Stress Less this Christmas Day
You’ve bought the presents and put up the tree. Now all that’s left to do is prepare Christmas lunch … and unfortunately that can be a lot of work. If you’d rather spend Christmas day enjoying yourself than slaving in the kitchen, it’s time to find ways to have a cracker of a Christmas feast minus the hard work!
Are you ready for Christmas? If you’ve bought all the presents and managed to get all the lights on the tree to work, you might think so … but what are you doing about Christmas lunch? Uh oh. If the thought of feeding your family on one of the year’s biggest holidays inspires a little bit of panic, that may not be much of a surprise. One UK survey revealed that women spend around 4.27 hours preparing the Christmas meal, and then another 4.38 hours cooking it – and that’s not even counting the clean up! Do Aussie women get as weighed down as their UK counterparts? Well – maybe. A poll from 2007 found that one in three people found cooking Christmas lunch exhausting, and we probably haven’t learnt to stress less since then! For many of us Christmas is the big family event of the year – so we should take the time to enjoy it. Instead of working overtime to get an elaborate meal on the table, this year why don’t we skip all the fuss and try to make the festive season a little more fun?
There are all sorts of things you can do to reduce the Christmas cooking workload, and these simple tips are a great place to start.
Turkey may be traditional but when the temperature soars past 40, is it really what you want for Christmas lunch? If your heart isn’t set on doing things the old-fashioned way, you can skip the hassle and expense of a heavy Christmas meal and have something simple that everyone can enjoy. Flip through your recipe books for old family favourites or jump online to find free recipes for things you’ve always wanted to try. You can choose simple meals that use fresh, inexpensive ingredients – and don’t take all day to prepare. Christmas is about spending time with your friends and family, not spending hours slaving over a hot stove, so just select something that will make the meal a great experience for the whole family. And by saving money on your Christmas food bills, you’ll reduce your holiday stress levels even further!
Christmas is all about sharing
Having people over for Christmas? Get them to bring a dish along. If you’re hosting the family Christmas celebration, you might feel as though it’s your responsibility to handle all the details – but by splitting up the job you’ll reduce your workload and the cost, and you’ll probably be much merrier company when the big day finally arrives. Hold an extended-family meeting to decide who’s responsible for what, and try to make sure everyone has an equal amount to do to make it fair. When you only have one dish to worry about, you’ll be able to have more fun preparing it, so getting ready for Christmas can be part of the celebration.
Sort your shopping
Let’s face it: shopping for Christmas isn’t like doing your usual grocery run. You’re feeding a lot more people than usual, for a start! And the big downside of it is that you often buy a lot more than you need – and that not only costs you, it’s a whole lot of work cleaning all the stuff you can’t eat out of the fridge once the holiday is over. To save food from waste, find out who’s coming and make a detailed list to ensure you get everything you need and nothing you don’t – you might want to do a special ‘Christmas’ shop just to make things simpler. There are free serving-size calculators available at Love Food Hate Waste to help you figure out what you need. Get your shopping right and you should have just enough leftovers for a good Boxing Day lunch … rather than having to spend hours on the great Christmas fridge clean-out in Janaury.
Christmas is all about having fun – so divide up the labour and the cost so everyone has a chance to enjoy themselves. And to really top off a great day, get the kids to do the washing up!
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Tags: Christmas shopping, saving money, Christmas meal, save food from waste
Analaura Luna is an author, wealth adviser and founder of Your Family Your Money. Your Family Your Money’s goal is to simplify traditionally complex financial strategies, demystify financial jargon and debunk common financial myths, becoming every family’s first stop for financial advice, information and inspiration.