‘Tis The Season for Stress Free Christmas Meal Prep

ChristmasAh…It’s that time of the year when the air is filled with joy and excitement! Many of us certainly don’t want to spoil the excitement with the stress of making complicated Christmas dishes. Sometimes, we try too hard to make things perfect but end up putting immense pressure on ourselves by making complicated dishes that end up ruining the moment. You can still impress your guests with simple delights and take the stress out of Christmas while savoring the moments with friends and family. Forget the long hours in the kitchen with complicated recipes; try quick and easy menus that suit the occasion. Make this holiday your best and create fabulous meals without breaking the bank!

You’re probably already used to different ways of making popular Christmas dishes like Roast Turkey, Chicken, Honey Glazed Ham, Mashed Potatoes and Pudding. We’re not suggesting you reinvent the wheel here, far from it, the ways you’re used to will still allow you to achieve your goals for a fabulous Christmas meal. However, there’s no rule that says you have to have everything all prepared at the same time on Christmas day. So what’s the secret to stress free Christmas meal prep? There really is no secret, you just have to cook smart and take advantage of local food deals in your region. Let’s explore some of these in more detail.

Take advantage of local food deals 

In Waterloo Region, there are lots of amazing local food deals you can take advantage of this festive season. Even though our pre-Christmas special has ended, you can still stop by our farm store all through December to take advantage of our festive Christmas Turkey deals. Don’t leave it too late to get that perfect fresh Turkey, as quantities may not last until then!

Similar to our Thanksgiving post, Christmas meal prep is another good time to shop for local ingredients. It’s really as simple as going to your local farmers’ market and picking up a locally-raised Turkey, Chicken, vegetables and ingredients. Don’t fill your table with chemically filled foods, give local a try this Christmas and open your table to healthy and tasty meals.

Prep meals in advance

Christmas meal prep can never start too early. We all know that Christmas time can be a very hectic time with all the shopping and food prep considerations that go on. A great way to avoid this is to be prepared ahead of time. You can actually start to put the all the pieces together (even some of the actual cooking) a few weeks before Christmas day. Planning within this time scale, will also allow you to prepare contingency plans should your original plan fail to pan out. You can also make dishes that can stay frozen and be brought out to thaw a day before Christmas – some examples of dishes and sauces that can be prepared and stored a couple of days before include, Cranberry sauce, gravy stock and stuffing. Another vital part of the preparation process is to have lists, having a list of tasks will prevent panic and keep you focused.

Get family and friends involved

On the surface, this may seem like an obvious thing to do but you’d be surprised that people don’t immediately see this as a way to take the stress off of Christmas cooking. Find ways to involve your family and friends in the meal preparation process. For each dish you prepare this Christmas, have each family member or friends inspire one dish that will be served on the day. One person could make the Turkey or Chicken in their own style, someone else could make the vegetables and the rest can pitch in to make the desserts. Getting friends and family involved is also a great way to socialize and catch up on lost times. You’ll find that you connect better with each other when you break down tasks in stress free chunks and have each other contribute to the preparation of a fabulous meal.

Do a quick setup and run through

If you can, on Christmas morning, get out of bed before everyone else so that you can defrost your sauces, preheat your Turkey, and go over your menus. This will ensure that you know exactly how everything is going to come together without worrying about them last minute. At this point, you can get loved ones involved (see previous tip) to round off the preparations. Christmas is a truly special time of year, treat your friends and family to a memorable time together with quick, stress free meals that don’t leave you feeling burdened. Remember, it only comes round once a year!

Focus on the important aspects

Christmas is a time to share memorable moments with your loved ones. Although food is a great addition, don’t forget that it’s the time we actually get to spend with friends and family that matters most! If you notice that your meal preparation time is taking away from your time with loved ones, make a switch. Drop the time consuming tasks in favor of a no fuss, low-stress recipe that will still provide variety and capture the festive occasion.

In recent times, Christmas has slowly become a big source of stress and worry because of the logistics involved in making the day truly memorable for ourselves and loved ones. Instead, we should use Christmas as an invitation to de-stress, share stories and create memories. No doubt, preparing a fabulous meal is important, but is it really necessary to panic? You shouldn’t have to bow to the pressure of having the “perfect” dish. In addition, never lose sight of what the most important aspects of the season and remember that we can’t buy the time we spend together with loved ones as well as the memories we create while doing so. In the famous words of cooking author Peg Bracken, “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”

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