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Bringing Christmas to Life with Shaynna and Poh

Poh takes the time to give us her handy hints
for less time in the kitchen
and more time with your loved ones.


Christmas day cooking can be very hectic, are there any tips you can give to help the day run smoothly?
I think keeping it simple and fresh and executing a smaller amount of dishes well, rather than trying to do too much. One year I was getting so overwhelmed I just made a trifle and paella in a giant pan and my family loved it. Also, seeing as our Aussie summers are usually very warm – think light, zingy flavours with cold seafood.

What order do you follow to get your Christmas Day meal ready and on the table? Do you have an easy step-by-step guide you follow?
Sweets are strictly a couple days up to a week before, ham, complex salad dressings and any veg that can be washed and pre-cut night before, then on the day all I want to do is grilling or assembling cold seafood and salads.

What is your favourite dish to eat on Christmas day?
Cold prawns.

Are you a traditionalist when it comes to the Christmas meal, or do you prefer something else?
Being migrants, our Christmas buffets are always hilariously eclectic which I used to hate as a child but now celebrate. It would not be unusual to find fresh oysters next to Hokkien noodles and baked ham next to a Nyonya chicken curry.

Do you have any other tips for everyone cooking the Christmas Day meal?
I think always remember it’s about the company – family and friends. Focus on designing your menu so you are stress free and able to socialise rather than getting stuck in the kitchen with your knickers in a knot!

Bringing Christmas to Life with Shaynna and Poh 3


Shaynna shares her best ways to have
the most stylish Christmas to date


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When should you start decorating the Christmas table to avoid stress on the day?
I like to set up the table on Christmas Eve. This gives me time to have everything set in its place, ensure all my plates, cutlery and glassware is clean, and that nothing is chipped. Plus it gives me the opportunity to look at it with fresh eyes on Christmas morning and make those last couple of essential tweaks!

Are there any Christmas décor trends this season we should know about?
White, gold and rose pink are all colours with the power to ignite elegant and joyful Christmas décor this year. Use these colours in your cutlery, chargers, decorations and even as inspiration for your dessert.

Do you like classic Christmas decorations or do you tend to mix it up a bit?
I mix it up every year, and at the end of the day it comes down to how I am feeling and how busy I am leading up to the season. If I am incredibly busy I keep it simple with one colour and paired back simplicity. If I have more time, and I’m feeling overly festive, I mix up the colour palette with reds, greens and golds and fill the place with bows, reindeers, fairy lights and lots of music.

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
Family and friends. Nothing says Christmas more than sitting around, over-eating, napping, and doing it all over again with those you love.

When should you start decorating your house?
Our family tradition is to put decorations up on December 1. That begins our month of festivities, but means Christmas doesn’t drag on and outstay its welcome!

What are the key rooms you should decorate in your house?
The entry and the lounge room are the essential. Whether you decorate beyond them is really up to your end-of-year energy levels, and whether you’re capable of making it happen.

Any tips for decorating the outside of your house?
If you are time poor and want to keep Christmas simple, feature topiary pot plants adorned with fairy lights either side of a front door dressed with a standout wreath, are a beautiful way to guide ‘Santa’ to your home. Beyond that, you have free reign depending on how far you want to take the decorative festivities. You have the freedom to create an exterior that is a hot mess of lights, snow and Santa. Ultimately, it’s about putting a smile on the faces of people passing by. That’s the Christmas spirit.

Any other comments of quotes you would like to make about Christmas
Christmas is about sharing you home, your heart, and a childlike sense of joy. Fill your home with Christmas cheer and it will come return to you tenfold.

What are your five top tips to decorate a Christmas Table?
1. Don’t over stuff your table like the Christmas turkey so that you can’t see the person opposite you. Save that for the tree, and leave room for the food.
2. If you’re going for a formal look, select a simple, crisp, colour palette. Keep all your china, your table cloth and even your cutlery white and add hints of one colour (gold, silver or whatever your theme colour is) in your chargers, serviettes and decorations.
3. For a casual look alternate the colour of your china at every second place setting and use a mixture of plain and coloured glassware.
4. Use greenery en masse (boughs of rosemary or ivy vines are great options) and add small woodland creature tree decorations to create a hide-and-seek feel and give your table a sense of adventure.
5. Hero the food. Chances are you’ve spent hours slaving over a hot stove or barbecue, so put some love into the presentation of your food. Choose boards or platters that complement your theme and colour palette, and layer mains, sides, nibbles and condiments generously. And don’t forget to check that your serving implements complement your overall look and feel, and are also functional.


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Bringing Christmas to Life with Shaynna and Poh 6

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