Festive Fun in the Kitchen
22nd December 2015
With Christmas fast approaching now is the time to prepare! No one likes being rushed or stressed so make sure you prepare in advance and don’t give yourself too much work to do. We believe Christmas should be special for everyone; adults and children alike. It’s a time for the whole family to relax, be merry and spend quality time together.
We have created this simple guide to ‘Festive Fun in the Kitchen’ to help make this month magical!
Preparation for Christmas Day
- Stay warm this winter! No one wants to be ill at Christmas so make sure you wrap up warm. We appreciate that heating can be expensive, so we have some cost-efficient solutions to keep your home warm this winter: under-door draft stoppers, curtains tucked up on the windowsill, throws and blankets at the ready, woolly jumpers and dressing gowns, hot drinks and hearty meals, thermals, microwavable slippers, tuck a couple of hot water bottles in bed 20 mins before you get in. Don’t forget to wrap up those important areas like your kidneys and chest. To warm up quickly try holding your wrists under a warm tap for a few minutes; this will warm the blood moving through your body. Because the blood vessels in your wrists are close to the surface of the skin it’s easy to warm up quickly by applying heat to this area.
- Start your Christmas shopping early to spread the cost. Keep a list on your phone or in a notepad so you can always keep track of what you have and what you still need to get.
- Declutter! Clear out your kitchen of all unnecessary items so it’s easier to navigate your way around on Christmas day.
- Eat up all leftovers from the fridge and freezer; that odd fish finger hiding at the bottom of your freezer is taking up valuable space where you could squeeze in a few more Christmas treats.
- Plan a couple of games for Christmas day so you have entertainment ready.
- Write out all the cooking times for Christmas dinner, so you have a step by step plan ready. Prepare as much food as possible in advance and make good use of the freezer.
- Write and address your Christmas cards early. Sit down one evening with a glass of wine, put your favourite film on, pick up your pen and go for it.
- Save money and show them you care with a homemade gift this Christmas.
- Get creative and make your own decorations:
- Wrap up warm and take the kids on a winter walk to go twig hunting (you could even take the dog to help carry a few sticks). When you get home, put all the sticks in a vase and decorate with artificial snow spray, glitter and fairy lights. This is a cheap and fun homemade decoration that will add a warm glow to the kitchen.
- Outdoor lighting: Splatter glass bottles with glow in the dark paint and glitter.
- Make a Christmas wreath using a wire clothes hanger: bend into a circle and attach decorations. There’s no need to spend money on wreath embellishments when nature provides us with so many beautiful natural materials; collect pinecones, leaves etc. on a country walk.
- Create a mini winter wonderland using cereal boxes and toilet roll tubes, then decorate with Christmas paper, fake snow, mini deer figurines etc. This will not only look adorable but it will also entertain children. You could even create a nativity scene.
- Transform your kitchen table with Christmas stockings! Buy a pair of stripy knee length socks to pull up over each table leg and make pointy felt elf boots to go at the bottom. Alternatively you could turn chair legs into hooves and put reindeer antlers on the back of the chairs. Leave red noses for your guests next to each place setting at Christmas dinner to add a touch of fun.
- Either make your own Christmas cards and give them to people when you see them or email Christmas cards! Most of us end up spending a fortune on stamps at Christmas; save this money and create a fun personalised digital card with sites such as jibjab.
- Make your own Christmas cracker/s with personalised gifts.
- It’s easy to get carried away and spend a fortune on gift wrapping. Instead wrap gifts in brown parcel paper, tie with string, and attach a home-made red gift tag and one red bow – traditional, classy and affordable.
Get the Little Ones Involved
- Campout under the Christmas tree! In the lead up to Christmas have a mini-sleepover in the living room with lights twinkling, festive food, games and Christmas films.
- Make non-alcoholic mulled wine and egg-nog so when you’re all having a toast the kids can feel involved. Mulled apple juice is a tasty alternative and you can even decorate it with a sparkler.
- Make your own advent calendar ‘hunt’! Inside each day write a riddle or a clue as to where the chocolate/present is hidden.
- The children can help make and decorate Christmas snacks like gingerbread men and take them into school for gifts.
- Make their packed lunch festive with a Christmas message or themed snacks i.e. Rudolph cookies.
- Have a Christmas countdown board in the kitchen that the children are responsible for.
- Fun festive food! Fry your eggs in a Christmas shaped cookie cutter: star shaped eggs on toast, Strawberry Santa’s, Christmas pancakes etc.
- Grow a candy cane: Get the kids to plant a sweet in a festive plant pot and tell them they have to feed it with Christmas wishes. Then replace the sweet with different size candy canes so on Christmas day they can enjoy their very own, ‘home-grown’ candy cane.
- We all know that Christmas dinner can go on for a while so to avoid the children getting restless put together activity packs to leave next to their places. Alternatively, make a tablecloth out of colouring sheets and leave a pack of crayons next to each child’s placemat, to keep them entertained between courses.
- Make a Christmas tent: Those of you who have watched The Holiday will know how beautiful a tent can be! Create a basic structure then adorn with blankets, fairy lights, bunting and Christmas decorations. Lay a duvet and a few cushions inside, so they can snuggle up in a magical tent to watch a festive film.
- Transform their bedrooms into temporary winter wonderlands.
- North Pole Hide and Seek: Have a festive game of hide and seek using Christmas hats. The seeker wears a Santa hat and beard whilst the elves wear hats and ears and have to hide from Santa.
Take Time for Yourself
It can be easy at Christmas time to overlook yourself, so make sure you take a few moments this year to unwind and enjoy the festive season!
- Make sure you do as much preparation and planning as possible to ensure you have an organised, stress-free Christmas.
- If you are going to make Christmas Eve boxes for everyone else treat yourself to one also, or have an arrangement where someone else puts one together for you.
- Schedule in a few hours one day to pamper yourself: get your hair done, have a manicure, pedicure, massage, tan etc. whatever makes you feel exquisite! If you’re going to go to a salon for this make sure you book in advance, this way you won’t overlook yourself; once it’s booked you’ve got to go! Put £10/20 aside every month, beginning in January to use on your Christmas pamper and you won’t even notice the cost! And who knows, you might even have some left over for the New Year sales.
- When you’re looking for everyone else’s favourite sweets and treats at the supermarket, be sure not to forget your own.
- Make a hot chocolate or a glass of mulled wine and go outside for a short while. Wrap up in hats, scarves, blankets etc. and lie on a rug or deck chair to watch the stars or do some Santa spotting. A bit of fresh is always good, as long as you’re wrapped up warm!
- Why not have a festive glass of bucks fizz with breakfast at Christmas, to make it extra special.
- Have a hot bubble bath while the mince pies cook, put on some warm pyjamas (straight from the tumble dryer or radiator), a cosy dressing gown and microwaveable slippers. Light the candles and turn your favourite Christmas film on. Relax knowing that you are prepared and ready for the big day.
Make Christmas Magical
It’s often our individual traditions that make Christmas such as magical time, but here a few extra ideas to make this year extra special.
- Prepare Christmas Eve boxes for the family: new pyjamas, a Christmas bedtime book, stocking to lay out, reindeers magic food, Santa’s magic key etc.
- If your house doesn’t have a chimney don’t forget to leave out Santa’s magic key and read the magic rhyme!
- Santa’s official reindeer cam is a live online video feed of Santa and his reindeers in the North Pole!
- Leave an outline of Santa’s footprints through the house using artificial snow and glitter.
- Christmas photo wreath: Create a wreath for the wall and add a dated family picture to the wreath every year. Over time this will become a treasured decoration to be handed down through generations.
- Hide small elves around your house. Tell the children that they won’t move when you look at them but they are watching to see who’s naughty or nice and report back to Santa! Move the elves around the house occasionally so the kids will think they’ve moved.
- There’s always that one house that goes overboard with the lights, so one evening go and enjoy the lightshow. You could even pop a Christmas card through their door to let them know how much you appreciate the effort they make every year!
- Hang a welcome gift/mini stocking on the outside of your guest’s rooms.
- Don’t forget to leave a snack out for Santa and Rudolph.
- Add an inviting festive glow to your home with some outdoor lighting; as simple or as snazzy as you like.
- Create a festive atmosphere by addressing all five senses: Smell (home fragrances), Sight (decorations), Sound (Christmas music), Taste (Christmas dinner and treats) and Touch (make your home cosy and warm).
Christmas is the Time for Giving
Make Christmas magical for someone else this year. Put together a gift box for Operation Christmas child. Decorate a shoe box with Christmas paper, sequins etc. make a card and fill the box with little gifts. Alternatively, take a few Christmas gifts to the homeless, deliver a box of decorations and sweets to an orphanage, take a stocking of toys to your local RSPCA (nice to do with children), or bake some mince pies for your local nursing home/emergency service stations etc.
We’re not suggesting you do all or even any of these, but it is worth bearing in mind that sometimes the smallest act can make the biggest difference to someone else’s day! After all, Christmas is the time for giving and sharing.
From everyone at Dream Doors we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!