This year I’m not lifting a finger. Literally not a finger and I can’t wait. I’m away for Christmas having a well-deserved break from hosting. I have hosted Christmas for a number of years now and I LOVE it. I actually do. I adore hosting. I’m a massive foodie and love to cook for everyone. I’m going to share my top tips for making the big day go as smoothly as possible. This is not about money. You can have just as good a Christmas on a budget, this is about managing your time and things that have worked for me in the past. It takes delegation, preparation and a bit of forward-thinking.
Let’s start by looking at what you can do in advance.
The Week Before Christmas
- Make sure you’ve bought all of your ale and enough drinks for non-drinkers. Don’t bother with worrying about fitting all your beers in the fridge, take advantage of our freezing cold weather and stick them outside. They’ll be more than cold enough out there.
- Make sure you’ve got enough crockery and chairs! I have forgotten this before and had to do a mad dash to round up emergency chairs on Christmas Day. Last thing you want to be worrying about!
- Buy ice and then buy more. While you’re there grab garnish for drinks. Frozen strawbs are great for gin and there’s a great selection of frozen fruit at most supermarkets.
- Buy turkey foil
- Clean out the fridge.
- Buy ready-made gravy, no one has got time to be making their own. I adore the M&S Posh ready-made Turkey Gravy. It’s life-changing.
- Get a couple of gifts ready and some spare cards just in case you forget a gift. Look at my local business gift guide here for inspo.
- Put candles, batteries and tealights on your shopping list. We always run out over the festive period.
- If you’ve got guests staying then get their rooms all ready and clean. Don’t forget the towels!
- Ready-made canapes are a lifesaver. Especially the ones that you shove in the oven at the same temperature. I buy the Aldi ones and they’re great. Delegate this job to someone for Christmas Day and time them to go in the oven when your guests arrive.
- Make sure you’ve got enough roasting tins and trays and make sure they fit in the oven.
- Talking of ovens, here’s something I didn’t click onto until I hosted Christmas dinner for the first time. Everyone is using their oven at the same time on the same day. I don’t know if this affects things from an energy point of view but my roasties have never taken as long as they have on Christmas Day. Bear in mind, things take longer to cook on Christmas day. No clue why. They just do, so leave extra time.
- Serving tea and coffee after the meal? Make sure you’ve got enough cups and bits! We had to do a pre-emptive mad dash to Ikea the other year for a milk jug. Not the place I’d like to be on 23rd Dec I’m telling ya!
- If you haven’t already then get a list together of cooking times. Work out what time you’re eating and work backwards. What’s last to serve? And work backwards from there.
- Prep all of your veg. I mean everything! Hell, I even peel the outer layers of the sprouts! I prep the turkey on Christmas Eve. I do this lovely thing with butter under the turkey skin (Jamie Oliver), I peel and half my potatoes ready for roasties (leave them in a pan of cold water), I make my stuffing and refrigerate, peel and chop my carrots (leave in water), prep all my sauces in ramekins and fridge, prep sprouts, cook my Christmas ham, cook my sausages for Christmas breakfast so I can lash them in the microwave Christmas Day morning. It just leaves less to do on the big day.
- Give all your glassware a wash and set your table the night before, this way it’s done and out of the way. You can literally just plate up on Christmas Day!
- Do a final clean, run the hoover round, make sure loo’s are clean, give everything a wipe over, it won’t need much but it will save you having to do it on Christmas morning!
- Cut your lemons and limes for drinks and stick them in some Tupperware with soda water to keep them fresh, they’ll last a while.
- Get your wine/bubbles in the fridge!
- Delegate away! If you’re doing dinner, put someone else on breakfast. Put someone on cleaning up after presents and DON’T forget to put the turkey in! I forgot to do this last year!
- Make sure you give yourself time to get ready, you don’t want to greet your guests still in your Christmas jarmies with a sweaty face!
- It’s never too early for a bevvy!
- Don’t worry about the turkey getting cold while you are doing the rest of the dinner. This tip has saved me every year. Once the turkey is cooked, take it out the oven, drain the fat away, and place on a big plate with a high rim. Cover it with foil, then a tea towel, then foil and a tea towel. Keeps the turkey dead warm and juicy! No dry, cold turkey here!
- On that point, don’t get too bogged down with cooking times and temperatures. Use all the shelves in your oven and don’t forget the bottom of the oven is also a shelf! Once things are cooked, whack them in your serving dishes, foil them and keep them warm until serving time.
- Wash up as you go.
- If people offer to help, accept!
- Don’t panic, it’s just a fancy roast! If it all goes tits up, grab some bread and make turkey butties. It’s grand! Remember it’s the most magical time of the year!
Roll on next year when I’m back where I belong in that kitchen!
Hope you found some of these tips helpful! Let me know in the comments where you’re spending Christmas Day!