Enjoying a festive feast is an important part of Christmas Day, but no-one wants to be stuck in the kitchen all day while everyone else is having fun. Here’s how to plan ahead to make sure there’s plenty of time in the day for everything you want to do.
The key to ensuring Christmas Day runs smoothly is to do as much advance preparation as possible during the days beforehand. In particular, chopping the vegetables and making the stuffing on Christmas Eve can help save precious time the following day. Some tasks can be done even further in advance too, such as making the cranberry sauce and Christmas desserts. Other non-foodie tasks can be done on Christmas Eve as well, such as laying the table for Christmas lunch and getting the drinks table ready.
With some tasks already completed the day before, Christmas Day should run like clockwork. Here are the ideal timings to create a day filled with everything you could want:
Stuff the turkey and double-check the weight so you can calculate the ideal cooking time. Pre-heat the oven.
Put the turkey in the oven and set the timer to check on the meat in an hour. Tuck into some coffee and pastries with the family for breakfast – add in some Buck’s Fizz if you’re feeling particularly festive. Exchange your cards and a few gifts.
Check on the turkey and add more liquid to the roasting tin if needed. Grab whichever family members are interested in a brisk Christmas Day walk and head outdoors for some fresh air.
Check on the turkey again and add more liquid if needed. Do any final bits of preparation you didn’t get round to yet.
Take the foil off the turkey and cook it for another half an hour until the skin is perfectly crisp.
A turkey big enough to serve 8 to 10 people (approx.. 4.5kg) will be cooked through around about now, so remove it from the oven and let it rest. Put the potatoes in the oven to roast. Start making the gravy.
Cook the remaining vegetables and carve the turkey.
Christmas lunch is served! If you’re steaming a Christmas pudding, put it on to cook just before you serve up – it’ll be ready in about three hours.
When the Christmas meal is all said and done, it’s time to enjoy some more family time. Leave the washing up until later and spend the next couple of hours exchanging more gifts and relaxing together after the big feast.
Families tend to need a good gap in between Christmas lunch and pudding, so this should be around the right time to serve up some sweet treats. Use the sugar high to enlist some help clearing up in the kitchen afterwards!
Appetites should be well and truly sated by now, so it’s time to move on and enjoy some family fun and games. Play Christmas charades, a game of cards or a board game the whole family will enjoy.
This is around the time when the weird Christmas phenomena of hunger pangs start to emerge, despite the abundance of food eaten earlier in the day. Bring out some cold turkey, ham, salads and a cheese board and let the family indulge even more. Then it’s time to slouch together in front of a film, rounding off a perfect Christmas Day.