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The festive season is the perfect time to relax and indulge, but it can also be quite stressful, especially if you’re preparing Christmas dinner. Between assembling all the different ingredients and entertaining your guests, things can get very messy very quickly, which can definitely dull the festive spirit! And here at Plenty, we know this better than anyone – in fact, we’ve dubbed our latest social campaign ‘Xmess’!
Whether you’ve got loads of people coming round or you’re prepping for a smaller celebration, getting Christmas dinner ready in advance can save you lots of time. Ensuring you’re well equipped with will make handling any mess much less stressful and will also make cleaning up afterwards a doddle.
Preparing Christmas dinner in advance will give you a chance to focus on some of the fun stuff too, like eating your own body weight in mince pies and nodding off in your armchair after the King’s speech. Here’s how to prepare for Christmas dinner ahead of time, from cooking turkey on Christmas Eve to tips on getting the table ready.
Christmas Eve food prep hacks to get ahead of the game
Being properly prepared to host Christmas dinner is really important and will ensure your guests, as well as you, have an amazing day. The more you can pre-prepare Christmas dinner before the day itself, the more time you’ll have to enjoy opening presents, gobbling up chocolates and sipping Buck’s Fizz.
Making sure you have everything you need to handle the thrills, spills and general Xmess of the day’s festivities will also help things to go much more smoothly.
1. Pre-prepare your Christmas vegetables
The main ‘gobbly’ event, your juicy turkey, undoubtedly gets the most attention, but vegetables can take up a lot of time too – and are often the make or break of a successful Christmas feast. However, you can peel the carrots and parsnips, chop the potatoes and even criss-cross the Brussels sprouts the day before. Peelings always end up in all sorts of places so getting ahead on veggies means one less mess to deal with on the day! We recommend keeping some of our kitchen towel on hand too, just in case any juices or peelings run amok!
Once you’re happy with your slicing and dicing, you can pop all of the prepped veg in the fridge. Keep them fresh by wrapping veg in dampened kitchen towels overnight. Plenty kitchen towels are perfect for this as they are able to absorb water and still stay strong, so you don’t end up with any tissue in your Christmas veg! If you really want to speed things up, you could even blanch or part-cook your veg, ready to be finished off in the morning.
Keep Plenty kitchen towels on hand for Christmas Eve food prep. They’re super-absorbent and strong, ideal for wiping up spills and keeping produce fresh when you’re pre preparing Christmas vegetables.
2. Cook the turkey on Christmas Eve
No, we’re not suggesting you frazzle it for 24 hours straight! But you can certainly stuff and prep the turkey, getting the process well underway before Christmas Day and buying yourself some more time to open presents and scoff stocking filler chocolates on Christmas morning.
A couple of days beforehand, dry-brine the meat (smother it in salt). That’ll help you get really juicy cuts when you come to serve. Stuff and cook the turkey on Christmas Eve and then let it rest for around half an hour. Once cool, pop it in the fridge – just remember to start early enough so the meat has time to cool completely beforehand. And do save some of those tasty turkey juices to use in a stock to crisp up that bird when reheating before it’s served!
All that you’ll have to do the next day is reheat the meat thoroughly. The best trick for keeping it moist is to cook it in the oven (pre-carved) with a generous amount of stock in the bottom of the tray and a few spoons of butter over the bird. Cover in foil and cook to a safe temperature to eat (75°C).
3. Prep your dessert
Of course, the easiest option is to get a pre-made dessert and then just whip it out when you’re ready. But if you’re going to make your own Christmas pudding or other dessert, it’s a good idea to make it the day or two before – or even earlier, at least in its raw state, so that all you have to do is cook it on the day. Again, preparation is what takes the most time, and you’ll be really glad you didn’t leave everything to the last minute.
4. Clean the 'good' plates, glassware and cutlery
Get the rest of the household involved in making them spick and span. And then keep the clean goodies tucked away from wandering, snacking hands until dinner’s ready. Should some wayward Christmas elves find their way into your clean plates and cutlery (or use them for Christmas snacking), don’t fret! You can use a Plenty Towel to wipe them clean and make them ready for serving. Our products are super strong, absorbent, and convenient, but they won’t be strong enough to wipe those elves’ names off the naughty list!
How to prepare for Christmas dinner – the table
When you’ve made a success of preparing Christmas dinner in advance, the last thing you want is an underwhelming table setting – whether it’s not having enough chairs for all of your guests, forgetting Christmas crackers or misplacing the gravy boat! Put these tips in place to pre-prepare Christmas dinner table settings:
1. Check what you need.
Do you need someone to bring an extra chair or even a foldout table? They’ll love being able to help… and having somewhere to eat their Christmas dinner.
2. Arrange your table decorations.
Check that they all fit: is there room for those salt dough Christmas decorations? It’s the homemade touches that warm the heart the most (even if they only bear a passing resemblance to Santa or Rudolph!).
3. Lay out napkins.
One of the best ways to avoid Xmess is to place out napkins in advance or have some ready to use. Plenty Towels come in perfect for this and will be able to handle anything you can throw at them, from Eggnog to mulled wine and even gravy!
4. Do one last check on Christmas Eve.
Go through everything you’ve done to get ready, tick the jobs off and then relax, ready to enjoy (rather than endure) the big day. The extra minutes you put in beforehand are going to save you a ton of time and worry.
Sustainable tip: Reduce food waste and choose local ingredients
While preparing your Christmas dinner ahead of time, there are several ways you can embrace sustainability and minimise your environmental impact. One key aspect is reducing food waste and opting for locally sourced ingredients.
Choose sustainable proteins. If you include meat in your Christmas dinner, consider selecting sustainably raised options, such as organic or free-range poultry or grass-fed beef. These choices prioritise animal welfare and reduce the environmental impact associated with conventional farming practices.
Embrace plant-based options. Including more plant-based dishes into your Christmas dinner can reduce your ecological footprint. Explore delicious and hearty vegetarian or vegan recipes that showcase seasonal veggies, legumes and grains. Not only are these options more sustainable, but they can also bring a refreshing twist to traditional Christmas dinners.
Compost your leftovers. Another sustainable tip is to compost any vegetable scraps leftover from making your Christmas dinner. Instead of throwing them away, create a compost pile or use a composting system to turn them into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. This way, you can reduce waste and contribute to the natural cycle of life. Read our guide and become a master of composting!
And that’s how to prepare Christmas dinner in advance! Make a list of what you need to do, figure out your timings and get everything done early, with the help of your loved ones. Then you can look forward to a lovely day together. For tips on dealing with the aftermath, or getting your home ready to host, check out our Christmas cleaning checklist!Leave a review here
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