Our guide to the perfect Christmas dinner
From prepping the veg to roping in the relatives, we take a look at all the things you can do to take the stress out of preparing one of the biggest meals of the year, giving you more time to pop on your party hat and enjoy the celebrations!
Prep is key
Preparation is the key to a successful Christmas dinner. Not only will it taste better, but planning can also help you budget better, cutting down on waste and saving those hard-earned pennies.
Ask your guests in advance of any dietary requirements. Are there any vegans or vegetarians in the party? If so, make sure you have a turkey alternative. Also, check if there are any preferences on starters and puddings.
Practice makes perfect
If you can, try and do a mini trial run when you next cook a Sunday roast, checking you have everything you need and help you trim up on those timings.
All the tools
It’s not just about the food – do you have everything you need to cook and serve a Christmas dinner, including all the pots and pans and serving dishes?
Do you have enough table space and seats? There’s always going to be someone stuck on the high stool, but we think that’s what makes Christmas dinner a proper Christmas dinner!
We love a list
Give yourself a good afternoon to write out a list of everything you need and then write out a shopping list of what you need to buy.
Here’s our list of essentials...
- Roasting trays
- Pots and pans
- Chopping boards – one for meat and one for veggies
- Whisks for your Yorkshire pud batter
- Thermometer to check your meat
- Colander to strain your veggies
- Turkey baster
Make the most of our time-saving methods to help make light work of Christmas dinner.
From chopping veg the day before to making soup in advance, here are some of our favourite time-saving tips that can also cut the stress:
- Get the whole family to help – perhaps dish out one job per family member, from bringing the pudding to making and serving the drinks
- Get your veg chopped in advance the night before
- Have the Christmas food shop done in good time - double check when you get home that you didn’t leave anything at the checkout!
- If you’re making your own soup, prepare it in advance and freeze it. Just take it out the freezer the night before
- Make up your prawn cocktail starter (minus the prawns) the night before - just add the prawns fresh on Christmas day
- Your freezer is your best friend! Prepping and cooking vegetables, stuffing, potatoes etc can be done weeks in advance and then frozen. Check our freezer-friendly recipes to do the work beforehand then defrost and serve on the day
- Space saving is also important, especially when working in a small kitchen. Put away the coffee machine and toaster to help make the most of the space you have
Make sure it’s hot!
Timing is the key to everything when it comes to Christmas dinner, so as long as you plan ahead you shouldn’t have to worry too much.
Just keep in mind these top tips and you’ll have more time to enjoy the big day with your family and friends (and hopefully spend less of it in the kitchen!)
- You know all the recipes say it, but be sure to preheat your oven, it really does make all the difference
- Think about the timings when prepping, and come up with an order in which to tackle each recipe and task
- Use a meat thermometer to double check it’s safe to eat
- Don’t cook things until you really need to
- Make sure you’re using the right size dishes/pans to cook evenly and quicker
- Once everything’s cooked, turn your oven off and keep food inside with the door shut to make sure everything stays warm as you carve the turkey
- Keep food covered with foil until it’s served – this will help lock in the heat
Make it fun!
Everything about Christmas day should be fun, and cooking the dinner should be no exception! We’ve already talked about how you can make meal prep more of an event but here are some of our other favourite tips to turn a Christmas job into Christmas joy.
- Get the Christmas tunes on – we think this one’s a must!
- Pick up some festive aprons and oven mitts ahead of the cooking to get you in the mood
- If you want to, have a festive tipple at the ready as a little treat
- Get the table looking fabulous. Have a read of our blog for some top tips on setting the table
- Did we mention singing along to the Christmas songs too?
- Don’t forget to ask for help – there’s no shame in roping in a few extra hands to help out
- Prep, prep and more prep. The more prep you do, the more relaxed you’ll feel and the more enjoyable the whole experience will be!
- Try and relax. It’s easier said than done, but it’ll make the day so much more enjoyable for you and your guests
The main thing to keep in mind is to try to not worry or stress about your Christmas dinner. It’s supposed to be a great time for you just as much as it is your family and friends, so do everything you can to enjoy it. And remember, even if something does go a little wrong, these can be the things that create the greatest memories!
So, kick back, relax and enjoy the day – you’ll certainly have earned it!