How-to guide: a student Christmas dinner party

Hosting Christmas dinner on a student budget

There are three important things to consider when planning any dinner party; cost, time and how much you actually care. That considered, the following tips are designed to help you host the perfect Christmas dinner on a student budget.

Tip 1: Decorating

The key here is keeping decorations minimal, cheap and functional. Christmas crackers appear festive on the table and the cacophonous “pops” can be used to distract guests from burning food, silences and each other. Ignore the essay due tomorrow and spend an hour cutting out and sticking snowflakes on the walls. Hang baubles from the ceiling using string and sellotape. Your landlord probably won’t notice paint damage if it’s on the ceiling, plus it’ll look smashing.

Cut out angel chains then pritt-stick a few faces of modern divinity up on there: Rihanna, Beyonce, SZA, Frank Ocean, Mac Demarco- or whoever else you want to worship this festive period.  Christmas trees are expensive and bad for the environment. My Christmas tip is to buy a twelve pack of Carlsberg and just stack it up to resemble a vaguely tree shaped object.

Buy a cheap battery-powered string of lights, drape them around the cans and craft yourself a star for the top using tinfoil. Plenty of you probably have ‘quirky’ stacks of empty cans on top of kitchen cabinets etc. so alternatively you can just repurpose someof those. Although, remember you can’t drink from them and it is the season to be merry after all. It might be worth buying a few fresh cans for Jesus’s birthday.

Tip 2: The Meal

(Feel free to skip this tip and opt for Deliveroo instead)

We all know how to buy mince pies in Lidl and Aldi so excuse me for not detailing it. Instead here are a few quick general tips: Avoid buying ingredients you will not use again. Fresh herbs are expensive and will probably never be used thereafter except to garnish your favorite brand of €1 pizza. Instead just harvest a handful of whatever variety you need during your weekly shop. If you buy a frozen turkey allow up to 48-72 hours for it to defrost, size dependent. When preparing brussel sprouts remove theouter leaves to reduce bitterness.

Most students already have honey or balsamic and roasting vegetables in these will make the dish, again, less bitter. Season any other vegetables liberally with butter, salt and pepper. Be mindful of vegan/vegetarian friends who are unable to eat most traditional Christmas dishes. Anything that can be made the night before the dinner should be made the night before the dinner.

Tip 3: Miscellaneous

Start drinking before the meal. If itis served late/tastes bad no one will care. Although hopefully the aroma of the developing dinner will do the trick, you may have to light a few candles to cover up the smell of your home. You could clean up before dinner- but then you would be cleaning up twice. Instead light every candle you can find and place these around the kitchen- this also adds a festive glow to the room.

Although I normally eat all my meals surrounded by ash trays, strong smells interfere with taste and, for Christmas dinner, we all have to be a bit better. Do not buy Quality Street. Make a Christmas collaborative playlist on Spotify for everyone to upload their favourite Christmas songs onto. Buy a disposable  camera for the table. No one can say it’s pretentious, after all, it is the most festive and magical time of year. Lastly, funds permitting: buy a bottle of Bucks Fizz, crack open some Celebrations and get merry.

Gráinne Quigley

Gráinne Quigley is a Deputy Societies Editor for Trinity News.