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A Preppers Guide to Keeping it Cool This Christmas by Planning Ahead
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A Preppers Guide to Keeping it Cool This Christmas by Planning Ahead

Christmas is the time to share special moments with your family, to show your friends how much you care and to start periodically ripping your hair out of your scalp because you're so stressed about leaving things until the last minute. Never fear! We have some quick Christmas prep tips to make the day go smoothly and (relatively) drama-free.

Do your (delicious) homework

Ever had to make a study plan before a big exam? Well, Christmas is sort of like that, except with food. So it’s infinitely more fun!

Start by checking online for the lowest prices of foods with a longer shelf life – like dry ingredients for cakes and puddings, soft drinks, biscuits and crackers – and buy them at least three weeks in advance. Just stick them in your pantry until you need them! When planning on what to serve on the day, think about using recipes you’ve used before; or if you’re in the mood for experimenting, test out the recipe beforehand to see if it works.

What can you freeze?

The best preppers know which foods to make on the day and which to make ahead of time and freeze. You might be concerned that freezing foods will make them taste less fresh, but fear not! There are several Christmas staples that you can freeze without sacrificing flavour.

Stuffing: Preparing stuffing separately to your turkey or roast chicken makes it perfect for storage. Just store it in an airtight container and you can keep it in the freezer for up to three months.

Gravy: This is a great idea even when it’s not Christmas – gravy instantly makes any sandwich a thousand times better. Make the gravy and freeze into muffin tins or ice cube trays so you can use the perfect amount for your portion size. You can freeze gravy for up to four months.

Cranberry sauce: What is turkey without that sweet sauce? Freeze for up to three months in an airtight container and defrost in a saucepan over a low heat.

Bread and rolls: Save yourself some prep time by buying your Christmas Day carbs before the big day and keep them in your freezer. Our tip? Warm the rolls up in the oven for a delicious crunch.

Christmas pudding: Want to know something wild? When tightly wrapped, Christmas pudding can be frozen for up to a year. Just make sure to thaw the pudding at room temperature for about 24 hours before steaming it again.

Mince pies: A classic Christmas snack, the traditional mince pie can be stored in your freezer unbaked for about four months. All you have to do on Christmas Eve/Day is pop them in the oven.

Roast potatoes: You can actually store potatoes for a month before roasting them – just par-boil them, freeze and then roast them in the oven on the day.

Homemade fruit juice: Looking to make some mimosas for Christmas brunch? You can freeze juice for up to six months in non-glass containers.

(By the way, if you fancy a cold lunch, you could prepare turkey and ham the day before to save the Christmas Day panic.)

Prepping your booze

Now that you have more than enough food, make sure you actually have the room and resources to keep your food and drinks cool. Remember, having too much ice isn’t nearly as bad as not having enough. Organise your fridge with all the skill of a Tetris champion (consider renting a mini-fridge for a couple of days if you have the funds) and get your friends and family to bring along any coolers they have on hand. And don’t forget the bathtub!

Here are some Christmas Day punch recipes you can prep ahead of time:

Fruit Salad Punch

1kg can fruit salad in natural juice
2 small oranges, thinly sliced
2 small lemons, thinly sliced
850ml can apricot nectar, chilled
3/4 cup white rum
2 x 750ml bottles sparkling apple juice, chilled
Ice cubes

Combine fruit salad with the orange, lemon and apricot nectar and stir in the rum. Refrigerate for at least an hour and then add in sparkling apple juice when serving. Serves 8?

Pimm’s Punch

1 cup (250ml) Pimm's
600ml dry ginger ale
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 orange, sliced
1 lime, sliced
Ice cubes

Combine all ingredients and stir. Serves 4.