I’m not a fan of cold weather. The slippery, icy paths, the freezing cold mornings and the de-icings of the cars in the morning are just not my favourite things about December.
Yet, despite all that, I am keenly aware of how damn happy this time of year makes me. There is a reason why “it’s the most wonderful time of year.” and that for me, is the hands-down the Christmas dinner.
Christmas is without a doubt, the busiest time of year, for family plans, Christmas parties, dinner parties, you name it and it will happen over the Christmas period. Over the years I’ve cooked a fair few Christmas dinners so if I do say so myself, I know a thing or two about the essentials you will need on the big day.
So without further ado, here’s a definitive list for anyone gearing up to cook on Christmas day!
I’m sure this is an obvious one but when your family is as big as mine, it’s definitely something that you need to take into consideration. You will need to know numbers at least a week in advance to get the right amount of food and remember if there are little ones, they will eat less and the teenagers may eat more than you can expect, that’s why it’s always smart to do a little bit extra, just in case. Always be realistic but generous.
Don’t forget to check if any of your dinner guests have any special diets and make sure to not assume from last years dinner if you are feeding the same group of people. Just because no-one in your immediate family isn’t gluten intolerant or a vegan, doesn’t mean that great uncle Mark who you haven’t seen since last Christmas dinner hasn’t inherited an allergy or gone vegan. This can heavily impact how you would usually make your gravy, stuffing, roast veg and more so it’s always a good conversation to have before causing world war three at the dinner table.
Unless your dining room looks like the Great Hall from Harry Potter, if you’re hosting you’ll need to get creative with your space. So how do you make the most of your space over Christmas?
If the number of bottoms and the number of dining chairs don’t match up, search around the house for spare seats you can use, there are always some extras hidden away in the garage or cupboard under the stairs, (pun intended). Then if you’re still short of tables and chairs, ask friends or neighbours who are going away for Christmas.
Or if there’s no way to have everyone seated at the same time or serve everyone at the same time, why not go for a buffet? Either have the traditional roast or just embrace it and set out a range of festive treats for your guests to dive into. You can always prepare bits in advance, dress the table nicely, and it could be the start of a glorious new tradition in your home!
You’d be surprised how buying some new dining sets and serveware will change your Christmas day and how it will create more room on the table. Here are a few of my personal favourites by Maison & White that I know have saved me in the past at dinner parties.
As shown in the photo, these serving platters are a godsend when you want to let your guests choose the food on their plate. Last year I served most of the roast vegetables in these and they worked a treat. And if you like to show off every and pretend you know what you’re doing, these platters help do the job.
This cheese board is another good one to pick up if you like to take pride in your presentation, they're so helpful when it comes to serving the other treats on Christmas day. The fact it also comes with nicely stored cheese knives saves you having to buy some more as well!
Now if you’re like me and struggle with the pressure of cooking everything to be ready at the same time, these little 150ml bowls work a treat. Just fill them with nibbles so when your guests are sat at the table waiting for dinner to be served, it won’t feel as if they are waiting forever as they’ll have some festive treats to snack on.
From the oven, straight to the table, you can roast your meats and vegetables in them, serve food on the table, store leftovers and even bake your desserts in them too for after dinner, if you have room. Plus because there are three sizes, one will never be too big or too small.
These are only a few of the essentials that I have named and there are a whole load of other products by the Maison & White brand that I have used over the years but these are just a few of my favourites. If you do want to take a look, have a look at our Make Christmas easier for less store, it’s got some goodies in there, and not just cooking products.
Now onto the final, most dreaded part of the Christmas checklist…
This is like mission control when it comes to Christmas dinner, make sure to treat it with respect, or you’ll regret it later.
If you’ve ever cooked for a big party of people before or even cooked a lot of food at once, you will know, you must clean as you go. If there are any little ones that want to help on Christmas day, get them washing the pots as you go, you’ll be patting yourself on the back in the morning, trust me.
Another thing to remember is not everything has to be done from scratch, little tasks like doing your own pigs in blankets can create so much work so anything you can cut time on for a few pennies spent in your local shop, buy as it will save time in the morning and will give you extra time to focus on the biggest challenge, the meat.
Timing. This is probably the most important thing and if done wrong, could not only ruin your Christmas dinner but also your guests, so if you have an oven timer, I would recommend sourcing a few others too and this way, things should run smoothly. And if you want to be extra organised, make a list of the times in which things need to go in and come out of the ovens and if all goes well everything will be ready to serve together, hot!
And as well as all the above, there are always the little extras that go on the table for Christmas, we always like to show our friends and family that we’ve gone to the extra efforts for such a special day but again, these don’t have to cost a months wage. Just by adding a few crackers for guests to pop or a couple of candles spread across the table will make a surprising festive difference.
There you have it, that’s my Christmas dinner essentials checklist and I hope you found it just as helpful as I do at this time of year.
The holiday season, to me, is a time to celebrate our health and be grateful for everything we have and to surround ourselves by all of our loved ones, family and friends and enjoy the joyful time of year… and to eat lots of amazing food!
If you found it helpful, make sure to check out the Make Christmas Easier For Less Store as it really does have a lot of great products in there, or if you’d like to take a read at another one of our blogs, why not check out Gifts That Won’t Break The Bank blog? It’s a great read if I do say so myself (shameless plug) and gives you some good present ideas and even a few treats you might want to buy yourself.
Posted by: Charlotte
Charlotte loves writing about Home and Lifestyle topics. She is a neat-freak and hates it when anything is out of place!
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