So it’s nearly Christmas – and whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, or you’re anticipating Eid or Chinese New Year, no matter your situation they’re rife with stress. Here’s some of our top tips to get through the holidays, especially if you’ve been procrastinating!
Manage your expectations
It’s easy to let your imagination run away with you, and to want to create some kind of Norman Rockwell-esque vision of Christmas perfection. But let’s not forget – we don’t all have a personality transplant once December hits. If you struggle in the kitchen, maybe now isn’t the time to start experimenting with a new, complex recipe to serve 20. Likewise, if your uncle/sibling/grandparent has some, uh, problematic political views – don’t expect that you’ll suddenly hit it off. Brainstorm some safe chit chat topics and hope to just have a reasonably nice family lunch.
If you’re cooking these holidays, you’ll want to get started on everything you can, as early as you can! Can you pre-make and freeze anything? We’re doing a turkey with a spice rub this year, so we’ll be shopping and making the seasoning mix over the weekend. Get a list together of all the sauces and sides so that you can prep, chop and measure as much as you can in advance, and make a timeline of what needs to be done.
Create a cocktail of the season
I’m not encouraging you to drink to deal with your family, but, a nice glass of something can certainly help lift the festive spirit. Head to one of our favourite boutique bottle shops for a bottle of something you can batch into a fun and refreshing drink. As an added bonus, if you’re mixing drinks you can keep yourself busy and out of any risky conversations.
Figure out those last minute presents
There’s nothing worse than getting this close to Christmas and realising you’ve forgotten someone important’s present. Luckily, there’s heaps of great options for last minute prezzies. Tickets make a great gift you can buy online, particularly for someone who’s been trying to downsize or reduce their waste – and with Perth Festival and Fringe World coming up, there’s heaps of options no matter their tastes. Other experiences are great, too! Axe throwing? Ceramics? Skincare? If all else fails, hit up the bottle shop for some extra goodies while you’re shopping for your Christmas cocktail.
Don’t break the bank
I get it – there’s a lot of pressure to buy big at Christmas, whether it’s for gifts or planning your menu. Especially when you’ve been putting your planning off. But in the same way you’ve got to manage your expectations, you’ve also got to manage your budget. If your purse strings are a little tight, try to find alternatives to the more expensive traditions. Can’t quite stretch it for the ginormous ham? Chat to your butcher about what’s affordable and how much food each person actually needs – as much as we love leftovers, how much is actually thrown away? Similarly, head to your local greengrocer or farmer’s market to buy your veggies unpackaged. You can reduce your plastic waste, while only having to buy what you actually need.
When it comes to gifts – heartfelt beats out cash every time. While you’ve got your annual viewing of Love Actually or Die Hard on in the background, get crafty. Paint a picture, embroider a tea towel, weave a wall hanging. If you’re not the craft type, baked goods are always a hit. Personally, I also make jars of sauces to gift over the holidays: chimichurri and chile crisp are both tried and tested, and great for barbecue season. Bang ‘em into a jar, tie on a cute name tag, bob’s your uncle.