Every year I vow to be more organised in the run up to the holiday season. Christmas should be a time to enjoy and relax with all of the family (not just a last minute shopping and cooking panic!). It’s true that catering and entertaining for guests can put a lot of strain on a household, but with some careful planning and preparation, it can be a day of leisure for all the family – even the head chef!
With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve put together this helpful list of planning tips, so that you can keep a cool head on the big day.
Read the points in detail…
Start this weekend
Take a weekend off from the Christmas shopping to start preparing your home, ready for getting out the decorations. This is the time to be clearing out your fridge-freezer and making some extra storage space for all that tasty Christmas food!
Whilst clearing out your kitchen cupboards, it’s a great opportunity to give the house a thorough clean. Doing it now will save you precious time as Christmas day approaches and means you can get away with just a quick clean and tidy nearer the day. If you have guests coming to stay for the break, this is also a great chance to check and prepare all of your bed linen, ready for their arrival.
Put aside a few evenings to relax whilst you write out your Christmas cards. And make a quick note of Royal Mail’s last recommended posting dates for their UK Inland Service, so you can be sure all your cards and gifts will arrive on time!
Once this is all out the way you can start the food shopping! Be sure to get all of your non-perishables out of the way early on. Get your pantry stocked with all of your favourite holiday treats, such as crackers, biscuits and chocolates – and remember to buy a few extra in case of any impromptu entertaining!
In the last weeks leading up to Christmas you’ll want to finalise your menus and pre-order any meats or seafood you will need.
Keep a cool head in the kitchen
If you want to keep lunch as stress free as possible, it’s important to sit down beforehand and develop a plan of action. By estimating times and a brief schedule in advance, you can avoid careless mistakes and eliminate a lot of the stress that may arise from making arrangements on the day.
By preparing a strategy beforehand you can also pinpoint any potential problems areas, such as issues coordinating dishes and times, with your available hob and oven space. Make a plan for all of your menus; Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. This way you can rest assured that you have everything organised and devote all of your time to friends and family!
Don’t leave all of the cooking until Christmas Day. A lot of the work can be done ahead of time. Pre-cook vegetables, roast potatoes and even your gravy! Professional kitchens don’t cook everything from scratch when you order your food. They prepare dishes ahead, ready to be recooked when guests arrive, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t too.
Coordinating Christmas dinner is a huge task, go easy on yourself and make sure you’re not making it any harder than it needs to be this year!