The COVID-19 pandemic may still be raging but that doesn’t mean we can’t get on with our lives. For instance, the month of December is commonly associated with two things: the year-end school holiday and of course, Christmas. While you might have to tone down your Christmas celebration this year, do not let the current pandemic dampen your holiday spirit! That includes getting ready for your annual Christmas dinner. It’s one of the best ways to strengthen the family bonds and the joy of getting together. But at the same time, prepping Christmas dinner can be a nightmare. There’s so much work to be done! Fortunately, here are the 7 Tips To Prepare For A Stress-Free Christmas Dinner.
1) Planning Matters
Making last-minute preparations for a Christmas dinner can be frustrating, stressful and even disastrous in a worst-case scenario. So, if you’ve experience any of them in the past, it’s time to change the way you organise your yearly Christmas dinner. Just like anything that requires a lot of work, planning ahead (e.g. one week before) does help a lot to ease all the unnecessary pressure. This includes everything from making to-buy & to-do lists to writing down or saving recipes for what you plan to make.
2) Clean Out Your Fridge
In other words, take a thorough look at your refrigerator to re-organise your ingredients. This is especially true since you need to buy lots of ingredients for your upcoming Christmas dinner preparation, and definitely need enough room to store your newly-bought groceries like condiments, meat and vegetables. Don’t forget you have to leave some spaces for the (inevitable) leftovers as well. Got those jars and packets of food or drinks which have been sitting in one of the compartments forever? Check their expiration dates and do something about them.
3) Determine Your Budget And Stick To It
Let’s face it, prepping for a Christmas dinner can be overwhelming. And this includes doing grocery shopping at the supermarket. Impulse buying tends to happen. That is, if you rely on your casual instinct upon picking items randomly and placing them in the trolley. You might find yourself overspending, and given the current uncertain times of COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial to learn how to spend wisely. Unless, of course, money is never a problem for you. So, always have a written shopping list ready in your hand or type them on your phone’s notepad before heading to the supermarket. You can always roughly find the price from the internet and make the overall calculation. That way you will know how much you need to spend for the groceries.
4) Keep Things Simple
Sometimes having a fancy Christmas dinner might not be a good idea. This is especially true if you plan to experiment with new or unique Christmas dinner recipes, which you haven’t done before in the past. Even if you insist to break your yearly Christmas dinner tradition, at least do the experiment a few times prior until you get them right. Otherwise, it’s best to stick to the classic dishes that you are already familiar with.
5) It’s Okay To Cheat A Little
When comes to prepping for a Christmas dinner, you don’t have to be too rigid about it. Be flexible because celebrating Christmas with your loved ones are supposed to be enjoyable. For instance, if you are unable to prep everything from scratch, it wouldn’t hurt to cheat a little. It could be anything from purchasing a pre-order roast turkey to buying store-bought Christmas desserts.
6) Always Ask For Help
Just because you are the only one who knows how to cook, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. No matter how efficient you think you are, sometimes it’s best to ask for help. Helping hands include your significant other, family members or even your kids. For the latter, you can ask them to do something simple like setting the table or arrange the cutleries. Adults, in the meantime, can assist in preparing the ingredients as well as doing the cutting and slicing. Not only delegating the task helps to ease your burden but can also be a good way to spend quality time together.
7) Prepare Your Dishes In Advance If Possible
Did you know that some of the dishes can be made in advance? It helps to save time and most importantly, you don’t have to prepare everything on the big day itself before dinner. There are few examples here, such as according to Mumsnet, you can make the stuffing ahead and “freeze in an ovenproof shallow dish or a foil tray”. When it’s time, simply thaw your stuffing overnight and place them in the oven. You can also prepare gravy for the turkey a day before the Christmas dinner. Try this easy-to-make-ahead gravy from Jamie Oliver.