Christmas Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining | Melissa Hemsley
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Christmas Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining

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Christmas Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining

If like me, you find yourself getting a little frazzled in the festive period and getting annoyed with everyone for not helping, then join me in following these kitchen hacks and tips to keep your cool during celebration cooking!

1. Enjoy the planning process for yourself!

Make it a lovely time for yourself; put some feel good festive music on, light a candle, pour a drink, get in the party mood and make a party list. Here’s a permission slip to enjoy yourself as you prepare the party – you don’t need to wait til the party is in full swing.
Write your menu out (and get kids involved with designing it), decide what festive cocktail or cocktail YOU want to drink and have a look around to see what trays / plates / equipment you need  – visualise the day in advance so you don’t have last minute scrambles.
Delegate to friends/family and ask them to bring things- don’t feel like you need to have it all. If you know someone has napkins, just ask them to bring them! 2020 has taught us to stop saving things for best – candles, dresses, fancy things – so use them right now on yourself.
Nothing makes a party better than a happy fluster free host- no one really cares about timings or temperatures and anything can be laughed off!

2. Plan a few fuss-free festive Canapés
Pop out a few bowls of things like sticky spicy maple nuts (makes the home smell amazing too) or roasted harissa chickpeas (1 min of effort).
Or get ahead on easy canapés like loaded cucumber rounds with tapenade or smoked salmon or whipped feta or do similar with baked sweet potato rounds which are fantastic for topping with hummus, guacamole or some fantastic anchovies and olives. Try these recipes.

sweet potato canapes

3. Make an edible table to waste less!
A colourful fragrant festive table is a beautiful sight to welcome guests. But as always, I’m all about minimal effort, zero stress and maximum reward and relaxation. So I love to put together edible Christmas decorations for your table that look gorgeous but you get to eat them too.
You’ll save money and have no waste. WIN WIN!

4. Create a pop up bar in the spirit of delegation!
Clear a bit of space on the table or the kitchen counter to create a drinks station. That way you can let guests help themselves and feel part of the fun, (although it’s always nice to greet guests with their first drink – then show them the drinks station and they’ll be happy).
Set it up away from where you’re cooking so you don’t feel cluttered or frazzled. Then grab a board, a bowl of limes, lemons and anything else you’ve got (blood orange would be lovely). A few small knives, a little jar or vase of fresh mint and other herbs and garnish, maybe some pomegranate seeds and other fruit. Little trays of sea salt, pepper, sugar, chilli, flakes and of course the booze, some great non alcoholics like ginger cordials or lemongrass and rosemary (or good old Seedlip and Aecorn), the sparkling water, and lots of ice.

5. Wow your guests with minimal effort but maximum WOW results!
It might look like it takes a lot of time, but a beautiful simple grazing board as a starter always looks impressive and really takes no time at all. Start with any dips in bowls and work around, filling any gaps with your picked foliage. Be sure to keep the veggie and fish /meat separate. Head here for the inspiration.

6. Bring the outside in.
Get soothed by nature. Make your own little homemade foliage bouquets and bring the outside in! Make russet and auburn leaves, chestnuts, conkers, holly’s vibrant berries holly and eucalyptus as well as fragrant sprigs of rosemary and thyme and little bouquets of sage and bay leaves.
Pop them in little jugs, vases or make your own place settings by laying them on plates with a little handwritten name card (something else nice to get kids involved with).

7. Buy from small businesses
Waste less and buy some forever crackers for sustainable crackers you’ll love year after year.

 This year I’m buying all my christmas presents from the social supermarketEthical homeware from aerende and qasa qasa. Ethical flowers and wreaths from Arena Flowers – I love their dried flowers which are long lasting and great if you’re on a budget.

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