8 tips for an easier Christmas Day

  1. Do as much as you can before Christmas Day

If you’ve done all or part of your grocery shopping by now, you deserve a medal. Now it’s time to assess what can be prepared early.  Start by sorting your fridge because there’s no doubt it’s overflowing. Separate your vegetables, fruits and meats. Then go through each category and see what can be done early. For instance, chop your vegetables and coat them in oil to avoid browning. If you’re making your own breadcrumbs for stuffing, do it now and freeze them in a bag. Chop nuts for recipes that need them and store them in airtight containers. Prepare salad dressings and sauces that will keep for a few days in jars. Basically, look at all of your recipes to see what steps can be done days in advance – you’ll be surprised how many there are.

  1. Set the table the night before Christmas

Christmas morning goes so fast that my debate is whether to shave the ham or my legs (not where to position figurines on the table).

So why not make it a ritual to set the table while watching Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve? First lay the plates, cutlery, glasses and napkins. Then put all of the platters on the table with the bags of lollies, chocolates, nuts and glace cherries in them – all you have to do is open the bags in the morning. Then spend some time putting some nice decorations on the table – bonbons, leftover tree decorations, candles or a vase with some greenery from the garden. Voila!

  1. Prep that bird!

Take the turkey out of the fridge a couple of hours before it goes in the oven. If it’s room temperature when you put it in, it will cook faster and taste nicer. And don’t forget to stuff the turkey well before it’s time to cook it – if you fart about and do it last minute, you may have cost yourself crucial cooking time and be on the receiving end of comments later like “no, it’s fine, the other dishes aren’t cold… I mean they’re not hot but they’re not cold cold.”

  1. Write a menu

It’s good to have a visual of the dishes you’ll be serving so you can map out what needs to be cooked and what it’s going to be cooked in. Most of us only have one oven, but I’m guessing most of us are also unrealistic in our expectations of how much can fit in there… This is when you may also realise you don’t have the appliance you need for a dish that you’ve chosen because the photo of it looked ah-mazing.

  1. Parboil your vegetables

Give yourself the best chance of cooking everything perfectly. If you’re oven space is limited, help it out by parboiling your potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin first. If you want to go one step further, you can even roast them until they’re nearly cooked and then finish cooking them just before the meal.

  1. Do something different to make the day memorable

An opportunity to make something more fun or sentimental is never wasted, so why not do something different every year to this end? Bring paper and pens out during lunch and get everyone to draw their funniest family memory, get a piñata for the kids, give everyone 2 minutes to come up with an original joke to share, organise funny boob aprons or something similar for the cooks to wear, do Christmas trivia or play a slideshow with previous family Christmas photos. Some of this sounds lame, but you know what, when you see family members on Christmas Day that you only see once or twice a year, it can be invaluable to do something that brings respite from the usual “so what’s new with you?”

  1. Delegate!

For those already shaking their heads, let me tell you that I’m a perfectionist so the word ‘delegate’ sounds like nails on a blackboard to me. However, the reality is that if you insist on doing everything, you’ll spend the entire day being a hot sweaty mess in the kitchen on the one day you’ve been looking forward to all year. And you’re crazy if you think that the champagne, those rum balls and all the other fancy hoo-ha that you made will be around when you’re ready…think of the blood, sweat and tears you put into that jolly gingerbread house only to have the children what….pull apart, lick the lollies and put them back?! If there’s one day of the year to delegate, it’s Christmas Day.

  1. Celebrate!!!

You know why we look forward to Christmas all year? Because it’s family time, it’s friend time, it’s food time, it’s cocktail time! Take a minute to remember what you envisioned Christmas this year to look like and make sure you follow through on it. Relax. Enjoy. Celebrate.

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Wishing you a very merry Christmas from everyone here at L & M Gold Star!

In 2017 our blog will bring you lots of cooking inspiration, home appliance information, refurbishment tips and more!

In the meantime, we’d love you to come to our showroom to see our appliances. We are located at 2584 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach QLD and we are only closed on public holidays over the new year.

“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” -Alan D. Wolfelt

Keep the above quote in the back of your mind until you finish reading okay? It’s part of my punchline!

For me, Christmas is the most exciting time of the year. I can hardly wait until the 1st of December (ok fine, late November!) to put the tree up and hang the fairy lights. I start my shopping months before Christmas just because I love dragging out the festive feeling. I listen to Christmas carols while wrapping presents and as I sit in my lounge room every night looking at the lit up tree, I can’t help but feel overwhelming love and thankfulness for my family and friends.

Christmas is a time fuelled by sentiment – it’s meaningful, it’s happy, it’s optimistic. The holiday season is about giving, sharing, celebrating and loving (but heaven forbid our loved ones to expect us to say the same things in person as we do in a card!). 

Every year however, I can’t help but think of those who don’t feel the same way about Christmas as me. For some people, it’s sad, or stressful, or lonely. Some have lost loved ones recently, or the memory of long lost loved ones detracts from the festivities. Some are struggling financially and the pressure to buy gifts and nice food with all the trimmings is just too much. Some are battling with an illness themselves or of a loved one. Some have family who are away or live elsewhere. Some are segregated from their families simply because of who they are (you know, that one, the black sheep) or because family conflicts haven’t been resolved in time, or never will be. Hek, some mums are just so exhausted by the end of the year because they’ve been doing everything for others and not for themselves (even though it’s bikini season and those legs are in need of shaving!). And hey, let’s not forget about our teeny boppers who worked their arses off all year to get into their desired university course, but have fallen short with their exam marks (or done nothing, but hoped for 99.5 nonetheless…).

This Christmas, I encourage everyone to not just spare a thought, but to actually do something for someone that you know that needs it (that’s right, I’m not just talking about donating to a charity because the Salvos guys are at the pub with a bucket).  It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time; it’s just about showing that someone that you care. For those struggling for ideas, I have just the thing!

Your mission is to prepare a meal for someone that has a special touch…

  1. Set yourself a budget
  2. Decide what you’re going to make (or what you’re going to buy and claim that you made) – whether it’s lobster or a Vegemite sandwich, it doesn’t matter!
  3. Apply a personal touch like some handpicked flowers in a vase (I’m not condoning “stealing” but if you don’t have flowers and your neighbour has lots……) or a balloon tied to the meal, or a tea light candle on the serving tray, or even your favourite photo of the two of you if you have one.
  4. Deliver the meal in person, tell that person that they’ve been on your mind and wish them a merry Christmas.

Before entering the family business, I was a Social Worker working with children in foster care (the job that gives you a bigger heart but more grey hairs). I have a good friend who used to leave single tea bags on my desk with a post-it note on them – sometimes just with a smiley face drawn on it, sometimes with a short message. What cost sometimes only a few cents for my friend  gave me something priceless – that single tea bag told me that I was thought of, loved and cared for. Now that my friends, is the sentiment that you can leave someone with this Christmas that will last well beyond Christmas Day and the New Years celebrations that follow.

Here at L & M Gold Star, we’re about more than kitchen appliances – we have a passion for cooking and believe that food brings family and friends together in a way that other things can’t. Always remember that “food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate” – that one simple meal you prepare with thought for someone may mean the world to them. Whoever said that the way to a mans heart is through his stomach was only half-right – it’s the way to everyone’s heart! (think how much males and females alike love the taxi driver who takes them through Drive Thru on the way home from the pub). 

Merry Christmas all… May it be the best one yet!

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