In the words of Andy Williams, it’s the most wonderful time of the year – except when you realise that you’ve just agreed to host the Christmas lunch.
You’re going to have to make stuffing, cook up a type of bird or vegetarian masterpiece, whilst smiling and welcoming everyone into your home. *insert panic here*.
Well, it’s lucky for you that we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a full proof plan-
*insert disclaimer here that we can’t be held accountable for “interesting” family members, burnt dinners, over-excited children, clever turkey-stealing dogs, or anything else that could go wrong.*
So without further delay, here; your plan for the best festive Christmas lunch ever….
Preparation and planning is the key
Whenever you ask someone about Christmas, unless they’re under 18 and still get excited about “Father Christmas”, most people will talk about the food. Christmas is synonymous with eating until you can’t eat anymore (but you probably will do in half an hour).
Thankfully, most supermarkets have online shopping so you can order all the frozen, canned, jarred items way ahead of schedule. If you are ordering fresh food online, bear in mind that the popular items may sell out quickly so it’s best to order them as early as possible. If you’re making the accompaniments, make them in advance and freeze them until needed – cranberry sauce, stuffing, and bread sauce are great for this. Just take them out a day or two beforehand to defrost. Pick up the turkey or ham at the same time so it’s ready for stuffing on Christmas Eve.
Lay the table on Christmas Eve
This will save some stress on Christmas Day. Get your family to help you and make it a family affair – crank up the Christmas songs and create your table setting masterpiece.
It’s better to have too much than too little. Christmas is a time for over-eating and Boxing Day is a time for leftovers. Make sure you have plenty of everything – potatoes, veggies, salad, cheese, and of course chocolates.
Go for simple
You don’t want to be slaving over a hot stove whilst everyone kicks back and enjoys themselves, you want to be enjoying yourself too. As long as you plan upfront, you’ll be able to schedule each item perfectly. Remember, coordination is everything. Try to chop and prepare as much as you can for your Christmas lunch the day before, it’s much easier when you can just start cooking the potatoes and carrots rather than trying to peel and chop them all on the day.
The art of delegation
When someone asks if there is something they can bring, say yes. Side dishes – salads, cheese boards – are excellent dishes to delegate. Get everyone to pitch in and bring an item of food and drink and it’ll allow you to take care of the big stuff. Also make someone other than you the official drink pourer, or set up a drinks station and let everyone help themselves.
Create a craft / activity station for the children
Whilst the adults are talking and catching up, get the kids in the family to do something creative – decorate gingerbread men, make a gingerbread house, or folding Christmas napkins.
Whatever happens, remember it’s Christmas and you deserve to be having fun, too. Also, the great thing about hosting the inaugural Christmas lunch is that you should be able to take next year off as you pass the baton to another family member. So, shake off the sweat, put on your Christmas frock or pants, and enjoy your day.
What are your top tips for hosting Christmas lunch? Tell us in the comments below.