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Holiday Food Prep Tips: How To Make Your Christmas Party Cooking Quick And Easy

Christmas and other December holidays are traditionally a time for family and close friends to come together to enjoy a meal — or in many circles, a feast. If you are the one hosting, it can be an exhilarating — and overwhelming — experience. While you have to make sure your house is ready to receive guests, you also have to make enough food for everyone. For many lovers of the holiday, ordering a pizza won’t cut it. The food must be homemade, and entice the tastebuds of everyone who comes over to celebrate.

But when time is tight, how can you ease the burden on everyone without sacrificing the quality of your meal? Often all it takes is a bit of foresight, planning, and acceptance of help in order to make it all come together without a hitch. Follow these tips for a Christmas party that will make your evening one to remember.

Schedule it.

This is good advice for any of your holiday activities. Huffington Post recommends making a to-do list with a specific time and date attached. This detail is one way to turn your lofty goals into accomplished tasks. Since it is a hectic time of year for everyone, block off more time than you need to take into account parking delays and lines at the grocery store. If you’re planning an at-home task, you might receive more interruptions than usual with seasonal activities and good wishes from loved ones.

Berlin Christmas markets
Food is a large part of holiday traditions around the globe. The Christmas market in Berlin opened on November 21, 2016 in Germany. (Image by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Simplify non-holiday meals.

While you are getting set for the big day, you have to feed yourself and your family in the meantime. Pare back your regular routine to save energy and time to devote to the holiday feast. The Kitchn recommends using ingredients in your pantry and chopping vegetables ahead of time for quick additions to soups or to pop in the oven when it’s time to eat.

Prep food ahead of time.

Many traditional holiday dishes require hours of work if they are done from scratch. Many of these tasks might be done a day or two before your Christmas party. Veg Kitchen recommends making vegetable broth and using pre-made pie crusts or canned beans. You can also pre-bake squashes for pies and savory dishes, microwave potatoes instead of using a conventional oven, or make bread crumbs or croutons.

Michendorf Santa Run, Germany
Chocolate Santas were a big part of the Michendorf Santa Run in Germany. Participants were given chocolate figurines of St. Nicholas before participating in the race on December 6, 2015. (Image by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Get some assistance.

It’s a good bet you are not the only one in your immediate family who will enjoy your holiday meal. As you’re getting set for the big day, and even on the day itself, task your children with helping out. There are many simple, but time-consuming, tasks that your kids can do to relieve the burden on you and others making food. Kalon Women recommends that they can measure ingredients or mash potatoes, depending on their ages and capabilities.

Make it collaborative.

One of the best ways to make a Christmas party easier on the host is to spread the work around. Instead of putting together a haphazard potluck, plan a menu and ask all guests to bring one or two items. If you only have to focus on the turkey, and others can bring side vegetables and desserts, your tasks are much easier. Some of your close friends may even be willing to arrive early and help you cook.

The holidays are meant to be fun and celebratory — don’t make them too hard by trying to do too much. Ask for help and accept it when it’s offered so you can enjoy spending time with people you love.

[Featured Image by Alex Markow/Getty Images]

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