You’ll have a lot on your plate during the holidays, making it challenging to prepare dinner at home. You’ll likely have to divide your time and energy between buying presents, planning get-togethers, decorating your home, and finding outfits perfect for the holidays. But preparing Christmas dinner doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right techniques, you can prepare the most scrumptious and appealing Christmas dinner at home without losing your sanity.
Ask For Help
Preparing Christmas dinner doesn’t have to be a one-person show. If your kids are old enough, teach them how to cook or prepare ingredients. You can also ask for their help drying the dishes, setting the table, and cleaning the kitchen after cooking.
If your guests offer a lending hand — say they want to help you cook or buy the ingredients — let them. Their offer will make your life easier in the kitchen. Plus, it serves as an opportunity for you to bond and catch up!
Clean the Fridge
Before you head out to score weekly deals on Lidl, Aldi, or Costco, clean your fridge first. Get rid of leftovers, old condiment bottles, and other bulky items that take up too much space. Aside from removing clutter, this also helps you identify which ingredients you need to restock and which ones you still have.
Plan in Advance
You’ll end up stressed if you don’t have any idea what meals you are going to prepare or who you’re going to invite. The solution? Plan everything in advance. You can even get a head start on the meal itself and prepare make-ahead dishes, like mashed potatoes and Christmas cookies.
The internet is bombarded with a wide variety of make-ahead dishes perfect for Christmas dinners, so make sure to research. You can find recipes for appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, and even desserts online!
You don’t need to prepare everything from scratch to have a memorable Christmas dinner at home. If you’re pressed for time, consider buying a bag of rolls from your favorite bakery or a bottle of gravy from local stores. You can even buy bottled cocktails instead of making the drinks at home.
Evaluate your menu and assess which ones can be brought pre-made. There’s no shame in taking shortcuts — your guests will still love what you’ll prepare!
Keep Things Simple
One of the biggest mistakes people make when preparing Christmas dinners is offering complex menus in an attempt to impress guests. Taking this route makes room for error, so keep things simple instead.
At Christmas dinners, you don’t have to serve too many dishes. Three sides and one dessert are acceptable during Christmas feasts. If you’re expecting guests with dietary restrictions, ask them to bring a dish if you can’t accommodate their preferences. You don’t have to make four different versions of the same meal just to accommodate every guest.
Set the Table the Night Before
The key to a stress-free Christmas dinner is preparing everything you can in advance — like the table. Impress your guests with the perfect Christmas table by preparing it the night before the dinner. Complete this task early, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about on the day of the dinner.
Timing is one of the most stressful elements of preparing Christmas dinner — it’s hard to determine how much time the turkey needs to be in the oven. And letting your (hungry) guests wait for a long period can ruin everyone’s mood.
Keep guests from invading your kitchen by serving healthy, no-cook snacks as you prepare the main dishes. You can serve some pretzels, healthy fruits such as blueberries or strawberries, Caprese toasts, or even some trail mixes. You have unlimited options to choose from — just pick ones that don’t require any cooking!
Be Mindful of Conversation Topics
Your effort in preparing a full-course meal will go down the drain if you or some of the guests fight over controversial topics. Remember, Christmas is the season for bonding with friends and family, not the time to fight about the country’s economic policies.
Once the dinner starts, keep the conversation flowing by focusing on pleasant topics. Avoid talking about divisive topics, such as politics, abortion, religious freedom, and animal rights. You can also set a few ground rules with the guests before the dinner begins.
Use The Right Tactics
As you can see, preparing Christmas dinner doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming. Follow all of the tips mentioned here, and you’re a step closer to giving your guests a Christmas dinner they’ll never forget!