With less than a month to go I think we can safely now start talking about Christmas without fear of reprisal. I know it’s unfashionable to say it, but I love the festive season with all its excesses and mad scramble to buy presents. The ancient festival of Yule is all about livening up the darkest time of the year with a bit of feasting and frivolity and I think life would be a whole lot less interesting without a big day of celebration every winter.
This year is a significant one for us for a number of reasons. Firstly we are hosting the whole family for the first time since we finished the building work on the house, secondly it’s Alice’s first Christmas and thirdly as it’s Theo’s first Christmas as a schoolboy and the first time he’s really got swept along with the excitement of it all.
As we’ll be hosting 6 guests (and two extra canine ones) whilst juggling a two month old and a 4 year-old we shall be embracing a few festive shortcuts to make our lives easier
Do you supermarket order online – I have no idea why anyone would willingly partake in the scrum that is Christmas food shopping. My delivery slot is already booked for 23rd December (mostly full of wine at the moment to hold the spot) and although I’ve never been let down with any of my supplies before, if for some reason they fail to deliver a vital ingredient I will still have Christmas Eve to go out and get it, which would be a whole lot less stressful than doing the entire shop from scratch.
Use Pinterest to plan (or steal ideas) – Quite a few of the people I follow on Pinterest have already set up Christmas boards which include everything from stocking fillers to vegetarian dishes and easy table decorations. Pinterest doesn’t have to be all about making things perfect, sometimes it can also help you make things easier too and save you time.
Be ready for guests – If you want to minimise the amount of traveling you do over the festive period it pays to get your spare room set up for overnight visitors. If you don’t have the luxury of extra space and need to juggle the kids around to accommodate people these guest beds are ideal for family Christmases and Bedstar also sell triple sleeper bunks which are great for maximising sleeping options in children’s rooms.
Learn some Christmas dinner shortcuts – We only have one (fairly small) oven and it’s a challenge to get everything cooked in it. Last time we hosted Jim cooked the Yorkshire Puddings in advance and froze them, this year he’s seriously considering cooking the entire turkey the day before and serving it at room temperature with hot gravy (you wait till my mother reads that!) You can also pre-cook the potatoes and ask guests to bring the starter or nibbles.
Order your tree online – I’m a bit obsessed with getting everything delivered and I recently discovered you can order your Christmas tree that way too. Some companies even have a satisfaction guarantee in case you don’t like the tree that turns up. I know it deprives you of the family arguments at the garden centre about which tree is the most aesthetically perfect, but it might keep the kids entertained for an hour or so waiting at the window during the delivery slot.