Food and Wine

Prepping for Christmas lunch on a budget

January 3, 2017

Everyone in South Africa is feeling the financial pinch this festive season. Food in particular is extremely expensive right now and with Christmas literally days away this is very concerning.   What’s more, according to an article published by Timeslive, the increased food prices are here to stay for a while. At the beginning of this year Christie Viljoen, Financial Risk Manager at KPMG in South Africa, was reported as saying,


“For this year‚ the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said in late-January that local food price inflation is expected to rise to 11% y-o-y (year-on-year) in 2016-Q4 – the highest in five years – from 5.9% y-o-y recorded in December 2015. A significant upward revision in its forecast for food price inflation played a big role in the central bank deciding to raise its benchmark lending rate by 50 bps on January 28 to the highest level in five years.”


This is not good news and many South Africans need to tighten their belts in order to survive this festive season and the start of the new year. And, there is no better time like the present to start saving money, watch how you spend and become slightly more frugal.  So, start with Christmas lunch. Tone it down. It is possible to have a less than extravagant Christmas lunch if you put your mind to it. What’s more, everyone is in the same boat and therefore will be more than understanding about you making an effort to cut back.


Here are three smart pointers to consider if Christmas is starting to feel like an incredible expense.



  • Turn your lunch into a potluck affair



If you ask each of your guests to supply a dish you’ll end up with more than enough food. Also, while Christmas is a time for feasting it’s also very hot in South Africa. This means that your guests are not in need of heavy, filling foods that’ll keep them stuffed and warm in the snow. Rather they’re after foods that they can pick on and enjoy all day while basking in the sun or swimming. So by all means treat them to some roasted meats but there’s no need to spend time making yorkshire pudding, cranberry or mint sauce, pairing meats with wines and so on. You can quite literally roast a couple of beer butt chickens a la Jamie Oliver and those will suffice as the roast of the day. If you want to include another roasted meat consider a gammon as opposed to beef or lamb as it’s slightly cheaper. Assign each of your guests a side dish that they must prepare and bring along.


  1. Decorate with what you have


Don’t spend money on table decorations. This is a waste. You’re likely to have some tinsel or unused decorations that you can put on the table as decor. Also, a table will always look gorgeous with some flowers but don’t head out to purchase any, use what’s in your garden and place them in different jars and containers for a rustic look and feel. Or make bunches of wildflowers by tying them together with ribbon or string. What’s more, your beautiful serving dishes and grandmother’s serving utensils will probably be enough for a relaxed, warm Christmas lunch.


  1. Consider your stove


Do you wish you Christmas stocking was filled with a new stove? When it comes to Christmas lunch preparation you probably look at your old stove with disdain. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a brand new stove in which to roast and cook your Christmas feast? If you’re at all considering investing in a new stove then look at gas stoves. It will ultimately save you money in the long run. With electricity prices skyrocketing, now is the time to look at cutting your power bill. Gas stoves make use of natural gas and therefore don’t cost you in electricity. It’s a worthy investment that’ll really help you to save. Also, latest technology in gas stoves means that they’re extremely safe with many precautionary mechanisms in place and they’re as easy to keep clean as your regular run-of-the-mill stove.


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