9 low-effort ways to throw a Christmas party when you'd... rather not.

Soul Origin
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It might seem like Easter was only last month, and Halloween was just last week, but Christmas is nearly upon us, friends! 

While the kids are high with the excitement of impending presents and an excess of treats, the grown-ups are busy calculating the cost and juggling gift shopping and festive events while maintaining an air of calm.

Look, don’t get me wrong, I love some fairy lights, presents, and an excuse to catch up with friends over good food, but there's no getting around the fact that we grown-ups are the ones who have to do all the planning and preparation.

So this year, instead of getting stressed out about the work of Christmas, I am leaning into the fun but cutting down on the effort. Rather than tying myself in knots about THE DETAILS of my annual Christmas dinner, I am going to enlist some much needed help. Not only will the lead-up be less stressful, but I hope to enjoy it more too. 

Here are the nine low-effort ways I plan to cut myself some slack for this year’s pre-Christmas party. And, for anyone else starting to see their stress levels beginning to rise, you're welcome to take notes…

1. Set up a group chat or create digital invitations.

Back in the dark ages, I sent individual invites via text message, or going back to the Neolithic period, on paper. While the personal touch is nice, it's very time-consuming.

More recently, I've realised that creating digital invitations or events using an online platform, such as Facebook, or creating a guest WhatsApp group is far simpler. This not only helps me track RSVPs more efficiently, but I can also update guests on event details or changes. 


2. Outsource the catering.

Food brings people together like nothing else, and no great party is complete without delicious food, which makes it a huge priority for me. But no one wants to spend hours and hours pre-preparing salads and appetisers, this year I am all about outsourcing and Soul Origin’s summer catering is the answer to making my life so much easier. And let’s be honest, tastier and nutritious too. 

Image: Supplied. 


We're still going to provide the meat and prawns for the barbie but I've ordered a grazing platter and a selection of summer salads such as their creamy pasta, classic potato, chicken mango and a scrummy chicken caesar. 

I'll also be ordering some delicious BBQ schnitty sliders to keep guests happy while we swap gifts, chat and let the kids go feral outside (maybe even a few of the choc chip cookies to keep the kids happy). 

Best part is I can order it weeks in advance as Soul Origin makes food fresh on the day. Talk about an easy solution which is also a crowd favourite because there's literally something for everyone! 

Image: Supplied. 


3. Designate jobs for the guests.

I know it's lovely as a guest to be told "just bring yourselves," but at Christmas time, polite niceties are out the window. We grown-ups have to have each other’s backs at this time of year. Most adults are also very happy to be given a precise job – no confusion, just clear instructions. So this year, I am all about assigning jobs to guests and playing to their strengths. 

Aunty Barbara will be charged with making her adored rocky road slice, Tracey has a lot on, so she will be bringing a cheese plate, and cousin Phil, well, he will be on kids’ drinks and chips. Be sure to assign the guests you know you will be late, something non-snack related. I’m looking at you Anita and Dave – you’ll be on the Zooper Doopers and kids ice-cream.

4. Table decoration hacks.

Just because I am keeping the effort low doesn’t mean I can’t make the house look pretty. A Christmas tree and plenty of fairy lights create an overall festive ambiance, and simple table decorations are always a nice touch for party vibes. Rather than spending a fortune on department store-themed decor, I like to keep it simple.

First up is a tablecloth in neutral tones. Then, I add some candle holders and candles, and finally, some old glass jam and sauce jars that I have washed to use as vases. I will cut some pretty-looking flowers – bougainvillea, I believe –and mix them with greenery from our front yard.

Not only is it low-effort – taking less than five minutes to organise, but it's essentially free and guests always comment on how lovely the table looks. 


Image: Supplied. 

5. Crockery and glassware for adults only.

Crockery and glassware look great and feel special, but they also create work for the very tired dishwashers at the end of the night; me and my husband, Jules.

So, I'll be using the crockery for adult guests only and have a supply of disposable plates, cups, and utensils for the kids and teens. Not only will this hopefully reduce breakages, but it will also massively minimise the effort involved in the cleanup. I plan to buy bamboo or sugar cane plates and bowls with wooden cutlery, paper cups, and straws to ensure a low impact on the environment too.


6. Set up a drinks station.

Getting everyone set up with a fresh drink can be a big job for the whole night, so I like to direct guests to a drinks station where they can sort themselves out. Set up glasses of every size and function, include an ice bucket for guests to use in their drinks, and have an Esky full of ice for guests to pop their bottles or cans and keep them cool.

If it’s a BYO affair, guests can add their drinks to the stock or encourage your guests to choose what they want and just hook in. Include some pre-made punch and non-alcoholic options to suit everyone, and maybe even some cute festive garnishes like dried fruit, fresh strawberries, or herbs for an added flourish!

If you have more than a dozen guests coming along, hiring glassware is a great way to limit the clean-up or save you from having to buy in a bunch of extras you’ll have nowhere to store afterward.

Image: Supplied. 


7. Backyard games. 

No one wants bored guests, particularly bored kids, at a party. So, once all the appetisers have been served, why not pause the feasting and encourage some backyard games?

Keep it simple with whatever you have in the garage, or get guests to bring their own games. We love Finska, Boules, and Petanque, and our yard is quite modest, but these still work well in warm weather. This year, I plan to make it extremely low-effort by organising the older kids to run tournaments for the younger guests. It’s a win-win!

For bad weather events or parties with not much outdoor space, keep a bunch of board games handy indoors for kids and adults of all ages and assign your most extroverted guest to lead the charge!

8. Create a collaborative playlist.

No Christmas party is ever complete without music. 

But creating a banging playlist takes time, so while I have traditionally loved controlling the music, I am learning to let go by getting a playlist started on Spotify and then opening it up to guests. 


In the group chat, I plan to request that each guest add their favourite five festive tunes and then no one can complain I didn’t factor them in! 

If the chat takes a political turn after Uncle Bob has had too many wines, at least we can start playing a "name that tune" or "guess whose song this is" game to steer the conversation back to friendlier territory.

9. Give an end time.

In my opinion, nothing good happens at family parties after 10 pm. 

The kids are, by that stage, out of their minds with exhaustion, and the Christmas movie you set up for them has likely ended. They are now roaming in search of a sugar hit and want to cause some trouble. The good news about digital invitations is the clarity with which everything is given in writing, and in advance.

Give a start time and an end time. No one likes it when the party runs over, least of all you. To ensure you don’t have to host long into the night, let guests know when you plan to "turn the lights on," and then you can relax and enjoy yourself, knowing there is an end in sight!

Now go, enjoy your Soul Origin BBQ schnitty slider, and have a Happy Christmas!

Check out Soul Origin's nutritious and delicious catering options for all your summer hosting needs this year, order online for pick up or delivery.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Soul Origin
Food has always been at the core of many families, it brings people together, builds relationships, and creates bonds and memories. It does more than just feed our stomachs. Food and family are fuel for our soul; it provides us a connection and belonging and that is the true essence of Soul Origin.