Preparing your Kitchen for Christmas

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It is said that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the busiest and most hectic time of the year as well. There’s so much to do, so much to remember, and you can quite easily find yourself missing everything rather than making memories with your friends and family.

One of the biggest causes of stress is the Christmas meal. Some people eat it on Christmas Eve, some people eat it at midday on Christmas Day, and other eat it in the late afternoon. Whenever you plan to sit down and start eating, here are some top tips for making sure that your Christmas meal runs as smoothly as possible by preparing your kitchen for Christmas in advance.

Making a list, checking it twice…

Your very first task before planning any food or drink is to establish who will be coming along. Make a list of everyone you want to invite (or expect to be there!) for your Christmas meal, and make sure its comprehensive. 

In a survey, it was discovered that family arguments are what most people consider the worst thing for mental well-being in the run-up to Christmas. (1) By making sure you invite everyone you want to, and not missing out anyone who should be included, you’ll be setting yourself up for an argument-free celebration.

Of course, there’s always that one relation who is bound to cause trouble. It’s your call – do you invite them and hope for the best? Or do you leave them out and risk an argument because of it? It’s a tricky situation, and family politics are never easy, but if you know who is coming beforehand you can prepare yourself.

Find Out Who is Naughty and Nice

Or rather, who likes what kind of food! Some people will have a preference for this or that, but others will have dietary requirements that you may not have yourself. Are they vegan? Gluten-intolerant? Diabetic? The last thing you need is to create a Christmas meal that is either rejected or, worse, toxic to the people you are trying to feed. (2)

Send out invites, make the phone calls, meet up with whoever you can – but find out who is definitely coming, and what they can (and can’t) eat. Matching someone’s diet is another great way to avoid an argument!

Your Grown-Up Christmas List

Now you know what food can be consumed, it’s time to make a list of all the ingredients you need. Before you even started, you probably had an idea of what you wanted to make – full turkey dinner? Or maybe something with roast ham. Perhaps some kind of squash. Adapt it where necessary to suit your guests, and make sure you write down every single item you need.

Don’t forget to include any key seasonings you intend to use, right down to salt and pepper. The stores aren’t always open when you need them to be around Christmas time, so make sure you are prepared.

Next, go to your cupboards and count up how many plates, bowls, dishes, and sets of cutlery you have. If you haven’t got enough, add some to the list.

Do you need serving bowls? Put them on the list too.

Are you sure you've got the room to spare inside?

One of the problems you might face at Christmas that you don’t at other times of year is the lack of space. No, not for people to sit down – although that is a consideration, so make sure your table is large enough and there are enough chairs – but instead time for your meal to be cooked.

Work out how long each component of the meal will need to be cooked for, and how it is being cooked. (3,4) If you cook a large turkey, will there be room in the oven for anything else? Do you need extra pots and pans? Can you pre-cook some things the day before, and warm them up on the day?

Although it may seem silly to check, are you sure your oven is working efficiently? Does your microwave do everything it is meant to? Have you got an electric grill, and do you intend to use it? A steamer? A countertop halogen oven? Whatever you need to cook the meal with, make sure it is clean and in working order.

Run, Run Rudolph

Or at least do a trial run. If you have chance, it pays dividends to try to create the whole meal in advance of the big day. That way, with less pressure, you’ll find out where the sticking points are. If you need to cook something in a different way, or something takes longer than expected, you’ll be fully prepared.

Want to look confident in the kitchen? Practice!

It’s Christmas All Over Again

Christmas doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone – it’s the same date every year. Knowing this, make sure you have everything you need well in advance of the day itself. You might think you can pick up those last few items hours before you need them, but everyone else will have the same idea.

You’ll be stuck in queues for hours, the traffic will be horrendous, and you know they’ll have sold out of that vital ingredient. Get non-perishables as soon as you can and get fresh meat and vegetables a few days before you need them.

That way, you can sit back and relax in the days before Christmas and be ready to fully appreciate and enjoy everything the season has to offer.

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