Karen Wright: Tips for a stress-free Christmas dinner

Glad tidings I bring to you and your kin! It is almost Christmas time once again and in our house most of the preparation is already done.All the baking and cooking that can be done in advance and frozen has been done.

"From my house to your house, Merry Christmas everyone."
"From my house to your house, Merry Christmas everyone."

All the store cupboard shopping is done and away in my designated Christmas

cupboard. I have pickled onions, red cabbage and beetroot and made a couple of jars of chutney for

good measure. I have dug out my table linen and put my best glassware through a dishwash cycle,

the tree is up, and my presents are wrapped, now have a forgotten anything?

Lists! For busy events I always have a list or two on the go. It is so helpful to be able to make a list, I

find it does focus my attention. So, I may have a Christmas food shopping list and a thing’s to do list.

The shopping list enables me to decide exactly what is on our Christmas dinner menu and not go off

like hells bells buying all manner of things that I don’t really need. It is very pleasing when you can

cross off the things and start seeing that you are almost ready for the big day.

This year I have had lots of people asking for my tips for a stress-free Christmas dinner. It is a strange

phenomenon that such a joyous time is now considered to be stressful. My biggest tip therefore is to

try to relax. None of us need to feel that our food and table should look like something out of a

glossy magazine. If you don’t want to cook from scratch, just don’t. There are tons of excellent things

in the shops you can buy, and you just heat up and serve. Really it is not about the food it is about

the people around you, and of course thoughts must go to those who are not able to be with loved

ones for whatever the reason. After that, my tips are to do hat you can the day before Christmas. I

lay the table, prepare my vegetables, cook any that are suitable and reheat before serving. This year

I will be heating my pudding up in the slow cooker, so that can do its own thing in a corner

somewhere, so that is a good tip. I do a starter, but it is one that can be made earlier in the day and

kept in the fridge, its prawn cocktail by the way, very retro! Speaking of retro, if you like a sherry

while you prep, just have one and enjoy yourself.

From my house to your house, Merry Christmas everyone.