With so much time, money and effort put into the big day, taking a few minutes to run through some last minute prep is only sensible. Here you’ll find my top tips for helping Christmas Day run as smoothly as possible. We’re not aiming for perfection here just a fun family day where everybody gets a chance to enjoy the festivities.
1) Plan the day:
We all love a good list. On pretty paper, a notebook or on your phone, either way adding a little extra detail can really help you feel prepared. We decide when we’d ideally like to eat and work backwards jotting down when the turkey has got to go in and what time different veg should be on. Ordinarily, writing this down would seem silly but with so much going on, it’s easy to get distracted. Also if you’re hosting, it’s a good idea to let guests know the plan too. You’d be surprised how radically different Christmas Day can look at someone else’s house.
2) Charge your camera:
Everyone wants to snap a few memories of Christmas morning. Shots of little ones starry eyed and excitedly ripping into gifts will be treasured in years to come. Phone photos are fab but if you have a better camera, what better time to get it out. Just remember to charge the battery and check you have enough memory.
3) Pick your outfits:
We like to buy new pyjamas for Christmas Eve. So far I’ve resisted the temptation to get full on matching ones but Mummy and Daddy get new pjs too. Brand new bed wear makes for great photos on Christmas morning. I also pick out clothes for us all and lay these out. I don’t want to missing out on the fun because I can’t decide what to wear. Being able to grab the girls clothes saves time too.
4) Release the toys:
Before we wrap our girls’ gifts, we remove all the plastic, cardboard, labels, stickers etc and just wrap the actual gift. No child want to sit and wait while you wrestle their dream toy from it plastic prison. If batteries are needed, we also add them before wrapping. Checking you have a screwdriver and a stash of various batteries is also helpful. As gifts are opened, we collect any other rubbish and where possible sort into paper/card, plastic and general waste. You can also get fun festive rubbish bags.
5) Prep vegetables:
Ideally, you’ll have as much of the veg prepped the night before so when it needs to go it, it’ll take just seconds. Another way to save time is to buy veg that doesn’t need any prep such as chantenay carrots. Peeled potatoes can be stored in water to stop them browning overnight.
6) Share the load:
Don’t turn away help. If someone asks if they can help, have a few jobs up your sleeve that they can do. Most guests will want to feel they’ve contributed. If they don’t offer then ask. There is no reason just one person should be stuck in the kitchen. If you don’t want to give up control of the meal, why not ask guests to bring dessert or something for an evening buffet.
7) Give everyone their own spot:
On Christmas morning, everyone chooses a spot where their presents will go. This is something I did as a child and I remember liking having all my things in one place. By allocating areas for different people, you are less like to mix up gifts and avoid arguments. Keeping everything together also helps when you want to clear a space for playing a game or just so you can see the carpet again.
8) Be prepared to change the plan:
With tiny ones, the excitement and change of routine can be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to switch things up if you can see you littlies heading for a meltdown. Why not wrap up for a quick walk outside or even just pop upstairs for 10 minutes quiet time and maybe a Christmas story?
9) Break up the long meal:
Even for adult, the Christmas feast can drag on so be mindful of how long you can expect you littlest ones to sit happily. If there are multiple courses, consider letting them get down from the table for just a few minutes between each. Alternatively, you could opt for Christmas crackers that include a family game.
10) Bring everyone together:
As the day winds down, I think it’s important to make sure everyone has some down time to play with their new toys. However it’s also nice to then bring everyone back together for a film or game. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions for either as this is always something tricky to find that will suit everyone. Either way, I’ve found entertainment that’s light hearted and easy to understand works best.
What tips do you have for Christmas Day?
Do you play a family game? ‘Who am I?’ is always a favourite here.