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Twice the Christmas, half the stress

Twice the Christmas, half the stress

If we’ve learnt anything from movies, it’s that Christmas is a time for miracles. For those who’ve put their hands up to host both Christmas lunch and dinner, a miracle is the only way you’re gonna pull this off. But, in case divine intervention doesn’t do its thing, here are some hacks that will make doubling down a walk in the park (something you might even get time to do).

Flip the bird

The most stressful, time-consuming part of hosting back-to-back feasts would have to be that whole cooking-for-everyone-twice-in-a-day bit. Just the thought would give even the most organised among us an eye-twitch.

 

With Christmas dinner typically featuring heavy roasts, fiddly trimmings and rich puddings, why not flip tradition on its head and serve all the time-consuming, oven-y stuff at lunch instead?

 

This idea rules because your post-lunch kitchen work is almost nil and you can even squeeze in a cheeky kip between dishwasher loads.

 

Repeat the meat

When you think of repurposing, you probably think of those wooden crates used as seating at your local overpriced brekky joint. You’re probably not thinking about chicken. But you will be when lunch is over and there’s a tonne of it left.

 

What are you going to do with all that chook? And turkey? And those tiger prawns? You’re gonna repurpose them. Yep, they all just got an invite to dinner. Albeit in different outfits.

 

Fitting neatly into our earlier suggestion to go hard on the hot stuff at lunch, using leftovers for dinner keeps you out of the kitchen for most of the afternoon, if you’re happy to serve a more relaxed dinner spread. Set out a buffet of dishes for people to help themselves to.  

 

Also, considering most people get too carried away at lunch, a less formal dinner takes the pressure off your guests to gorge out of politeness. Their pant seams will thank you.

 

Before the day, pick out some tasty, throw-together recipes that work with the major players from lunch or just serve them all cold with salads.

 

Make a mockery of crockery

Okay, so this one may not be for the traditionalists, but if you don’t have a dishwasher (or can’t be bothered dealing with dishes), then consider paper plates. While it may not be fancy, it’ll buy you precious time. You want that afternoon snooze, don’t ya?

 

If you MUST break out the good china, bribe your nieces and nephews into washing up with the promise of a seat at the grown-ups table. Or extra pudding. Or the crisp tenner Great Gran slipped into your Chrissy card (even though you’re 35).

 

Make a door list

Another way to keep stress levels to a minimum is to keep your guest list to a manageable number. For some that will be six, for some that’s twenty. Don’t bite off more than you can chew (and we’re not talking about the roast lamb). Advise your attendees in advance if it’s an invite only affair so no one turns up with the guy they met on Tinder last week.

 

Deliver the goods

A Herculean effort goes into taking on a double Christmas, but a few smart shortcuts can take some of the pressure off. Avoid the manic frenzy that is pre-Christmas grocery shopping and do it all from the comfort of your living room. Coles even delivers right to your front door, so what sounds more appealing – supermarket parking rage, or parking your bum on the couch? We thought so.

 

Time – the perfect gift

Your lovely guests are going to bring you lovely Christmas gifts… that you’ll be eBaying the following week. Seriously, who needs a hotdog maker slash foot massager?

 

In lieu of gifts, ask them instead to give you a helping hand. Get them to bring their signature dessert, or their knack for crafty table decoration, the gift of their time helping to clean up, or to lend you their folding chairs or wine glasses for the day. We’re not saying gift vouchers aren’t great, they just can’t pass around nibbles or make mojitos.

 

Armed with these great hints, even a novice can prepare to knock double Christmas out of the park.