First Time Hosting Christmas Dinner? Here Are My Top Tips! (to make sure you actually have fun!)

14th Nov 2017 3 min read
Category: Christmas Tips | Housekeeping Tips | Organised Christmas — Tags: christmas, christmas dinner top tips, christmas food, christmas prep, family time, first time hosting christmas dinner, gemma bray, hostess, the organised mum

When I first moved in with Mike I literally was FALLING OVER myself to prove my festive prowess. I was marinating a turkey overnight, I made enough side dishes to feed a small army, bought the entire stock of Threshers …. basically went over the top. Not only did it cost a lot of money but it was totally unnecessary! You should have seen the size of our turkey it was like something from a Victorian feast … and there was only me, Mike, Tom, Guy and Jonny (who were 7, 7 and 5 at the time …so ate basically nothing!)

I wanted Mike to think I was awesome ….

The next year was a much more subtle affair and a lot more practical. So today I want to share with you my top tips for keeping it all in perspective this Christmas (especially if it’s your first time hosting!)

  • Keep your meal plan really simple …. just think of it as a posher Sunday lunch – this will help calm the nerves!
  • Don’t have too many side dishes. Not only will it create extra effort for you but you will be heartbroken when no one eats everything. Far better to choose two veg sides that you know will be popular and concentrate your efforts on those.
  • Don’t feel under pressure to make all your condiments .. buy the cranberry sauce, bread sauce (who even eats this anyway?!) and even the gravy ready made. All you to do is decant them into posh serving dishes and you are are good to go!
  • Make sure your turkey fits in the oven ….. enough said! If there are not that many of you, then maybe consider buying a turkey crown instead.
  • Now I am going to make sure that I say this fast and then RUN and HIDE. Christmas traditionalists COVER YOUR EARS! If you are not a great cook and you are panicking at the thought of hosting, then don’t beat yourself up. Buy ready-made. Open the packets, stick them in the oven and go and have a Sherry! Hey it is your special day too ❤️
  • Try and stay as relaxed as possible. Guests will pick up on your anxiety if your voice is all shrill and your face is all red! Go with the flow as much as possible and it will all be so much more pleasant.
  • If it is timings that are worrying you, then work backwards. Start with the rough time that you want to eat. Work out how long everything will take to cook and what time you will need to start cooking it. Write it all down and stick to the plan. It will take all the stress away.
  • Make sure you have enough oven space for everything you are cooking. Maybe consider some stove top sides to free up oven space .. braised red cabbage is always a popular choice and really easy to make.
  • Make sure you get everything prepped, chopped and good to go before all your guests arrive. You can peel and keep your potatoes and veg in cold water. This will mean that you won’t get stressed chopping and peeling whilst trying to make small talk with Auntie Edna.
  • And above all remember that it is Christmas and it is meant to be FUN!