This year we’re staying at home for Christmas. It’s the first year, since we got together almost 9 years ago, that we’re staying home. At first I would spend Christmas with my family and T his, then we started spending it together, but at his mums. We’d then go visit mine on Boxing Day. But I always said that as soon as we had kids together I wanted Christmas Day to be our thing.
One of the main reasons that we had spent Christmas at T’s mums in years gone by is because of L. He spends Christmas morning at his mums then Christmas Day with us. So it was always an easy way of him seeing his grandma too, and we picked him up on the way out. This year though, L will be coming along to spend Christmas with Me, T and Spike. Just the four of us. For what will probably be a bit of a boring, and possibly disastrous day!
The fact that I’ve always spent the day with family of some description means that I’ve never cooked Christmas Dinner. I have never prepared a meal of that size or substance for anyone. And there are certain things I have no idea how to do!
I have planned ahead and bought a turkey. But it is a frozen one that will need to defrost, and with a fridge smaller than most kitchen cupboards, I have a feeling I’ll be defrosting it on Christmas Eve in the bath! And for someone who is absolutely shocking at remembering to get chicken out of the freezer 90% of the time when we need it – I’ll be amazed if I even manage that!
And this is before Ive even got to the cooking part. I don’t know how to cook it… I have no idea how to store it once it’s cooked. When to cook it in relation to the other items of food. Nothing.
I also have no idea how to make Pigs in Blankets, though I might just buy them frozen to cook ready made! And don’t get me started on Prawn Cocktail… how the hell do you make that?!
I decided to ask some fellow bloggers what their top tips are when it comes to having a stress-free Christmas. I figured it was the best way to maybe make it happen in the Hatchling household too.
It would seem the top tips all recommend that preparation will be your friend… take a look here:
“Don’t cook your turkey for too long, and you can let it rest for absolutely ages – up to two hours under some foil and a tea towel, which means you don’t have to panic about timings so much. Oh, and a glass of wine on the go always helps!” Says Laura from Woman in Progress.
“Write it all out with timings and then write it again in order of when it needs to go in, working backward from the time you want to eat!” Says Hayley from Devon Mama
“Make your leeks and white sauce and cauliflower cheese the day before! Saves time and pressure on the day!” Vikki from Family Travel with Ellie – though I’m not sure that either of those things are even on my Christmas food list!
“Do as much as you can the night before. Prep absolutely everything that you can and even cook some in advance if possible to just stick in the oven for a few minutes on the day.” says Lyndsey from Me, Him, The Dog and a Baby.
“Prep (peel/chop etc) all veg the day before so you don’t have to do it on the day!” Said Stacey from Stacey in the Sticks.
“Keep it simple and don’t feel bad about using shortcuts if you need/want to. We always use frozen roast potatoes, frozen yorkshire puddings and gravy granules!” Says Coffee Cake Kids‘ Rachel – and Hollie of Thifty Mum agreed: “Buy what you can frozen. It’s cheaper, already prepped and if anyone cancels you just cook less of it without any food waste.”
“We always cook the turkey up the night before and carve it all up. It takes away the pressure on the day and frees up oven space too!” says Laura from Five Little Doves.
“YouTube is your friend. Search for relevant videos and make a playlist and watch them as you cook. They will keep you entertained and give you a proper gourmet dinner!” Says Laura from Savings 4 Savvy Mums.
“We make mash and vegetables the day before and cheat with microwave red cabbage. For everything else we make a list of timings so we know when to put things in the oven.” Says Karina from Mum’s the Nerd.
“Buy pre prepped veg ? I use a steamer and put veg on each tier. Then there is more room on the hob for everything else. Good luck!” Erica from The Incidental Parent says.
“If you are cooking, make sure someone else is on clean up duty. Saves it being quite so traumatic after a day of prepping and feeding” I can definitely say that I WILL not be cleaning up, but thats Sinead for this one!
I’ll only be cooking for me and my close family, but if you are planning on tackling Christmas Dinner for the extended family or friends then this piece of advice from Ayse at Arepops is perfect: “Get people to bring a dish along to take the edge off!“
“Go to someone else’s house or get your other half to cook! Just kidding…..sort of! ? My most important one would be don’t forget to check the turkey for giblets!” – Help me, Louise from Pink Pear Bear, I don’t even know what giblets are!
And finally, I think my favourite piece of advice was from Sophie over at Sophobsessed: “Keep it simple there is this huge pressure to go all out and have loads of different veg options and side dishes. Just pick what you really need/like. I always think fewer options cooked really well is better than loads of options that are rushed or panicked over.“