A hassle-free Christmas

When you’re the one hosting a Christmas get together, it can sometimes be more stressful than fun with all of the cleaning, cooking and general preparation. But if fun is what you’re hoping your guests have, then you should be having it too, and you can, with a few tips from the expert party planners at the Food Network.

Create a Christmas ambiance with the scents of the season by keeping a pot of mulled apple cider on the stove, or lighting a cinnamon scented candle. This will infuse your home with the smell of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Potpourri in a slow cooker also has the same effect if you just throw in some sliced oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves and nutmeg into some water and leave the cooker uncovered on the low setting.

If there are things, food wise, that you can make in advance, do so, especially if you have several events planned over the course of a few days. Make large batches of spiced nuts, salad dressing, cookies and cakes and refrigerate or freeze them until they’re needed. This will save you time later when hosting and will give you items on whim for those impromptu guests.

Buffets work well, especially if you’re limited for space, when it comes to feeding the crowd. Many buffet items can be prepared beforehand. The key to a successful buffet is picking food that can be eaten at room temperature so all you have to do is unwrap it and serve.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to food at Christmas gatherings is to focus on foods that can be made in advance and take a while to cook – like roasts and casseroles – so you don’t have to constantly be watching the food and you can actually enjoy your company, too.

Don’t spend time on dessert. Instead, ask each guest to bring a batch of their favourite Christmas cookie (or pie or cake), which will both allow them to show off their best recipe, give guests a variety to choose from, and allow you more time to focus on the main meal and enjoying the party.

For more ideas (and appliances) that can help make your entertaining easier, visit www.scratchanddent.ca or stop by the store at 407 Gage Avenue, Unit #4 in Kitchener. A friendly staff member would be happy to help you or take your questions at 519-743-3623.