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Advice needed by first time Xmas hostess

(14 Posts)
Flyonthewindscreen Mon 19-Oct-09 11:53:01

After 11 years of xmas at my ILs, we have finally managed to persuade them to come to us see this thread.

But now realise that I am nearly 40 and have never "done xmas" and don't know where to start re planning/organising. Has anyone got any top tips? Any xmas cookery books that anyone has found helpful?

Any advice gratefully received!

Hassled Mon 19-Oct-09 11:59:49

Get your turkey order in early. If you want organic/free range, start saving now - they are more expensive than you woudl have thought possible. And there is always someone who doesn't like Christmas pudding so plan an alternative from the off. Otherwise, ignore likes and dislikes - no one will starve and you'll go insane pandering to everyone.

The Nigella Christmas book is a good one.

If you've done a roast for lunch already in your life, you'll be fine. It's just a bigger, slightly scarier version.

notamumyetbutoneday Mon 19-Oct-09 14:27:39

Maybe do a 'dress rhearsal' lunch a few weeks before for other friends/family to reassure yourself re:timings, etc?

girlywhirly Mon 19-Oct-09 17:35:59

I would say, don't do everything that MIL would have done, that way she can't compare unfavourably. Yes, Christmas dinner a just a big roast. Sorry to de-mystify it, but that really is it! Agree with Hassled, plan the menu you want, you probably know what they all like from previous Christmasses.

If organizing all the menu timings to be ready at the same time panics you, write a cookery plan, starting with the time you want to serve and work out all the timings backwards, then you will know when individual items will need starting off. So for example, if you serve at 1pm, and your turkey needs 2hrs 30mins, count backwards 15mins resting, then the cooking time which makes 2hrs 45mins from serving. So turkey should go in the oven at 10.15am. If you do this for all the items you can refer to your plan when you feel unsure, as you are likely to be interrupted/distracted by people chatting to you etc. Then you know when the gaps are between doing things, and can oversee table setting, get DH to organise wine and drinks, and play with the DCs a bit.

Oh, and Christmas puds in microwaveable containers are brill, no steaming on the hob for 2hrs!

paisleyleaf Mon 19-Oct-09 17:48:11

Write yourself a timetable to follow
a bit like this

CornishKK Mon 19-Oct-09 17:49:06

Bloody hell KamR, never thought that would happen.

My main secret is to get everyone so pissed they don't notice I've burnt the parsnips. grin

Good luck!

Flyonthewindscreen Mon 19-Oct-09 20:05:55

Thanks for all advice, definately will have dress rehearsal/write timetable/supply lavish alcohol... smile

FritesMenthe Mon 19-Oct-09 20:10:19

Make your own traditions. No need to do it how it is 'expected'.

This is how I do it:
Decide what time you want to eat.
Have drinks & nibbles rather than a sit-down starter. That way you can serve the main course when it's ready rather than trying to keep it warm.
Supermarket turkey is just fine (I usually get a frozen Tesco Finest Bronze and never get any complaints). Roast it, then take it out of the oven to 'rest' while you raost the spuds/stuffing etc.
Keep it simple with the veg. Roast potatoes in goose fat is a nice no-effort touch.
Make a decent gravy, buy M&S stuffing.
Make a xmas pudding now, buy posh custard/sauce. Make one other dessert.
Fresh coffee & some nice chocs.

Buy the xmas Good Housekeeping magazine, which will have a countdown and recipes.

FritesMenthe Mon 19-Oct-09 20:12:06

Oh, and treat yourself to a lovely pinny, to swan around in whilst hiding the M&S packaging.
And don't drink too much before lunch, as you will burn yourself on the oven trays.

GooberIsLockedInTheBootOfMyCar Mon 19-Oct-09 20:16:00

Frey Bentos pie, tin of new potatoes and a can of peas.
Arctic roll for afters.

Bobs ya uncle!

VulpusinaWilfsuit Mon 19-Oct-09 20:16:31

One rule: offer a local B&B or housesit instead of having them all staying over grin

No. Really.

sdr Mon 19-Oct-09 20:37:29

About CornishKK's idea - get them pissed. Have used that cunning plan and it works. Had all the extended family one year with a couple who like to create trouble (just cause they can). So made a really yummy cocktail, lots of fruit juice, a bit of alcohol and after a couple everyone started to chill out.

Also Jamie Oliver has a Xmas DVD (a few years old but still good) with a countdown to Xmas. Lots to do the in the days before and practical stuff for the day.

dreamingofsun Mon 19-Oct-09 22:20:01

if you wrap turkey in double layer of foil, after smearing with lots of marg and make sure there's no gaps in foil it steams itself. this makes it moist, but more importantly you don't have to do anything to it till i think 30 mins before end when you take foil off and baste. think temp has to be up high for first bit and then after about 45 mins you drop the temp to 180. don't overestimate food, or at least buy stuff in packets which will keep and reduce your work. onion up the turkey's privates gives flavour. large glass of wine for cook is essential. agree with timetable and pinny suggestions. don't drink loads on christmas eve - doing lunch with hangover is the worst

Jux Mon 19-Oct-09 22:29:14

Things might take longer to cook as gas pressure is likely to be down with everyone cooking their Xmas lunch. (2 years ago I put the pork in at 8am and it wasn't cooked until 6pm! Main problem was that the veg was ready at 2.30 - as was the outside of the pork!)

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