Christmas 2023: 8 Hacks To Simplify Your Holiday Menu

Throwing a Christmas lunch or dinner can be equal parts stressful and enjoyment. After all, it’s a time when friends and family gather in celebration, and as the host you want to make sure everything’s perfect. But there’s a lot to consider along the way to ensure that the big day goes smoothly so rather than leave everything to the last minute, advance preparation can really save the day. 

Video Credits: Natashas Kitchen/YouTube

With a few simple hacks, you can ensure that your Christmas is as easy as possible. Here are 8 tips and tricks to try. 

1. Plan Ahead:

The key to a smooth Christmas dinner lies in not leaving anything to the last minute. Up to two weeks before, you can start planning your men to prepare whatever you can in advance. Be sure to shop for all your packaged and readymade goods earlier, leaving only the fresh ingredients till the end. This will help you avoid the last-minute rush and ensure that you have all the ingredients on hand.

2. Opt for Time-Efficient Recipes:

Every moment counts and on a day which is supposed to be about friends and family, you don’t want to be holed up in the kitchen all day. Choose recipes that are not only delicious but also time-efficient and make use of any gadgets you have around. Consider slow cooker meals or dishes that can be partially prepared beforehand and finished in the microwave or air fryer. This allows you to spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen.

3. Invest in Quality Convenience Items:

Sometimes it’s easy to feel the pressure to make everything from scratch for a festive meal. But the truth is, if you skip a few steps, most people won’t even notice the difference. Don't hesitate to take advantage of high-quality convenience items. Pre-cut vegetables, canned or jarred sauces, store-bought pastry crust or rolls, or ready-made stocks or gravy granules can save you valuable time without compromising the overall taste and presentation of your Christmas dinner.

4. Use Your Oven Wisely:

A true Christmas feast usually has many components to deal with, and that means space is always in high demand. Make the most of your oven by planning your dishes strategically. Opt for recipes with similar cooking temperatures to streamline the process. Be sure to set timers to keep track of cooking times for different dishes and avoid any culinary mishaps.

5. Prepare a Signature Drink:

It’s the booziest time of the year and unless you have a friend or family member who’s willing to play bartender for the day, then keeping everyone’s glass refilled can be a bit of a challenge. Simplify your drink options by preparing a signature Christmas beverage in advance. Whether it's mulled wine, a festive punch, or a non-alcoholic concoction, having a pre-made drink allows you to focus on other aspects of hosting while still offering a delightful refreshment.

6. Embrace the Buffet Style:

Consider serving your Christmas dinner buffet-style. This approach not only adds a casual and sociable element to the celebration but also reduces the need for intricate plating and serving. Guests can help themselves to their preferred portions, making the dining experience more relaxed.

7. Potato Prep

Potato sides are one of the staples of a Christmas meal. Boiled, roasted, mashed they always show up in some form or the other, and the best part is that they’re very easy to prep in advance. Peeling and storing them covered in water in the fridge the day before can save some time. Alternatively, take it a step further by parboiling and partially roasting them the day before, then returning them to the oven for 15 minutes on the day to achieve a crispy finish.

8. Maximise Oven Space

Get creative while using your oven. Even if space is limited, there's no need to sacrifice your beloved vegetable sides. Create individual foil packets filled with root or Mediterranean vegetables and cook them stacked next to your roast. This not only saves space but also minimises the cleanup.

With these helpful tips in mind you can go forth and conquer the perfect Christmas bash with ease and make the day as memorable as it deserves.