There’s always been an element of keeping up with the Joneses to Christmas, but since the onset of reality TV, social media and aspirational glossy magazines, we’ve had an insight into how other people do Christmas.
This seems to have sparked a frenzy of Christmas one-upmanship, with everyone trying to outdo their friends and relatives as to who can have the most bragging rights when it comes to getting ready for the big day itself!
We’ve been comparing Christmas notes at Kirsty’s HQ, sharing stories about the things we’ve experienced, heard about or (confession time) been guilty of doing ourselves in the pursuit of a perfect Christmas. We’ve concluded if you want a stress free Christmas, it’s best to draw the line at the following festive activities.
Are 14 side dishes absolutely necessary?
When you’re hosting Christmas dinner you naturally want to spoil your guests with a great meal and not be mean with the food, but is it really necessary to prepare and cook every vegetable known to mankind? Limit yourself to three or four veggies at most, then you can enjoy spending time with your guests and not getting frazzled in the kitchen trying to make sure everything is ready to serve all at the same time.
The Elf on the Shelf dilemma
The idea behind this little cheeky chappie is rather charming: position Elf somewhere each evening so when your little ones awake each morning they jump out of bed, eyes wide with anticipation, wanting to see what Elf has been up to whilst they’ve been asleep. Seeing their excitement and joy is lovely, but as any parent who has ever embarked on this epic Elf adventure will testify, it becomes an all-consuming dilemma. With each new day (and remember you’ve got to keep this going for 24 of them!) you will spend virtually every waking hour trying to think of new and more exciting, social media friendly things for Elf to do. We think this is probably best kept to a one-off.
Don’t attempt to recreate the Nativity Scene (or any other festive scenario) in cake!
Unless you’re a Great British Bake Off contestant – don’t! Just don’t! Buy a Christmas cake or, if you insist on homemade, make a chocolate log instead.
Try not to colour theme and co-ordinate to the nth degree
Do you know someone who loves to have everything colour co-ordinated for the festive season? Do they go a little bit bonkers at Christmas? Does the living room really have to be redecorated to match the baubles on the Christmas tree? Is it really necessary to make everyone wear colour co-ordinated outfits on Christmas Day? These have been known to have happened – really!!
Avoid creating individual menus for every person at your dinner table
At Christmas you have to accept two things: a) you are not going to please everyone and b) your home is not a restaurant. As long as the meal you serve is safe for everyone to enjoy (always check for special dietary requirements particularly food allergies, food intolerances and Coeliac Disease beforehand), then your guests will understand. If you’re feeding a large number of people, a buffet is probably going to be your best option or encourage guests to bring something with them as most guests like to feel they’ve made a contribution and life a little easier for their host.