Friday, November 13, 2015

Everyone Eats At Christmas, Christmas Planning Tip #4...

Welcome back. How is your Christmas planning going? Here's hoping that my first three planning tips about gift buying, wrapping and card sending have helped you to stay on track and get things ticked off. Today we are talking food.

Not everyone hosts Christmas at their place, you may just have to be taking a dish or two to whereever you are celebrating, but most people still eat at least one meal at their own home on Christmas day. And with supermarkets being just as busy as department stores, it pays to have it all planned out.

Christmas Planning Tip # 4

Plan out your meals for Christmas. I plan all my meals each week, but you really need to be on top of it during the festive season.

I start by working out all the celebrations that we will be attending where we need to take a dish or plate of food. Kindy parties, class parties, family christmas lunch, neighbourhood party, friends parties. Then I add in events we are having at our own home, Christmas Tree day, gingerbread house and sugar cookie decorating party, Christmas Eve dinner, breakfast and dinner on Christmas Day. Next I add in the extras we do as our little family, weekly movie nights, Christmas Eve breakfast, and Christmas lights viewing treats. Once I have all the events nailed down, I decide on what I am taking or serving at each. For example:

Movie nights: popcorn, m&m's, peppermint hot chocolate, Christmas mix, gingerbread cookies.
Christmas tree day: turkey, baked ham, mashed potato, green beans, sweet potato casserole. Pumpkin & pecan pies (I make double here and freeze one of each for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).
Class parties: strawberry Christmas trees and candy cane brownies, gingerbread reindeers and stars
Kindy party: honey bread men
Gingerbread house decorating party: houses x X number of children which I make, sugar cookies, squeezie bottles of icing, topping eg m&ms, choc chips, sprinkles, candy canes, mini marshmallows, juice / cordial, fruit, sandwich platter
Neighbourhood party: sugar cookies, Christmas tree cheese plate, watermelon
Friend party: barbecue, potato salad, tossed salad, Christmas tree cheese plate, fruit plate, cupcakes
Christmas Eve breakfast: Alfie our elf likes to bring donuts. 
Christmas Eve dinner: turkey, baked ham, mashed potato, green beans, sweet potato casserole, dinner rolls. Pumpkin pie. 
Christmas lights drive: Spanish hot chocolate all round and caramel popcorn for the kids. 
Christmas breakfast: bacon and eggs with mushrooms and spinach. 
Family Christmas lunch: pumpkin, spinach, walnut and feta salad and bacon ranch pasta salad (I make double and save half for dinner with the other side of the family).
Family Christmas dinner: ham & turkey platter, potato salad, pasta salad, dinner rolls. Pavlova and pecan pie. 

Now I have them decided I list out the ingredients. Then each week from November I add a handful of those ingredients to my regular shopping list, obviously leaving the fresh fruit and vegetables till the week of Christmas. I buy the turkeys early and freeze them. As much as I can I build into my regular shopping trips and budget. If you space it out it's really manageable! 

This week I added the pecans, walnuts, mini marshmallows, candy canes and cordial without it making any impact on spending. 

Next week I will be picking up a turkey, frozen pie cases and extra dried herbs and spices. 

By planning it all out, it really takes the pressure off. Try it and see how much of a difference it makes to you. And when you combine it with regular meal planning you will save not only time but money, which makes it a win / win situation! 

Have you started planning out your festive menus yet? What are some of your favourite dishes?

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