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Christmas dinner... Panic Stations or Chill & Enjoy?

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I know its early but I just saw a similar post on Thanksgiving dinner disasters & how not to have complete nervous breakdown. Have you ever had a train wreck of a dinner? Nightmare guests? Day from hell?

I tend to have a mini trial run a couple of weeks before. I prep the veg, stuffing & anything I can crimbo eve (after Ive been elbow deep in mince pie & sausage roll making). Stick to what you know & what works for you, dont try to be too experimental on the big day. Once our waffles, pancakes & croissants are done with & the kids have done their pressys I pour myself a port & brandy & crack on. I never stick to a time, its done when its done (you cant rush perfection lol). If you need a hand, ask. No one minds helping whether its amusing the kids, pouring a few drinks or mashing some swede up. Divert nightmare guests out of the kitchen. And most of all, dont panic!!! It is after all, in its most basic form, only a roast dinner. No one is as bothered as you are (unless you have a critisizing mother in law in which case palm her off with the nightmare guest. If she is the nightmare guest, revert to afore mentioned tactic & divert!).

Im sure you all do this anyway, but any other tips & tricks???

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  1. Don't start drinking too early and forget to serve the potato gratin you prepared in advance, trying to be ever so organised.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pj26

      Having lists all over the place does help. If you do forget, there's always tomorrow, you can devise a whole meal around it. Been there, done that. There's always one thing that gets left by the wayside around here. Or in the oven, to be discovered the next morning!

      My SIL always has some passive aggressive comment about one of the dishes, whatever the occasion, but she's been pulling this for so long it's almost a joke. You'd think she actually knew how to cook. Thank God for alcohol when family is involved!

      1. re: coll

        Thank heavens for alcohol, indeed! The only day of the year where it's deemed socially acceptable to have booze with your brekky then get slowly spannered throughout the day!!!

        1. re: psycho_fluff

          Exactly - which is why we have Christmas lunch instead of dinner. No chance we could pace ourselves until the evening.

        2. re: coll

          I dunno. Alcohol turns my MIL into a rip-roaring mad cow. The wine is consolation for those who have to put up with her tantrums, tears, drama and crone attacks.

      2. Drink early and often (paced anyway). There is a reason why you have two hands.

        If your mise en place is already done and you're not doing anything stupid like trying a recipe out for the first time, things should click along.