Aga Wypych is the Easy Food, Easy Gluten-Free, Recipe Lab and Custom photographer at Zahra Media Group. In this blog post, she visually guides you through 12 easy steps to make your Christmas not only look beautiful, but also build joy and meaning into your celebrations. (You can see the first part of Aga’s blog post here. We’re featuring steps 7-12 in the post today.)
7. Make It Special
Making it special for loved ones doesn’t always have to require much time. Think about making goodie bags from aromatic oils, spices, hot chocolate or chilli con carne mixes. Home-made baked goods will always be greatly appreciated, but if you find yourself running out of time, a simple touch of candy in a rustic bag will make the next day equally merry and bright for everyone.
8. Make It Easy
There are many ways to save time and money, so be smart about it by introducing hat-picking names and running a Kris Kindle in your family if shopping is not your bag, or limiting the gift exchange to kids only. Take shortcuts where possible, wrap as you buy and divide the work so that there is enough time for you to enjoy the festive season.
It is always a good idea to make friends with your freezer from early December. A vast number of dishes can be made ahead of time, e.g. peel vegetables a few days before Christmas dinner, then blanch in batches and freeze. Simply defrost and reheat in the oven on the day itself.
Why not throw a finger-food party instead of hosting a sit-down feast? A board of tasty bits is easier on the cook and kinder to the waistline than a sit-down dinner. Save yourself time by serving a centrepiece platter of antipasti and a cheeseboard, together with plates of easy-to-prep nibbles.
9. Let The Aromas Out
Christmastime smells special! Think what aromas represent this time of the year for you, or which ones remind you of your childhood. Is it the fresh Christmas tree, cinnamon sticks, fresh herbs and spices or the smell of vanilla? Fill your house with those lovely aromas and take the time to relish them.
10. Spoil Them All
Make sure there are plenty of treats for everyone, preferably within arm’s reach. If you’re like me and often swap your starter with a dessert, you will want a jar of gingerbread cookies or spiced biscuits sitting on the coffee table, just in case dinner is delayed for some reason! It is Christmastime, so ditch the diet – that’s a worry for some other day! Bake or simply buy your old-time favourites. Let the sweetest season begin!
11. Make It Yours
Think about what is it that makes Christmas special for you and make it happen. Do not forget to treat yourself with little things such as an aromatic bath, a new sparkly dress or a festively-themed nail finish. Be good to yourself and take time to relax; in the end, you need to enjoy it too!
12. Buzz It Up
Last but not the least important, make sure there is plenty of buzz for everyone and some warming hot chocolate for those not drinking alcohol. It is a great idea to keep each glass pretty by adding ice cubes made with fresh fruit and mint leaves. If you have no space in the fridge to chill bottles, use the freezer instead. Wrap the bottles tightly in a damp tea towel beforehand to speed up the process – your fizz will be ice-cold and ready to pour within 20 minutes.
Have a sparkly Christmas everyone!