Welcome to part four of my Christmas series, A Christmas Less Stressed. Designed to reduce the planning overwhelm, this series is going to give you everything you need to create a Christmas that rocks. Come Christmas Eve you’ll be enjoying your mulled wine and mince pies just like everyone else because everything will have been taken care of!
In the last post I shared a few of my favourite ways to make the most of the holiday season with friends and family. I revealed some of the things on my own family’s Christmas bucket list and how our Christmas-themed family traditions bring us closer together. This week’s post (which is also the penultimate in the series) is all about getting your Christmas food and drink sorted. What goodies will you be having over the Christmas break? What’s on your menu for Christmas Day? What will you prep in advance to make life easier? By the end of this post, you’ll have all the answers!
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…
It’s no secret that I love my food! As far as I’m concerned Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy lots of yummy treats and have fun in the kitchen! But I don’t want to spending hours getting everything ready – especially when everyone else is in the other room having fun! When it comes to my Christmas meal planning, it needs to be quick, easy and as straightforward as possible.
Thankfully, over the years I’ve discovered a few tricks to make my Christmas meal planning easier and today I’m going to share them with you. Follow these simple steps and watch your Christmas meal preparations come together with minimal stress and fuss!
1. Decide what you’re going to eat sooner rather than later
I find it SO much easier to pull everything together if I’ve thought about what to have a few weeks in advance. That way there’s plenty of time to prepare and no last-minute panic trying to work out what to cook. Decide what you’re going to eat sooner rather than later. If you know where you’re going to be each day, it should be fairly straightforward to come up with a menu. Agree with everyone concerned what you’re going to cook and write it down. If you haven’t finalised your arrangements yet, simply jot down a few ideas that you can come back to and refine later. Having trouble getting started? Ask yourself:
- Where you’ll be each day.
- Who’s responsible for the cooking.
- What you’d like to eat.
- How many you’re cooking for.
- What time of day you’re eating your main meal.
- What’s easy to prepare so you can enjoy the festivities with everyone else.
- Whether there are any dietary requirements you need to allow for – allergies, fussy eaters, intolerances etc.
Be realistic about what you can prep with the time you have too. Make life easy by choosing dishes that aren’t too fancy or complicated. Unless you like experimenting in the kitchen, Christmas Day is not the time to try cooking something you haven’t tried before! The last thing you want is to get stressed out and frazzled in the kitchen because your new dish isn’t going according to plan – especially if you have company. Be kind to yourself and select dishes you know you can easily make – or practice beforehand!
2. Stock your pantry and freezer
Your pantry and freezer are your best friends – especially in the run up to Christmas! Make sure they’re stocked with everything you need well in advance of Christmas Day. Don’t just fill them with things that look nice though. Be sure to stock them with the staples you need as well as whatever takes your fancy in store. Go through your menu and write a list of everything you need to get. Buy as much of it as you can in advance and put it in your pantry ready.
Make sure you have a few essentials in stock too just incase you need to rustle up something extra. Great staples include rice and pasta and canned beans and pulses. Chopped tomatoes, tinned fish and tinned vegetables are useful too. As are stock cubes, dried herbs, spices, oils and vinegars. With these and a few proteins stored in your freezer, you can pretty much make any meal!
3. Have a meal plan for the days before and after Christmas
The lead up to Christmas can be pretty stressful. We’re rushing from place to place finalising all the arrangements, making sure we haven’t forgotten anything. With so much to do, the last thing we need to be worrying about is what to make for dinner each evening. Make life a bit easier by coming up with a meal plan for the days leading up to and after Christmas. Opt for dinners that are quick and easy to prepare such as:
- Spaghetti bolognese
- Chilli con carne
- Sausage and tomato pasta
- Sweet and sour chicken
- Chicken fajitas
Want to make cooking dinner even easier? Batch cook a few meals now and freeze them ready for the Christmas break! All of the meals above can be cooked and frozen for another day. They’ll last in your freezer for up to 3 months too…so if you don’t get to use them over Christmas, just think of all the easy dinners you’ll have in January!
4. Prep what you can in advance
Prepare as much as you can in advance and save yourself from sweat and tears on the day. Go through your meal plan and work out what you need to do when. Figure out what you need to buy and what you can prep in advance. Some of it will need to be done on the day, but there’ll be a few things you can do beforehand. Make a list of:
- The ingredients you still need to buy.
- What you’re serving in the way of drinks and snacks.
- Which dishes can be made in advance and frozen.
- What can be prepped a few days before.
- Which elements you can prep the night before.
- What has to wait until the day.
Whatever you prepare in advance, don’t forget to make a note of what needs to come out of the freezer when. There’s nothing worse than spending hours making something only to realise you’ve forgotten to defrost it! I may have done this once or twice, so now I write in my diary when I need to take it out and add it to my list of tasks for that day!
Christmas meal planning made easy…
When you first start to think about what to serve over the Christmas break it can feel like there’s way too much to do. That you’ll never get everything organised. But meal prepping for the holiday season doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming. By getting on top of it early, your Christmas can be just as enjoyable as everyone else’s. Make your Christmas meal planning easy by:
- Deciding what to eat sooner rather than later
- Stocking your pantry and freezer with staples
- Having a meal plan for the days leading up to and after Christmas
- Prepping what you can in advance
That’s it for this post! Follow these steps and your Christmas meal preparations will be a breeze! Like what you’ve read? Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a post! Join my tribe and kick-start creating a family life you love right now by filling in your details below. Receive my Christmas Meal Planning printables as a thank-you!
Did you enjoy this post? What do you do to make your Christmas meal planning less stressful? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time…
P.S. Want to make sure you haven’t missed an episode? Here are the links for the entire series:
- 1. Introduction: Your Guide to a Happy Christmas
- 2. Part One: How to Plan a Happy and Stress-free Christmas
- 3. Part Two: How to Get Your Christmas Shopping Done
- 4. Part Three: Five Ways to Enjoy a Family Christmas
- 5. Part Four: Christmas Meal Planning Made Easy
- 6. Part Five: How to Pull Everything Together