Greek flavours. The perfect compliment to your antipasto/appetiser plate
1 small takeaway tub from Coles = $5.00
Cheese – Cheese is a great food item to keep your guests happy while you slave over the main course. Choose a cheese that is going to please everyone and that will go well with wine and the other foods in your antipasto/appetiser plate.
Cracker Barrel extra sharp cheese 250g form Woolworths = $6.50
Crackers – Everyone loves a cracker, and in my opinion Ritz crackers are simply the best.
Ritz Cracker 250g from Woolworths = $2.54
Mixed Nuts – Ah nuts! The perfect accompaniment for cool Aussie Christmas beverages (beer… I’m talking about beer)
Nobby’s Salted Mixed 375g from Woolworths = $5.80
Vegetables (roasting or salads) – Every meal needs a great side dish and Christmas lunch is no exception.
Assorted Vegies from Coles and Woolworths = $15.00
Bread – I don’t have to tell you how versatile this item is, bread should be a staple for any major feast.
1 loaf Pane di Casa from Woolworths = $3.00
Salad Dressing – Pretty much self explanatory, don’t you think?
Paul Newman’s Classic Salad Dressing from Woolworths = $4.40
Butter – Of course butter goes great with bread, but this spread can also double as basting for the turkey or grease in the roasting tray.
Westgold Butter 250g from Woolworths = $1.99
After Dinner Mints – One of my personal favourites when entertaining guests at home; after dinner mints serve as a refreshing end to any meal.
Arnott’s mint slice 200g from Woolworths = $2.50
Shortbread Biscuits – Just like Grandma used to have. These are great at coffee time.
Macs Traditional shortbread 180g from Woolworths = $3.00
Fruit Mince Pies – A true Christmas favourite for many Australians.
Essentials 6 pack from Woolworths = $1.50
Chips – Great finger food for grown ups and especially good for keeping the kids happy (quiet)
Thins Chips share pack 175g from Woolworths (on sale now) = $1.50
M&M’s – To help you get into the spirit, these little choccy drops are available in Christmas colours and provide fistfuls of moreish delight.
M&M’s Red and Green Bucket 710g from Woolworths = $12.00
Pavlova – Good old Aussie pav! This is a great dessert that always pleases young and old with its light and delicate flavours.
Pavlova Magic Mix from Woolworths = $4.30
Fruits for dessert – buying some fresh or frozen berries will provide you with an awesome topping to go on your Pavlova.
Woolworths Select Mixed Berries 500g = $4.00
Custard or Cream – If you’re looking for that extra topping to go on your pav n fruit combo, nothing is going to beat some runny custard.
Paul’s 1kg pouring custard from Woolworths = $4.00
Panettone – More of a European favourite, this traditional Christmas cake is rich in flavour and more than worth the money.
Panettone from Aldi = $7.00
Christmas Pudding – If Panettone isn’t your thing, you can always go for the Anglo plum pudding variation – what ever floats your boat.
Aunt Betty’s Christmas Plum Pudding 700g from Woolworths = $8.00
Ice Cream – There’s always room for ice cream.
Woolworths Select Neapolitan Ice Cream 2L = $2.20
Red Wine – A nice red always goes great when paired with a ham or turkey roast. Drinking a glass of red is one of the benefits of a Christmas lunch, make sure you take full advantage of it.
Decent Shiraz from Liquorland = $15.00
White Wine & Champagne – If you’ve chosen to go with prawns this year, a nice crisp white wine or champagne won’t overpower the prawn’s delicate flavours like a red will.
Decent White Wine or Champagne from Liquorland = $15.00
Brandy – Brandy is great for drizzling over ice cream and pav, you might like to marinate the selection of fruits you chose in the brandy overnight to really boost the flavours.
St Agnes VS Brandy 150ml from Liquorland = $15.00
Beer – No decent Aussie should be without one this Christmas.
Hahn Super Dry 3.5 6 Pack from Dan Murphy’s = $15.99
Soft Drink – Not all drinks need to be alcoholic and you should provide refreshments for the designated drivers and their children, and maybe your own, this Christmas.
Average Soft Drink 125ml from Woolworths = $2.00
Eggnog – Another Christmas favourite only available at Christmas time, this thick beverage now comes in an alcohol free option so that the kids can join in the spirit.
Paul’s Egg Nogg 1kg from Woolworths = $5.00
Coffee – Great at biscuit time and even better for fuelling conversations that run deep into the night.
Moccona instant coffee 100g from Woolworths = $7.50
Table Displays & Utensils
Serviettes – I’m no fortune-teller, but I’m imagining a bunch of sticky fingers from the chips and antipasto; and a lot of gravy smiles. Keep a packet of disposable serviettes on hand to contain your guest’s mess to a small radius.
Woolworths Homebrand 100pk = 0.95c
Plastic Plates & Utensils – Don’t tempt fate by letting your children handle the good plates and cutlery. Plastic alternatives will end in fewer tears and reduce the clean up after.
Woolworths Homebrand Mix = $10.00
Plastic Cups – See above.
Woolworths Homebrand 100pk = $5.00
Tablecloths – Why not try out a new Christmas themed tablecloth that you can pack up and never see again until next year? Go on, where’s your spirit?
Christmas Flannel Back Tablecloth from Woolworths = $6.00
Christmas Decorations – If you have a large table, you might want to fill up some of the space that isn’t already covered with platters of food.
Christmas Tropical Santa Decoration from Woolworths = $4.00
Games & Fun
Bon Bons/Crackers – An absolute must at Christmas time, these fun little crackers always provide a laugh from the cheesy jokes and paper crowns found inside.
15 Pack from Woolworths = $15.00
Reindeer Antlers – Totally optional, but fun all the same, antlers will bring out a bit of the Christmas spirit in everyone.
Reindeer Antler Headband from Woolworths = $6.00
Christmas Colouring for the Kids – A little colouring will keep your kids occupied and out of trouble, allowing you to relax and enjoy some of the delicious food this Christmas.
Christmas Colouring Book from Woolworths = $2.00
Mistletoe – This fun little kissing game is great for making your friends feel uncomfortable while giving you something to laugh at.
Just cut some leaves from a tree and tie them together (no one knows what mistletoe really looks like) = free
Panadol – Christmas lunches often result in an over indulgence of the merry old eggnog. Having a packet of these babies on hand will be an absolute lifesaver when headaches or hangovers arise.
12pack from Woolworths = $3.10
Ice – You can never have too much ice. Make sure you have enough ice to fill your eskies and keep your drinks cool all day long.
Bell’s Ice 5kg from Dan Murphy’s = $5.00
Plastic Containers – Christmas lunch often ends with a truckload of left overs that become Christmas dinner, Boxing Day breakfast, Boxing Day lunch etc. Plastic containers are an absolute must in situations like this.
4 Pack Homebrand Plastic Food Storage from Woolworths = $2.50
Tin Foil – Tin foil is a great aid for roasting hams and turkeys. Tin foil stops the meat drying out and can also be used to wrap left over bits of food to be stored in the fridge.
10m Homebrand Aluminium Foil from Woolworths = $1.09
Toilet Rolls – Christmas is a big day with a big meal, you’re going to need these.
4 Pack Sorbent 2ply Toilet Rolls form Woolworths = $5.00
Okay, you may or may not agree with me on exactly how essential each of these items are. Different families and different cultures will have varied spins on how a perfect Christmas lunch should be. Feel free to make substitutions, add or remove items from my list. Remember, this is not the gospel, it’s just a guide – a bloody good guide I might add!
Now, how are you going to pay for all of this? Well, like I said, you don’t need budget Christmas lunch ideas, you just need a weekly savings plan for your Christmas lunch.
My (Sorry) Your 8-Week Christmas Plan
Now it’s time to put it all together. Below I’ve provided you with an example of an 8-week Christmas savings plan for progressively purchasing everything you need this Christmas.
You will notice that I’ve suggested you purchase all of the frozen and durable items in the early weeks, leaving the perishable foods until last. This will ensure that your food stays fresh and doesn’t take up too much space in your fridge.
Personally, I like to begin this process at the beginning of November, but you may wish to start earlier – in September or October.
As I mentioned earlier this is just a guide, so feel free to chop and change this list to suit your preferences.
3 x Plastic containers,$2.50
Christmas colouring book,$2.00
After Dinner Mints,$2.50
Beer 6 pack,$15.99
2 x bottles soft drink,$4.00
2 x packs of chips,$3.00
2 x Dips,$8.00
Hope you enjoyed these Christmas tips and tricks. This will help avoid massive credit card bills over Christmas. Budgeting and savings plans, such as this one, can be applied to any goal you wish to achieve. Everything comes down to planning. It’s really not that difficult. Holidays, new cars, home renovations, concerts, cruises, etc. etc. You should not be paying for these things with credit cards! Just prepare for them sooner with a very basic goal-orientated savings plan.
Merry Christmas and Enjoy the New Year!