Posted Tuesday, 24 December 2019
Hosting Christmas at yours this year? First time? Or just want to make the whole day less stressful? Here are our top 5 tips to control the chaos on Christmas day.
Tip 1 – Be prepared
There’s loads you can do before the big day. You can par-boil and freeze your spuds in advance, and pigs in blankets (a great job to give to the kids) and stuffing can be made in advance too. Veg can all be peeled and soaking in pans of water the night before. Some people pop their turkeys in a bucket of brine to soak up some pre-cooking flavour, but I’m just not sure plonking a turkey in a bucket is quite glamorous enough for my Christmas day!
Tip 2 – Get everyone to chip in
When I’m hosting Christmas it’s a chaotic family affair, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I make sure everyone plays a part in the celebration that is lunch. Mum brings a lovely stuffing meatloaf, Dad provides a bottle of red - and a bottle of white, my mother-in-law will prep a big pan of slow cooked red cabbage (with port and apples, ooh it’s yum!) and my brother - who can barely make toast - is in charge of the cheese board. This all means my day is simplified, cheaper, and that we all feel like our feast is a real family affair.
Tip 3 – Rest your bird
Reduce your turkey’s cooking time by half an hour, then ONE HOUR before you serve, bring it out of the oven, cover in foil, and heap a pile of towels on top. This traps the heat in, finishes cooking, and lets the turkey soak up all the juices. It makes your bird super succulent, and gives you a free oven for everything else. I also use a cheap halogen oven to sort smaller baking trays – that’s the stuffing and pigs in blankets sorted without taking up my oven space.
Tip 4 – Start off with a winner
In our house we’ve made our own tradition, and it’s all about the breakfast. Once prezzie session one is complete I’ll sort a batch of smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels. It’s a really yummy way to start the day (with a little glass of bucks fizz, naturally) and a nice little break in the morning. I’ll rope my two girls into helping me too, and they’re always super-proud to carry a little plate of yumminess in to each family member as something ‘I made myself’.
Tip 5 – Dish out the jobs
Don’t feel like you have to do it all yourself. Everyone knows it’s a big task getting a dinner ready on a big day, so make sure they all have a part to play. I’m the chef in our house, which means I don’t have to clear up. My dad hates serving (never understood why!) but will gladly sort all the washing up with a coffee while I get to play with the kids. My brother’s in charge of coffees, beers and generally topping up glasses, and my Mum (who taught me how to cook) keeps an extra eye on timings and helps dish-up. We all have our jobs, and you know what, it’s an even better day knowing we all played our part. PS. Gran is excused from any jobs, because she’s been there, and done it all, for decades. She’s allowed a snooze and a little glass of port!
This article was written by Nick, Chief Marketing Elf at Sovereign Living, who’s hosting Christmas (for the third year in a row) for 10, in a house that’s definitely not designed for that many people. He’s a big believer in enjoying the perfection of imperfect, noisy, messy Christmas days, and a hero at getting the most out of leftovers… did someone say turkey curry?