Tips for a stress free Christmas

Christmas is a time of coming together, sharing and generosity

But it can also be stressful with the amount of pressure we can put on ourselves at this busy time of year.

The secret to a great Christmas is planning. A little bit of thought can go a long way to making sure you enjoy Christmas too

Follow these easy steps to your best Christmas ever

1 Write A List 

Knowing who’s coming , what’s on the menu, who’s bringing what - will ensure you’ve got everything covered

If you write down where everything is coming from it will save you many unnecessary trips to the shops

Getting your ideas down on paper also frees space in your mind – making you much more relaxed and focused

You can use different lists too – a menu and recipe list will help with your shopping – especially if you have guests with special dietary requirements. Another list which shows the timeline for the day and days ahead is a great way to make sure you won't forget a thing

2 Plan your Menu - Keep it simple

Don’t use high pressure times to be experimenting with new recipes. Create a menu that you’re comfortable with

You can choose your favourite traditional Christmas fare or you can add your own more seasonal, contemporary touches

I recommend having a menu that doesn’t require lots of items being served hot all at once. Include some recipes that can be prepared in advance – that way you can spend your time with your guests and not slaving in a hot kitchen

3 Ice Ice Baby

I don’t think any of us have a big enough fridge to handle the demands of Christmas Day

Knowing what’s on your menu is really going to help

Do you need to store Seafood? A 5kg leg of ham? Turkey, Pavlova, Fruit platters, bubbles, beer, mineral water ?

If you have a big crowd coming, it might be worth hiring a portable coolroom for the day

If it’s just a small gathering - it’s a good idea to have large tubs and lots of ice on hand – at least to keep drinks out of your fridge.

4 Outsource

When you’re planning,  have a think about your strengths, how much you want to do and what you can outsource

That means saying yes when Auntie Jean offers to bring her famous pavlova or if your best friend wants to create a centrepiece for your table

It also means getting to know your local butcher and asking him to bone out your chicken or recommend a good cut of turkey. They may also stock good salt rubs and marinades.

Your fruit & veg shop will help you select the best seasonal produce for your salads, desserts and fruit platters.

It’s very common in Europe to outsource – from cheese & charcuterie boards, to bread and wine to exquisite desserts.

If you can outsource to friends or quality local producers – that means more time for you to decorate the table or chill the Champagne – and enjoy yourself