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My Christmas Hints and Tips with Ballymaloe Foods

Updated: May 25, 2020

Tracie Daly


It's that time of year when chaos can ensue. The options to prevent this are many and manageable.

First question to ask yourself is-

Q: what does Christmas mean to you? What do you want to achieve this Christmas? What makes Christmas special for you?

A: it is what you need it to be, write your answer down, or keep it stored in your phone in the NOTES section and look at it every now and again so you stay grounded and you pull yourself back from pulling your hair out. The truth is 'less is more'. Quality over quantity, and throw expectations out the door and repeat after me ' good enough is more rewarding than perfection, as perfection is insanity disguised'.

Plan YOU time, sneak away, do what you need to do to ensure this Christmas is what you need it to be.

Here are some helpful hints that i created with Ballymaloe Foods to help make Christmas more about pleasure and less about pain!!!


1) Plan ahead

2) Find out dietary requirements well in advance

3) Make enough to freeze- pie/ pastry/ soup/ bread/ stuffing/ mince pies/brandy butter…

4) Roast a larger joint of meat to turn the intentional leftovers into something else- pie/ sandwiches…. Make one meal into two or three dishes……

5) Encourage guests to bring something of use instead of something that will gather dust!

Cranberry sauce/ nibbles/ prosecco/ fresh bread/ salami/ cheese…..

6) SLOW DOWN, Breath, relax, plan ahead- this is your time too!

7) Make a plan and ask for help, involve the family, it is a great way to stay connected.

8) Set up a bar and coffee station- just have all that one may need to-hand, including the kettle- let people help themselves so you have one less thing to do- it also encourages a party goer to jump in and get interactive

9) Boil your beautiful free range/organic carcass- stock/broth so nourishing as is or great in gravy, sauce, soups.

10) Use your slow cooker so that you have time to soak up the Festivities

11) Slow roast joints of meat- allows you time to get everything else organised

12) Keep it simple- less is always more, remember to have fun

13) Dress up- make sure your menu allows you the time to actually get dolled/ spruced up, be clever

14) Use leftovers as your theme (keep it to yourself ssshhhhhhh) less prep, less waste

15) Stock up on nibbles and booze, buy time if you need to by utilising edible distractions

16) Set an arrival time only, don’t set a sit-down time so if you run over time and need more time your guests will be none the wiser

17) Get your guests involved- makes for great interaction and gets the party going (server for veg, server for gravy, drinks refreshing, ice topper upper………

18) Wear your most comfy shoes so you can stand for hours while prepping and cooking then your feet can handle the glamorous party change and last the night!

19) If someone offers help -ACCEPT

20) Let someone else set the table, let them own that space, just give them the necessary checklist and let them lose

21) Once you have the final head count set the table- one job done

22) Make a great playlist- don’t reinvent the wheel google for inspiration and compile, music helps to set the scene

23) Make sure dessert is cold and made the day before and all of its accompaniments prepped and ready to go. A last-minute hot dessert is nuts- DON’T DO IT. If you do a hot dessert then ensure your main and starter are 90% prepped, this allows that space (mentally and physically) to complete a hot dessert. Balance your menu- starter: soup made ahead, quick reheat, garnish already prepared, main- wet dish, veg prepped and roasted and kept warm, mash ready, gravy ready, quick reheats and simple service. Dessert: cold, room temp ready to serve. Balance the workload.

24) Ensure you have at least one lovely volunteer for wash-up duty, not only that evening but also through out the day. A messy work-station can cause mayhem and frantic delays.

Do your best and your best is a thing of beauty, by bringing people together and allowing yourself to enjoy that is what Christmas is all about.

Merry Christmas all you Beautiful People xxx

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