Coping with Christmas Day

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In theory, Christmas Day should be a blissfully happy day, surrounded by loved ones with everyone having a glorious time together. In reality, it can be a very stressful day. In addition to juggling the demands of your partner and little one, you may find the demands of cooking or visiting family and friends quite overwhelming. 

Remember, now that you have a little one in the house, you need to let go of the pursuit of artistic perfection with your Christmas decorations. On Christmas Day, don’t fret if the tinsel isn’t co-ordinated perfectly with the table centrepiece. Instead, your focus will probably be on watching your baby’s face light up as they play with their new Christmas presents. 

The other suggestion is to ensure that you leave Boxing Day as activity free as possible. This is important for you and for your little one. They will often have been caught up in the excitement and stress of the lead up to Christmas just as you are. So relax, and treat yourself to a really chilled out day. You can enjoy eating some of the Christmas leftovers and spending some time just with the immediate family. It will also give you something to look forward to in the lead up to Christmas Day itself. 

So how do you make this day an enjoyable one, not only for those around you, but for you as well? The key is to do some forward planning. Being organised, making lists and sticking to a schedule means you’ll truly be able to celebrate this special day with your loved ones. 

Christmas Day planning guide

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One year ahead

  • It might seem crazy but you can use the post-Christmas sales as a valuable chance to buy up heavily discounted Christmas decorations and wrapping paper. Then store them away for the following year. 

3-6 months ahead

  • Start planning a budget, guest list and a menu.
  • You can make your Christmas cake during this time. This needs to be wrapped in greaseproof paper, popped in some Gladwrap and stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
  • A good rule of thumb is to make your Christmas cake 3 months before and puddings usually 6 weeks ahead of time. 

One month ahead

  • Organise your drinks of the soft and alcoholic variety now.
  • Order your ham or turkey (if you are going that route). A good rule of thumb is that a 7 kg ham serves about 20 people and a 4.5 kg turkey serves 6-8 people.
  • Start thinking about what table decorations you will use and what your centrepiece will be. 

One week ahead

  • Have your knives professionally sharpened and make sure you have 2 chopping boards at your disposal.
  • Buy all your dry ingredients. Order your food online, if possible, so you can avoid the Christmas crowds.
  • Ice your Christmas cake.
  • Make your Christmas cookies in preparation for any guests that pop in during the lead up to the big day.
  • Make sure you have bought extra rubbish bags, and stocked up on extra tea and coffee bags.
  • Wrap and have a couple of spare generic Christmas gifts for any unexpected visitor who arrives bearing gifts.
  • Choose what music you want played during the day and make sure you set up the playlists. 

Two days ahead

  • Prepare all the elements of the menu that can be refrigerated.
  • Top up salt and pepper shakers.
  • Make sure you have a full sugar bowl for your guests.
  • Wrap all your Christmas presents.
  • Defrost anything that needs thorough defrosting. 

One day ahead

  • Buy any last-minute fresh produce you require.
  • Set your table and check that you have all the crockery and glassware you need.
  • Cover your table setting with a light dust cloth.
  • Make sure your drinks are placed in the fridge to chill overnight.
  • Calculate the cooking times for all your dishes so that you can co-ordinate your menu. 

Christmas Day

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  • Make sure you pre-heat the oven from early on in the day.
  • Pop your vegetables in to roast.
  • Pop your ham in the oven to cook.
  • Chill the drinks, if needed, pop your music on and pour yourself a drink.
  • Enjoy the day, you deserve it! 

It’s important to remember that yes, you’ll probably still find yourself busily helping set the table, or removing wrapping paper from your little one’s mouth, but somehow that’s all forgotten at the end of Christmas Day. It’s part of the magic.

 
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