Christmas Day Preparation - What You Can Do Ahead and When

Christmas Day Preparation – What You Can Do Ahead and When

This post is part of my 10 week Christmas Preparation Plan for 2011.

With less than three weeks left until Christmas, now is the perfect time to start thinking about what activities and tasks you can do ahead to make the work load for Christmas day lighter and less stressful.

I have compiled a list of activities that you can do ahead of time and listed them by time order in how far in advance you can do them. These tasks don’t actually go together to create one work plan for Christmas Day, but I have collated them to get you thinking about what activities you can do to prepare for your Christmas day!

Three weeks ahead

  • Finalise menu plan for the day.
  • Order meat required (turkey, pork, ham, seafood etc) and set date for collection.
  • Shop for non perishable ingredients.
  • If you are making your own condiments like mustard, onion jams etc, they can be made.

Two weeks ahead

  • Create name cards and menus for the table if you are going to be having them.
  • Decide on table centre pieces and buy/make.
  • Check that you have enough crockery and cutlery for the number of guests attending.
  • Some ham glazes can be made and kept refrigerated.
  • Make savoury tarts and freeze.

One week ahead

  • Cranberry sauce can be made.
  • Make dukkah.
  • Make sugar coated peanuts.
  • Make the filling for mince pies.
  • Decide on drinks to serve on the day and purchase.
  • Make mayonnaise.

Five days ahead

  • Order bread / bread rolls for pick up on Christmas morning.
  • Complete mince pies.
  • Make Christmas biscuits.

Two days ahead

  • Make ice-cream cake.
  • Buy all remaining ingredients required for the menu plan.
  • Stuffing can be made.
  • Make croutons for salads.
  • Make Christmas sweet treats.
  • Make cheesecake / Christmas cakes.

One day ahead

  • Make filling for chicken sandwiches.
  • If serving roast veggies you can speed up the time to cook them on Christmas day with some night before preparation. Parboil them, allow them to cool, then cover and refrigerate.
  • Some salads can be made the night before, even if it needs to be assembled the next day. For example you can roast the pumpkin for a roast pumpkin salad.
  • Stuff the turkey, chicken etc.
  • Prepare other meats and seafood, eg wash and chop mud crab, score ham.
  • Make dressings and dips.
  • Marinate meats if needed.
  • Toast any nuts that are required for dishes, cool then keep in air tight container.
  • Cook meatballs, chicken skewers etc allow to cool then refirgerate (reheat covered with foil in oven when needed).

There is much more you can do in advance depending on what you are making for Christmas day.

Would love to hear some of the activities you do in advance to make the workload less on Christmas Day.