The best part about Christmas is getting together with friends and family to celebrate, relax and enjoy great food and drink. Usually though, eager anticipation can turn into downright panic at the thought of Christmas shopping, tripping around to visit people, kids on holidays, and trying to cook a roast in 30-something degree heat. Aahh! But don't panic just yet. There's still a whole month to prepare and while the retailers will try and tell you that time is running out, we all know they would start Christmas in June if they could!
Our family Christmas has always been at my parents in the past and we have so many great memories. But this year, for a few different reasons, it's my turn to host Christmas for the first time. I'm feeling a mixture of excitement and nervousness, wanting to make sure I live up to all our childhood memories. No pressure huh? Luckily, I have watched how my mum prepares over the years and have learnt a thing or two along the way.
If you're entertaining at your place this year, there are a few things you can do now to make life easier in the busy days around Christmas itself.
Make a list of all the nibbles and drinks that you like to have around at Christmas time and make sure you add extras for the visitors that may drop around unexpected. You can add a few of these to your groceries each week from now on to slowly build up your Christmas pantry without breaking the bank and it will also reduce your shopping list for the final big shop on Christmas Eve when you get the fresh stuff.
Start to plan your menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day now. Try to select dishes that won't take a huge amount of preparation on the day. Seafood rather than the roast that takes hours and heats up the house, salads that can be partly prepared in advance, cold meats and antipasto. And this brings me to the next point..
Delegate! If everyone brings something, then everyone can enjoy the day rather than one or two people being stressed out and stuck in the kitchen. Sides, salads, desserts and drinks are all easily delegated (just make sure all the bases are covered and everyone is not bringing the same thing). You could maybe even ask someone - the crafty cousin - to bring the table decorations if that's not your thing.
Remember to Relax, Christmas is not about neatness and perfection. For me, it's about spending time with loved ones, showing that we care and enjoying a break from the everyday.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for some gift giving tips and tricks for a Merry Christmas.