Channel Seven personality Liz Cantor has her hands full taking care of her two boys Kit and Fin.
Channel Seven personality Liz Cantor has her hands full taking care of her two boys Kit and Fin. Glenn Hampson

Celebrity Christmas survival guide

LIZ CANTOR

CHANNEL 7 PERSONALITY

How will you be spending Christmas?

We take turns between (husband) Ryan's family and mine (my folks live in Noosa). This year we will be with Ryan's family on the Gold Coast and it will be extra special as his brother Daniel is flying out from LA with the family. It will be our first Christmas with the cousins all together and they're all under the age of four.

Where are your boys at with their understanding of Christmas?

Kit's at a beautiful age where he is just starting to comprehend what Christmas means. He's just turned two on December 13 - his due date was January 1, so I always joke that he was keen to arrive for Christmas. He's very excited by Santa and just wants trucks and balls off everybody. Fin will be four months old and may just try his first solids on Christmas Day.

What's on the menu?

When it's a Cantor Christmas, it's European with a German influence so we have ein teller mit leckereien (a plate with treats) Christmas Eve and then a roast turkey with the works Christmas Day followed by Christmas pudding which my dad delights in lighting the brandy over. With Ryan's family it's an Aussie Christmas lunch - a cold ham and salads and lots of yummy desserts. His mum makes great cakes.

Do you have any Christmas Day traditions?

We always go to the beach for a morning surf after opening our Santa stockings. Even if it's flat, we'll just go down and paddle in the ocean and be in the spirit of things out in the line-up. I've always opened my presents the European way on Christmas Eve, which I enjoy because we get to do it while drinking wine. I think I'll carry on this tradition with my children. It's a win-win because you get presents Christmas Eve and then more presents from Santa in your stocking on Christmas morning.

What's your best seasonal tip?

Stonefruit! I love summer stonefruit in Queensland.

What's the best - and worst - thing about Christmas?

The best thing without a doubt is the warm balmy days spent in the ocean with family. A gentle afternoon summer storm is also lovely. I say gentle because as much as I love a storm, there's been some very unfriendly ones lately. Kit is fascinated by thunder and lightning; it's so entertaining watching him take it all in.

The worst is that I always consume way too much food and then have to do extra running to work it off.

What's one thing you'll try to change for next year?

Less social media and more music playing in our home.

Chef and restaurateur Matt Moran.
Chef and restaurateur Matt Moran.

MATT MORAN

CHEF AND RESTAURATEUR

How will you be spending Christmas?

Home sweet home. I'm looking forward to spending Christmas at home with my family. It's one of my favourite days of the year.

I love cooking a huge feast and we have an open door to friends too, who pop in and out all day.

What's on the menu?

Oh, I'm definitely the designated cook every year ... and I love it. Despite the summer heat I always go for a traditional Christmas. We start with oysters and champagne and then have roast goose from my good friend Maggie Beer, eggnog, brandy puddings and, my favourite of all, a baked whole leg ham with maple syrup and clove glaze.

What's your best advice to other Christmas Day caterers?

It's all in the planning and being organised. Plan a meal that consists of some things you've cooked before so you aren't overwhelmed. Choosing dishes you can prep in advance helps so you can spend the day with family and friends and not be overwhelmed in the kitchen. Consider the size and number of pans and oven space you may need. Clear out your fridge and freezer prior to a big food shop. My big advice is stick to fewer dishes cooked with care and love.

Do you have any Christmas Day traditions?

Every year I bake at least a dozen hams for friends and family. Over the years these prized hams have become a joint culinary collaboration between myself and my brother-in-law Peter as the recipe for the glaze is his beloved family recipe.

What's the best - and worst - thing about Christmas?

Food, family and friends are in the best category. And trying to find a car park to do your shopping is the worst.

What's one thing you'll try to change for next year?

Life is pretty good, I don't think I want to change a thing. This year's been pretty busy so perhaps spending more time with family and friends.

Foxtel Cricket Commentator Shane Warne.
Foxtel Cricket Commentator Shane Warne. Michael Klein

SHANE WARNE

FOXTEL CRICKET COMMENTATOR

How will you be spending Christmas?

At home in Melbourne with my children and extended family.

What's on the menu?

This year I'll be a guest at my brother's house so he will be doing all the cooking. Usually it's a barbecue at my house.

Do you have any Christmas Day traditions?

Kris Kringle with family, except for my kids who get spoiled rotten by me and I love doing it.

Cricket commentators must always celebrate Christmas with an eye to the Boxing Day Test the following day - how does that figure in your seasonal plans?

It's nice to be at home in Melbourne and I like to host the commentators at my house one day during the Boxing Day Test for a barbecue.

What's your best seasonal tip?

Indulge in everything.

What's the best - and worst - thing about Christmas?

Best: Family.

Worst: There isn't much that's bad about Christmas except for pretending to like the crap Kris Kringle present you get stuck with.

What's one thing you'll try to change for next year?

Nothing.

Cookbook author and food stylist Donna Hay.
Cookbook author and food stylist Donna Hay.

DONNA HAY

COOKBOOK AUTHOR AND FOOD STYLIST

How will you be spending Christmas?

This year's been particularly hectic so I plan to make these holidays as simple as possible. I'll be celebrating Christmas Day at home in Sydney with my family.

What's on the menu?

I've been cooking Christmas lunch for everyone for as long as I can remember - seriously, I think I was maybe 13 when I started. As for the menu, I'm a classics girl at heart so I'll have my glossy glazed ham and signature turkey breast on the table, but I like to experiment with new sides and salads. Plus, this year I'm going to barbecue a bunch of seafood and make a big share-plate of crab, calamari and prawns.

As per tradition, for dessert I'll make my grandmother's Christmas pudding. It's a memory I cherish so I bake it every year, just the way she taught me.

But I can't resist a showstopper dessert, I mean when else do you get the excuse to be so festive? So, I'll also make a big impressive trifle - you can prep the jelly and cake layers in advance - so it's easy really.

What's your best advice to other Christmas Day caterers?

If you haven't already guessed, I'm somewhat of a Christmas tragic, so I'm thinking lots about it in the month or two before. That doesn't mean heaps of work though - I think it really helps if you check a few things off your list each week in the lead-up, it helps take the stress out of it. If you're hosting, it's good to plan your menu early. Try to choose a mix of dishes - include some you can prepare at least partly in advance, and some you can simply add the final flourish to on the day. Lots of my recipes (particularly desserts) can be made ahead and even frozen for this reason.

Do you have any Christmas Day traditions?

I usually start Christmas Day in the same way every year, with a refreshing swim at the beach with my boys, then we head back home to start preparing lunch before the rest of the family arrive. It's a very casual, relaxed day. Boxing Day is also my son's birthday, so the festivities always continue well after the actual Christmas Day is over.

What's your best seasonal tip?

I try to make decorating my house a bit fun. I'm quite partial to a theme, so I choose one and stick to it for my tree, table and wrapping - it actually speeds up all that decision-making process for me. A few weeks out I'll coerce my boys into helping me bake sweet edible gifts for my neighbours and friends. We pop them in little boxes, which also means I have something on hand if an unexpected friend pops in with a present.

It may sound virtuous, but for me, baking at home beats the stress of shopping and giving something handmade brings a different kind of joy.

What's one thing you'll try to change for next year?

Hmm ... I think we'll have to wait and see. I'm hoping that this year is going to be a huge success all around - in which case, I won't need to change anything.



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