The thought of the Christmas commotion in the kitchen can be enough to put anyone off cooking Christmas dinner, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful day spent in the kitchen, nor does it have to break the bank! Read our handy tips of how to save money and enjoy a relaxed day with your family.

Beat the Christmas rush

Every year everyone resents the mad shopping rush in time for Christmas, but starting your shop earlier will take the strain away by doing it gradually.  It’s never too early to start stocking up and take advantage of deals before shops increase their prices for Christmas. So stock up on canned and dry foods such as crisps, stuffing, nuts and sauces that won’t spoil. This also allows you to compare prices in different shops, which can make a massive difference for the important items like the turkey. Try this list produced by mysupermarket.com to find the ‘Top UK Offers’;

http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/shelf/Top_Offers_from_across_the_UK?LandingScript=Forms::%7B%22ID%22%3A%22Register%22%2C%22context%22%3A%22homepage_btn%22%7D

Note: you may need to register to use this service

Make a list

With so much to choose from, the Christmas shop can be quite overwhelming. Make a list and ensure you buy ONLY the items on that list. This will prevent you buying any extras that will certainly bump up the bill. Here’s a shopping list to help you get started;

http://ao.com/life/food-drink/ultimate-christmas-dinner-checklist-printables/

How can I be more organised?

Preparing the night before will mean less needs to be done on the day. Dishes such as cranberry sauce and stuffing can be made a couple of days before and frozen to keep fresh. If you need some help making your cranberry sauce this year, watch Gordon Ramsey’s video to;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnvvkK0spk0

Christmas pudding and mince pies can be made a few weeks before to really get you in the Christmas spirit.

On Christmas Eve, make a running order of cooking times, working backwards from when you want to sit down to eat. Time management is key, so ensure you set timers and have any recipes required in front of you. We found this great meal plan to help you with your running order for the day;

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ampp3d/how-cook-perfect-christmas-dinner-4835788

Christmas means family

Christmas is about enjoying being surrounded by family - nobody wants to be stuck in the kitchen getting through the nibbles by themselves. Assign jobs to each family member to get them involved, such as laying the table or chopping vegetables. If the whole family is coming round, you could get them to bring a dish each! This will take the pressure of cooking for loads of people away, but also make the Christmas dinner a whole family effort!

Homemade adds a loving touch

Making things from scratch always works out cheaper and tastier even if it might take just that little bit more time. It’s also a great opportunity to teach the kids how to make their own pigs in blankets, mince pies and decorative biscuits. A great way to save time on biscuits is by freezing the biscuit dough so they can be brought out and cooked whenever they’re needed over the holiday period. Here’s a few no-fuss recipes to try when the family are peckish for something sweet;

Cookie mixture that can be frozen:

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-chocolate-chip-and-toffee-shortbread-cookies-dessert-recipes-from-the-kitchn-83224

Baked cookies that can be recooked from frozen:

http://www.thekitchn.com/best-cutout-sugar-cookies-recipe-recipes-from-the-kitchn-38629

Iceland’s Millie’s Cookies can be baked from frozen:

http://groceries.iceland.co.uk/millie-e2-s-cookies-ready-to-bake-white-chocolate-dough-6-pack-192g/p/63439

Don’t forget that Christmas is first and foremost about family and enjoying yourself. Use these tips to relieve the pressure, so you can focus on what is really important. And if something does go wrong, it will be a great story to tell in years to come!

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