Inspired by mummy blogger 20 Something Mum, who is running a competition with John Lewis to showcase the best ever Christmas tips, here are ours. We know, it’s only November, but don’t look now because there are fewer present buying/cooking/preparation days left than you’ve got shopping bags for. Anyway, we love Christmas, and aren’t ones to panic when it comes to undercooked geese or exploding presents (truly. The ‘table bomb’ went off in the car, fortunately while we were on a quiet B-road). Just don’t get us on the subject of loo-roll Christmas tree angels, one of those things you don’t know about until you have children…
We’d love your tips, so give us the lowdown in the comment box, below.
Tips for Children
Make sure they have a good breakfast. Something like porridge is ideal because it helps balance blood sugar levels, even if the Christmas stocking’s gold coins and monster tube of Smarties have both been consumed by 5am.
Don’t let them open all their presents at once. If you do, they won’t see the presents for the blur of wrapping paper, you won’t get a chance to write down who gave what, and it will all be over in five seconds. Plus, it’s just rude not to admire and take in each gift, even if only for five seconds.
Once the presents have been opened, steal a couple away for Boxing Day and beyond to help keep the Christmas spirit going.
Tips for the Christmas Meal
Keep it simple with a starter (soup, or something cold) made in advance, and turkey/goose/whatever, with as many trimmings as you can manage. That’s ‘manage’. If you’ve never made a red cabbage, port and cranberry side before, whipping one up when you’ve a houseful of guests is not the time to start.
Check your oven is large enough to contain your turkey!
Tips for harmonious In-Laws
Keep quiet. Everyone’s Christmas traditions are different. Mother-in-law might be appalled that the children are allowed to open their presents before going to church (or, indeed, that you’re not planning on going to church), but let her have her say. You don’t need to agree in your head.
If things start getting tricky, give the trickiest guest a job. After a second stint scrubbing the roast potato pan, they might get the hint and pipe down.
Always ask your mother-in-law’s advice. You don’t need to take it, but she probably does know how to salvage too-salty gravy or the right timings for the festive goose. Damnit.
Tips for an Entertaining Time
Christmas often involves different age groups. When you’ve got young children, split everyone up into teams and send each team out on a treasure hunt. It works well – the three-year-old is usually better at picking up things like pine cones from the ground than his octagenarian grandfather, while grannies tend to be a dab hand at finding unusual plants.
Always get outside, even if just for five minutes between gales. Christmas houses tend to be overheated and overpopulated, and you’ll be amazed how a blast of oxygen helps refuel flagging spirits and put out toddler tantrums.
Keep a family friendly DVD on standby, just in case. Sitting in front of a classic like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang can help calm things down, or give the chef some extra time if everything has gone wrong in the kitchen.
Make sure your camera batteries are charged, and you’ve enough space in the digital memory card.
Tips for Decorations
If you’re a control freak, have it both ways by letting the children help with the decorations. You can take all the loo roll fairies off once they’re in bed!
Sticking to a colour theme is a simple way to keep things easy, especially if you use something classic like red and gold or silver and white. But it’s Christmas, which is another word for ‘tacky’, so don’t let your inner stylista carry you too far from a fun and festive time.12 Responses to “‘Tis the season for Christmas tips”