Festive Season Over 50s Lifestyle Recipes

Easy entertaining for the Festive Season

December 20, 2023

I love the Festive Season! I love everything about it. The planning, preparing, gift buying and having my family and friends together.

In a recent post I wrote about 5 daily tips to take the stress out of the Festive Season, because this time of year can be stressful and overwhelming if you allow it to be that way. For me, I’ve learned to let go of perfection and enjoy the season.

As a blended family, I made the decision many years ago to have our family get together a week before Christmas. This allowed everyone to enjoy our time together and take the pressure off having to visit several places on Christmas Day.

On Sunday we hosted 10 adults and 7 children for the first time in four years. COVID and apartment living meant the last few years we had hosted Mike’s children and families and then spent Christmas Day with my side of the family. This year, we were able to host both sides and it was lovely for them to catch up as they don’t see each other much during the year.

I love entertaining and as a list girl, I’m usually pretty well organised. I find this helps take the stress out the process and also ensures I don’t forget anything.

We kept the menu simple and I tried some new ideas for nibbles and dessert that I had seen on Instagram and Facebook . They looked impressive but were so easy to put together that I wanted to share with you.

Easy entertaining for the Festive Season

This week, for the final Wednesday Words and Whimsey link up hosted by Min from Write of the Middle, I’m sharing two ideas for easy entertaining for the Festive Season. Be sure to visit Min’s site to say hello. The secret is planning and preparing as much before the event so that on the day it is just a matter of putting the finishing touches before the guests arrive.

Charcuterie Board

A charcuterie board is a platter or board filled with a variety of cured meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, olives, bread, and other accompaniments. It is commonly served as an appetizer or a light meal, especially during gatherings or festive occasions. The board allows for a visually appealing and customizable arrangement, where individuals can create their own combinations of flavors and textures. A charcuterie board offers a delightful culinary experience, showcasing a balance of savory, salty, sweet, and tangy components. It is a versatile and elegant option for entertaining guests or indulging in a treat for yourself.

These boards appear to be the latest trend and a lovely way to present nibblies with pre-lunch or dinner drinks. This would also be ideal if you were having friends over for drinks only and so, so easy to put together.

What you need?

A board to create your masterpiece. I had been given a Christmas Tree shaped serving platter which was ideal but any serving platter will do.


You can use whatever you like. I’ve listed what I used below which included savoury items and fruit.

  • Salami slices
  • Cabanossi sliced
  • Cheese – tasty cheese cut into cubes, a soft cheese like camembert or brie sliced
  • Green olives
  • Dried fruits – I used apricots
  • Nuts – I used almonds and walnuts
  • Fruit – I used grapes
  • Something red for the festive season – I used roasted capsicum but you could use tiny tomatoes for example
  • Rosemary for decoration

I made two – Christmas Tree shape and another just using a serving tray. This will give you an idea of how to put it together but you can use your creative flair and imagination to achieve your own look.

My time-saving Tip

The day before, I cut up the cheeses, cabanossi and made the salami slices and stored them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. This really saved me time and was just a matter of putting the boards together on the morning of the event. I then covered them with foil and stored in refrigerator until I needed them.

I had googled Salami Roses and found a YouTube video (several really) showing how to make the Roses which I found were quite easy to do. I’ve included the video for you and I can assure you they take no time to make, yet look impressive. I made them the day before and stored them in the refrigerator.

Make-your-own Pavlova Board

This was an idea suggested to me by my daughter, Rachel.

A pavlova board is a delightful and interactive dessert presentation where guests can create their own pavlova creations. Pavlova is a popular dessert that consists of a crisp meringue shell, tender on the inside, topped with whipped cream and a variety of fresh fruits.

With a pavlova board, you can create a stunning and interactive dessert display that allows everyone to customize their treat according to their preferences. It’s a fun and delicious way to enjoy the festive season with family and friends.

It was super easy to make and I took the pressure off by buying the pre-made meringue nests. You can make your own if you have time or inclination and here is a link to a recipe https://www.thefoodieaffair.com/individual-pavlova-nests/

The result looks impressive and everyone enjoyed putting this dessert together themselves.

What you will need

A presentation board or platter


Again you can use your imagination and creative flair. I used the following but really you do what you want and the ideas are endless.

  • Meringue nests – I like the ones that have sides so you can add filling
  • Fruit – I selected strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
  • Flake chocolate sticks or any type of chocolate grated
  • Whipped cream
  • Thick custard
  • Passionfruit sauce
  • Chocolate fudge sauce
  • Caramel sauce

You could also add some crushed nuts for example or sprinkles for the top.

Putting it together

Once you have all the ingredients ready, arrange them beautifully on the board, leaving space for guests to assemble their own pavlova creations. Provide serving utensils and let your guests enjoy the experience of building their personalized pavlova desserts.

I made two other desserts a baked Ricotta cheesecake which I will provide recipe for in a later post but you can try this Donna Hay recipe Lemon And Vanilla Ricotta Cheesecake | Donna Hay. I actually used light cream cheese and ricotta plus a sugar replacement so at least one dessert wouldn’t be too sugar laden!

Chocolate Gingerbread which I had made with my Book Club (yes a book club that bakes,) last week was also on the menu but would you believe I forgot to put it out!

Our Stunning Book Club has been meeting on line for a couple of years now and we read books from the Classics genre. Our discussions are always informative and lively and when we finish a book, we gather in our own individual kitchens, link up through Zoom and our resident baker and author Jo (Joanne Tracey) helps us make a recipe that would be relevant to the book we just finished. Be sure to check out Jo’s books – I highly recommend them!

So there you have some easy entertaining ideas for the Festive Season or for any event you are hosting throughout the year. You could do theme boards – the ideas are endless and are only limited by your imagination and creativity so go for it!

Mike and Sue Santa and Mrs Claus 2023
Sue Loncaric

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply Retirement Reflections December 20, 2023 at 08:06

    Hi, Sue – I’m delighted that your family gathering went so well. Your photos are all so joyful and uplifting. We are hosting our large family gathering (8 adults, 3 children and 2 dogs) at our house on December 26. It will be the first time ever that we have all four sons, all four of their partners and all grandchildren together with Richard and I for one photo. We will only be missing one granddog (the one who lives in Hong Kong)! Thank you for the inspiration~!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 10:31

      I’m sure it will be hectic but wonderful to have everyone together and yes, definitely don’t forget the photo. xx

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid December 20, 2023 at 08:15

    Everything looks delicious – I am a big fan of a charcuterie board when we’re entertaining. It always pleases and feeds a crowd. I need to raise my game though and start practicing my salami roses! Wishing you happy holidays and all the best for an absolutely fabulous 2024. “See” you next year! x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 10:32

      Hi Sammie, I surprised myself with the salami roses – they were pretty easy and looked impressive. Best wishes to you and look forward to connecting next year. x

  • Reply Christie Hawkes December 20, 2023 at 08:57

    It looks like you had a great family gathering, very festive. Thanks for sharing your tips for a simple, yet festive celebration.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 10:32

      We had a lovely time, thank you, Christie. I always enjoy having family around me. x

  • Reply surreyfarms.net December 20, 2023 at 09:05

    Wonderful to see people entertaining again for the holidays after such a long COVID hiatus. Your dinner looks festive and fun!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 10:33

      It was lovely having everyone together as they don’t see each other often during the year. The food was not to difficult so I could enjoy the day myself rather than slaving over a hot stove in 34C heat here in Australia. Thanks so much for visiting and best wishes for the Festive Season and 2024. x

  • Reply Jennifer Jones December 20, 2023 at 11:46

    Hi Sue, these days it has to be simple and stress free for me. We are having a very quiet Christmas this year. I will be doing a charcuterie board for Christmas Eve so will have a go at the salami roses. They look great. I love the Christmas tree board too. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I look forward to reconnecting after a happy and safe new year.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 10:34

      Simple is good, especially if it is just the two of you. I’m sure you’ve been working hard so will appreciate the down time. x

  • Reply Natalie December 20, 2023 at 12:37

    Hi Sue, Looks like you had a festive and joyful family gathering. Your charcuterie board and desserts look delicious. I’ll try making the salami roses. Thank you for your time-saving tip and YouTube video. Wishing you and Mike happy holidays and a fantastic 2024. #WWWhimsy

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 10:34

      Hi Natalie thank you. The salami roses are so easy and the video was very helpful x

  • Reply Denyse Whelan's Words And Pics. December 20, 2023 at 13:15

    Such a lot of lovely and loving images there Sue from your 17 on the 17th Christmas Celebration. It’s clear that your organisation and skills make a day come together well. You and M make a very festive pair! Have a wonderful festive season. Denyse #WWWhimsy

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 10:35

      Thanks Denyse. We all had a wonderful time and I loved every minute. Best wishes to you and Mr B. x

  • Reply Min Write of the Middle December 20, 2023 at 13:47

    Hi Sue, we meet up with The Tennis Player’s side of the family for an early Christmas too these days. Your charcuterie board and pavlova board look fabulous! Isn’t YouTube fabulous for finding out how to do anything!! Those salami roses look very professional. I love your Xmas tree shaped dish – it looks incredible! I’m glad your day went well for you. Thanks so much for sharing and linking up with #WWWhimsy I hope to see you again in mid January when #WWWhimsy kicks off again. Meanwhile I hope that you and Mike have a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2024 xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 10:35

      Hi Min, thanks for keeping the link up going and look forward to seeing you in 2024. x

  • Reply Toni Pike December 20, 2023 at 19:59

    It all looks wonderful, Sue – and I’ll definitely be borrowing your ideas. Have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas. Hugs, Toni x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 10:36

      Hi Toni, enjoy your family visiting at Christmas. It is always wonderful having children visit at Christmas time. Hugs back to you, Sue x

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee December 21, 2023 at 06:09

    That’s so cute but that cheese cake looks amazing! And so simple! Lovely! Happy Christmas to you! Enjoy the break!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 10:36

      Yes, simple was the key Lydia and we had a wonderful time with everyone. Enjoy your break too!

  • Reply marsha57 December 21, 2023 at 15:08

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Sue! We will be all together (10 or possibly 11) on Monday. I love the pavlova idea. Did you make all of those or purchase them? My bunch doesn’t seem to go in for charcuterie or even fruit plates so we’ve finally just left them off for a bit. We are trying a taco bar…we’ll see how that goes.

    I’m so very glad to have found your blog and gotten to “know” you!


    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2023 at 15:19

      Hi Marsha! I actually decided to take the pressure off and purchased the pavlova nests. Your taco bar sounds like fun and I’m sure everyone will enjoy something different. I’m very happy that we have connected and you’ve inspired me at times to keep blogging! Looking forward to continuing our connection in 2024. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Marsha. xx

  • Reply Suzanne@PictureRetirement December 22, 2023 at 06:27

    Sue, this all looks very festive and fun. I love making charcuterie boards as they offer something for everyone, from sweet to salty.

  • Reply Janine December 22, 2023 at 11:59

    I love these festive tips, especially the pavlova board.
    Have a wonderful Christmas

  • Reply Sherry Mackay December 22, 2023 at 18:12

    it all looks fabulous. Those salami roses are so pretty (not that I eat salami but still…) Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    sherry #WWWhimsy

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 26, 2023 at 07:59

      Thanks Sherry! I love hosting my family and the salami roses looked impressive but were so easy to make thanks to YouTube x Hope you had a lovely Christmas and happy New Year x

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