Summer Beach Christmas – Inspiration

I really love Christmas. I secretly enjoy hearing cheesy Christmas songs in the shops, the Christmas lights going up in the houses on our street and singing Christmas carols. It is such a nostalgic, festive feeling that comes over me every year, it is truly “the most wonderful time of the year”. 


Certain smells bring back memories of childhood Christmases. My Christmas memories are of long summer holidays, days on the beach and taking a peek at the presents under the trees. I could never understand why it snowed at Christmas time in all the TV programmes, and not at our house. Well I soon realised it’s because in South Africa we have a Summer Christmas, and if I wanted a white Christmas I would have to go to another part of the world. Like most South Africans we don’t do steamed puddings or bread sauce. Christmas is spent away from home, mostly at the coast, and therefore usually includes a braai. 

With that in mind we would like to give you a few ideas for entertaining at the beach. We chose to go for a natural colour scheme, inspired by the beautiful colour of oysters. My mother has a ritual of walking down to the beach, on the fist day of the holiday, and collecting little treasures that wash up on the sand.

My mother has a ritual of walking down to the beach, on the fist day of the holiday, and collecting little treasures that wash up on the sand. On her way back she would pick a few succulents and twigs, and at home she would add a few tins and candles to create a centrepiece that would last the whole two weeks of our stay. She calls it “iets uit niets”, meaning making something out of “nothing”. This look is not only cost effective, but it can practically last forever. This is our long-lasting, natural beach Christmas table, perfect for an outdoor celebration.

Our Christmas menu includes mussels, prawns and ‘roosterkoek’, with fruitcake and a cookie Christmas tree. We’ll share some of the recipes a bit later in the week. We would like to thank Alicia BuckleLindy Truter and my sister Karla for helping out on the day. Sarah-Jane, you were a great model, don’t you think she looks exactly like Jessica Chastain? 

Also a huge thank you to the Louw family for letting us use their beautiful home. Anneke from AnnaH, thanks for your creative input and styling. Thank you to my mother, Hermien, and Anneke’s mother-in-law for letting us raid you garages for props. And last but not least, Christine, for the gorgeous pictures.