Deck the halls with boughs of holly, tis the season to be jolly!
But this festive season, make sure your stress levels are low and you’re well organised with some helpfully handy Christmas hacks. From nailing your food prep to achieving present wrapping perfection, follow our twelve hacks of Christmas for smooth sailing come the big day.
1. Get that letter from Santa
For the younger generations, the magic of Christmas all stems from one man himself – good old Saint Nicholas. So, for an extra special touch, get your kids to send a letter to Santa that actually comes with a reply! Royal Mail is sending replies to everyone who posts a letter to its Santa address (Santa / Father Christmas Santa’s Grotto Reindeerland XM4 5HQ) – it’s a fun and thoughtful touch, and a great Christmas hack to add to the extra sparkle to the festivities.
2. Cooking the turkey to perfection
Isn’t it weird that we really only have turkey once a year?! Whether it’s due to lack of knowledge, or just lack of practise, getting a perfectly cooked turkey seems to be the hardest task of the Christmas celebrations. Here are a few hacks to help you along the way, from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver:
- Get your turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it
- Cover the turkey loosely with foil, but remove it just under an hour before the timing is up to get the turkey nicely browned
- In terms of timings, stick closely to these to the perfect roast:
- 4-5kg – cook 2¼ to 2½ hours
- 5-6kg – cook 2½ to 3 hours
- 6-7kg – cook 3 hours to 3½ hours
- 7-8kg – cook 3½ to 4 hours
- 8-9kg – cook 4 to 4¼ hours
- 9-10kg – cook 4¼ to 4½ hours
3. Make the most of your freezer
Come the big day, kitchens up and down the country will be in state of frenzied pandemonium thanks to the sheer amount of cooking that’s needed for the traditional Christmas dinner. But, there is a simple way to help you get ahead of the game.
Cook all of your root veg (i.e. carrots, parsnips, potatoes) and stuffing a day or two beforehand and stick them in your freezer then defrost and warm up to take the stress away from dealing with them come Xmas Day. If you’re having red cabbage, it’s best to cook and let it rest for a few days anyway to unleash the flavours!
4. Perfectly fold your napkins
Getting your table looking perfect come December 25 is massively important – and one feature that’s sure to grab everyone’s attention is some skilfully-folded napkins. You don’t have to be an origami expert to achieve Instagram-worthy napkins though. We love this how-to guide from Handimania on folding your napkins into little festive trees.#
5. Serving up dinner on a warm plate – without an oven
There’s going to be a lot going in and out of your oven across Christmas Day, so finding a little space to pop your plates in might be a tad difficult. Instead, use your dishwasher to warm them up instead. Stick your plates in and put the machine on a quick wash – the boiling water will ensure they are spotless and heated, perfect for serving up your meal on.
6. Sign up for free next day delivery
Buying presents is a huge part of Christmas, but you’re always guaranteed to forget something – or more worryingly, someone! The likes of Amazon offer 30-day free trials of its next day delivery service, so if you need to quickly get your Grandma Jean a new pair of slippers, or you forgot about your Uncle Kevin and his love of model train sets, you can quickly get something ordered and it’ll be with you within 24 hours. Very much a lifesaver.
7. Use a glue gun for your outdoor lights…
We’ve all been there – trying to get our festive lights to look glamorous on the outside of our house, but just can’t get them to stay in the right place and they end up looking like a cluttered mess. A simple and effective way of getting your lights to stay exactly where you want them is to use a glue gun to stick them in place. This will provide some adhesive strength to keep your lights shining in place throughout all of Christmas.
8. …and use cable ties for indoor ones
Secure and flexible, using cable ties to secure your indoor lights in place is a top Christmas hack. Whether it’s on the bannister or around the mantel piece, you can have peace of mind that your lights will stay in place during the celebrations and give your home décor that added festive touch.
9. On-point prezzie wrapping!
The bane of Christmas – knowing how to wrap presents up correctly! But never fear – this guide from But First Coffee offers the ultimate Christmas hacks for wrapping all your presents up.
10. Vintage wrapping to save on costs
Everyone loves a good Christmas hack that’ll save them a few quid. Rather than using fancy Xmas wrapping paper (which often comes with an inflated price tag), opt for a simple, cost efficient brown paper wrap and string bow to bring a vintage appeal to your gifts.
11. Store them lights correctly!
It isn’t quite Christmas without the arduous task of having to unravel your Christmas lights from the messy ball they’ve somehow got themselves into over the last 12 months. Let’s face it, taking the decorations down is far less fun than putting them up, but being organised with it will help you for the next yuletide celebrations. Here’s a great Christmas hack for storing for lights efficiently and effectively
12. Make the most of your Christmas pudding
After a huge Christmas dinner, finding that extra bit of room for a bowl of Xmas pud can seem a daunting task. But don’t worry if your guests can’t see it all off on Christmas Day. For a Boxing Day treat, roll your left-over pudding up into some puff pastry, chop into equal pieces and stick in the oven for 20 mins (200C/400F/Gas 6). Delicious!