- 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.
- 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!
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?”
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.
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.
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.