Cooking Christmas dinner for your family is stressful. More so if it’s the first time that you’ve invited everyone over to yours, or you’ve got a large family to feed. It’s challenging, it’s exciting, and it can also be expensive, to the point that some families have started charging their guests. I’m not sure that’s something I’d be comfortable doing, but each to their own!
Whether you are feeding close family, or you’ve got half the street coming round, some things remain the same. You’ll want to make sure that your Christmas dinner is special, that everyone is well fed, and that everyone has a great day. Here are some top tips to help you to prepare before the big day.
Get Your Table Right
Some people opt for a fancy centrepiece, where others prefer to keep it simple, and the choice is entirely up to you. A festive centrepiece can look amazing, but if you’ve only got a small table, and you are going to have food and drinks on it, it might just be in everyone’s way.
Before the big day, set the table with the plates, cutlery, serving bowls and spoons, glasses, wine bottles, crackers and anything else that will be on the table. See how this fits, take note of how easy and comfortable it will be, and then judge how much space you have for a centrepiece. If you really want something, but space is tight, a simple arrangement of candles or jarred lights can be effective.
Whether you are sticking to the basics or going all out, quality tablecloths and runners, and nice napkins can make all of the difference.
Prepare in Advance
Lay the table on Christmas Eve if possible, taking care to make sure everyone will have everything that you need without having to get up during the meal. Prepare vegetables, potatoes and anything else that you can in advance so that you don’t spend all of your Christmas in the kitchen. Even small jobs, like getting the pots and pans that you’ll need ready can make a big difference.
Focus on the Food
Don’t worry too much about how your table looks. Focus on the food. That’s what everyone wants. Don’t buy too much that things get wasted, but make sure you’ve got enough for everyone. If you want to try a new recipe, make sure you practice it beforehand, and otherwise, stick to recipes that you know and can make easily without stress. There’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple and giving everyone what they love. This isn’t the time to overcomplicate things.
If you get stressed out, spend all day in your kitchen and generally look like you are hating it, that’s what your guests will remember. They’ll feel guilty for coming, they’ll want to help, and they’ll be uncomfortable. Enjoy yourself. Have a glass of wine, ask for help if you need it, get out of the kitchen as much as possible and have a nice day.
Ask People to Bring Something
Charging for Christmas dinner might be a bit much, but it’s acceptable to ask people to bring something. Perhaps just a bottle of wine or some biscuits for the afternoon. Don’t feel as though you can’t ask for what you need.
Here’s to a stress-free Christmas day! Do you have any top tips to add?