Christmas shortcuts that will leave your guests thinking you’ve been planning this for months!

December 23rd, 2015

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Enjoy a stressfree Christmas

Christmas is next month, I repeat, next month! And if you’re anything like me, you’ve left everything to last minute. The shopping, the cleaning, the cooking! Oh no, so much to do with only moments to spare, if that.

And though we would prefer to be lounging poolside on a tropical island, while bartenders grace us with fruity cocktails and refreshing coconuts…


…a lot of us are stuck in our towns, listening to aggressive Christmas drivers tooting their horns, and waiting (as patiently as we can) in crazy lines to buy our loved ones gifts and food. Wow, the things we do for our loved ones, hey?

But fear not, it’s not all doom and gloom. Christmas (in my house) is about spending quality time with family and friends, so these Christmas tips have been put together so you can spend less time running around on Christmas day like a headless chicken, and spend more time doing the things that matter the most.

Prep, prep, prep!

If you want to keep stress levels to a minimum on Christmas day, the best thing to do, if possible, is to prep the night, or even a few days beforehand. This will make life a lot easier for you come the big day.


Having a Christmas roast for lunch? Peel, then parboil and partially roast your veggies the day before, then return them to the oven for a further 15 mins on the day. This will save you so much time and stress.

Image & Recipe sourced from Taste

Image & recipe sourced from Taste

 Cold meats

Who wants cooked beef or chicken on a hot day anyway? Delight your guests’ taste buds by roasting a beautiful piece of beef a day or two before, then storing it in the fridge until it’s ready to be served cold with sprinkles of fresh herbs. Yum, yum!

Marinated beef- Image & Recipe sourced from Taste

Marinated beef – Image & Recipe sourced from Taste

 Quick as flash (sort of) pork crackling

If you’re a crackling household, then you’ll definitely love this little trick. Roast your pork the day before, and then store it in the fridge. To serve, take the roast out and bring it back to room temperature. You can also quickly refresh the crackling under a grill on a tray lined with foil.

Pork crackling- Image & Recipe sourced from Taste

Pork crackling – Image & Recipe sourced from Taste

It’s all gravy

 Did you know you can freeze gravy? And according to, you can store homemade gravy in your freezer for up to 3 months!

Ok, now I’m not saying go crazy and start prepping your Christmas food in October, unless you want to of course. But definitely take advantage of your freezer and freeze some homemade gravy to ensure that’s one less thing to do on the busy day.

Classic gravy- Image and recipe sourced from Taste

Classic gravy – Image and recipe sourced from Taste

Speaking of freezing

Freezers are definitely heaven sent for those who love prepping. But they can also be heaven sent for our Christmas lovers too. Not only will they hold all that leftover Christmas chicken & Grandma’s secret recipe stuffing, but they can also hold all your cheeky, already-prepared goodies such as uncooked stuffing, homemade sauces and even fresh herbs.

For more information about freezing food for Christmas, click here for BBC’s freezer guide to Christmas.

Cooking magic

 Faster cooking times

Did you know you can slightly speed up the cooking time of your chicken or turkey by cooking the stuffing separately? It will also ensure more even cooking, and will also save you from having to put your hand up a chicken’s bum!

Cranberry stuffing balls- Image & recipe sourced from Taste

Cranberry stuffing balls – Image & recipe sourced from Taste

Use every appliance you have

The roast’s in the oven, the gravy’s on the stovetop, the microwave’s working overtime defrosting all your frozen Christmas goodies, and your guests have already started to arrive, but you still have a lot more cooking to do. Sound familiar?

Instead of closing your eyes and wishing you had spent the money on a new kitchen with a double oven instead of putting the kids through school, think about all those small appliances at the back of the cupboard you were gifted on your wedding day or housewarming but never got around to using.  And also, let’s not forget the barbeque sitting outside; it too can be turned into a Christmas lunch/dinner cooker.

Decoration madness

Now that you have the Christmas feast all organised, you now need a setting that will fit.

Cranberry candles

“For a simple yet stunning centerpiece, place five candles (in a variety of Christmas colors) in a line down a red rectangular serving dish. Fill the rest of the dish with cranberries, garnish with a few pine twigs and dust with artificial snow.” – MidWestLiving. 


Sourced from MidWestLiving

Sourced from MidWestLiving

For more centrepiece ideas, check out MidWestLiving

Wine cork reindeer

If the kids are constantly getting in the way, sit them down with craft supplies and ask them to help out by making cute reindeer ornaments that can be either placed on the tree or scattered around the table. Another good use is to place name cards in the pipe cleaners and use them as placeholders.

Wine Cork Reindeer Ornaments- Sourced from Remodeelandolacasa

Wine Cork Reindeer Ornaments – Sourced from Remodeelandolacasa

Find the full list of instructions here.

And if reindeer aren’t your thing but you still want the kids out of your hair, while still helping out, check out CountryLiving’s 48 easy homemade Christmas ornaments

And after all the madness is done, you can finally sit down, put your feet up, grab your glass of wine, and say, “I’ll start the cleaning tomorrow”.

Merry Christmas everyone, from the guys at Appliances Online.


Image courtesy of ratch0013 at

All the way from the land of the flightless bird, Krissy brings a part of New Zealand culture to the Appliances Online content team. And although she is adamant she does not say 'fush and chups', she can't deny her continuous use of the term 'sweet as' and her ongoing argument with her team on the correct name for jandals (thongs). One thing is for certain, however, her passion for her kiwi slang is matched with her love for sharing news, hacks and buying tips for all things appliances! Krissy's favourite appliance is the Tefal Cook4Me multi cooker, as she believes it's ok to let an appliance do all the work for you.

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