If you’re in charge of making Christmas dinner, then it can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed on the day itself. Take some of the pressure off by getting ahead and ticking a few things off your list on Christmas Eve. Here are our top picks of things you can do in advance to get one step ahead with your Christmas dinner.
- Make a List, Check It Twice (or three times…)
With multiple courses, varying dietary requirements and more guests than you’re used to – even the clearest of minds will struggle to juggle every aspect of a Christmas dinner. Get yourself organised by making a list on Christmas Eve of all the different elements of your meal – so that nothing will be forgotten or overlooked.
- Brine Your Turkey
Brining is a great way to keep meat moist, and is especially useful for leaner and drier meats such as turkey. If you have space in your fridge you can fully submerge your turkey in salted water (brine) overnight, or if you have limited space then you can rub salt into the skin for a dry brine instead – this way also makes for a really crispy skin when cooking. Whether you choose a wet or dry brine for your turkey, either way will draw moisture into the meat and tenderise the proteins for a juicy and succulent bird.
- Prep Your Veg
You can peel, chop and parboil your vegetables and potatoes before arranging onto baking sheets the evening before roasting. Then all that’s left to do on Christmas Day is drizzle with olive oil, season and roast them in the oven. Prepping veg for a lot of guests is so time consuming, so doing this on Christmas Eve will really free up your time on Christmas morning.
- Make and Freeze Your Extras in Advance
Stuffing, chipolatas, gravy and – controversially included or not! - Yorkshire puddings can all be made in advance and frozen. That means you can do this on Christmas Eve or even before then. Then simply cook them all from frozen in the oven and defrost your gravy before warming through on the hob.
- Prepare your Kitchen
Go back to your trusty list and get out all the equipment you’ll need to make your Christmas Dinner. Organise your baking sheets, trays, pots and pans so that you’re ready to dive right in and focus on cooking. If you’re feeling super organised and motivated, you can even get out and arrange any ingredients which don’t need to be kept in the fridge or freezer overnight.
- Organise the Fridge Freezer
There’s nothing more stressful than taking everything out of the fridge to find one ingredient, then putting it all back in again only to repeat it all for the next step in your cooking. Do your dinner like a boss and organise your fridge so that everything you’ll use first is at the front, with ingredients you’ll use later at the back.
- Set the Table
Set your table with crockery, glassware, decorations and name labels on Christmas Eve. You can cover this all in another tablecloth to keep it clean and then uncover before your guests arrive to get another step ahead – just like a professional restaurant!
- Empty the Bins!
Okay, hear us out! If you’re cooking for a crowd on Christmas Day then you’ll thank yourself for emptying the bins the night before, so that they’re ready for you when you’re gliding through the cooking and tossing everything in the bin. Just make sure that the kids don’t fill them back up with wrapping paper on Christmas morning!
- Dress Rehearsal
Walk yourself through every element of your menu and make sure you have all the ingredients. After all, you can always nip to the shop for anything you don’t have – to avoid having to do so on Christmas Day. If there’s anything you’ve missed then have a quick search for suitable alternatives online – you wouldn’t be the first person to forget an ingredient and seek out a replacement.
- Enjoy a Nice Glass of Wine
Last but certainly not least, be sure to leave some time to enjoy a nice glass of wine or your favourite tipple of Christmas Eve. After all, it should be a day for family and enjoyment as well as manic preparation. Just be sure to not overdo it, because one of the best decisions you can make in preparation for the big day is to avoid a Christmas Day hangover!