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Blogger ‘Top Tips’ on how to make the perfect Christmas Dinner

It’s time to warm up the ovens and rally the troops because Christmas Day is just around the corner!

For many of us, festive entertaining isn’t just confined to the big day; there’s in-laws to visit, friends to see, distant relatives to catch up with… the list goes on. So we’ve taken the time to talk to some of our guests to discover their ‘top tips’ for the ultimate Christmas Dinner(s)!

Christmas dinner top tips blog | Butlins Blog | Photo from Pexels.com

From plenty of preparation to last minute sprinkles of chestnuts and pancetta, we’ve popped together a list of must-read seasonal suggestions!

Planning and Preparation

“If you want your family’s Christmas dinner to go with a swing not a sulk, planning is key. Make sure there’s something for everyone – particularly non-meat eaters or those with any allergies or food intolerances.” @MotherDistracted

Rally The Troops

“Christmas is all about getting together with the family and should be fun for everyone.  I really like everyone to take part in preparing and cooking the Christmas dinner.  Daddy is always in charge of the turkey and everyone lends a hand when it comes to peeling and chopping the vegetables.  This way it doesn’t just fall on one persons shoulders, and stress levels are kept to a minimum.  When you all sit down to dinner, it’s a lovely feeling knowing that everyone played a part in getting it to the table.” @Zenas.Suitcase

Keep It Simple

“My tip is don’t make it too complicated… Sure everyone might like a different starter from prawn cocktail to soup or pâté, but if you can all agree on the same thing it’s easier in the long run (and less ingredients to buy). Prepare what you can the day before so you actual get to sit down and enjoy the meal too.” @emmysmummyblog

Perfect Your Roast Potatoes

“Begin by boiling a pan of water and add a good pinch of salt. When your potatoes are peeled and halved (if needed – don’t make them too small) carefully add them to the boiling water. You need to boil them for around ten minutes, just so they are softened before going in the meat pan. When the meat has around an hour left to cook, remove it from the oven and add in some olive oil and butter. I usually add this when I first put the meat into the oven and then it’s hot and sizzling ready for the potatoes.

Add the potatoes to the pan around the meat (be careful that the oil does not splash you). Give the potatoes a toss so they are nicely covered in the meat juice/olive oil/butter mix. Add some more salt at this point if you like. Return the pan to the oven for around twenty minutes.

Remove and toss the potatoes again. Repeat this step another twenty minutes later.

Christmas dinner top tips blog | Photo by @yorkshirewonders | Butlins Blog

Photo by @yorkshirewonders

At the end of the cooking time if the potatoes are not quite browned enough, remove the meat and cover it while it rests and pop the potatoes in for a further ten minutes or until they look ready! The end result is crispy, tasty roast potatoes that are wonderfully soft and fluffy on the inside!” @yorkshirewonders

The Secret to Stuffing Success

“Stuffing is my secret favourite dish to make. Make it even more mouth-watering by adding some sausage meat to your mix. Also stuffing freezes well – you can even freeze it in an oven dish, so once it’s defrosted, you can pop the dish straight into the oven. Save time and food prep the night before, while waiting for Santa to arrive with a glass of Sherry!” @showbizmama

Make Brussel Sprouts Irresistible

“Brussel Sprouts are a lovely vegetable but far too many people over boil them which causes them to go mushy and have a strong taste. Try blanching them and then fry them with pancetta and chopped chestnuts before adding a little knob of butter.” – @TiredMummyoftwo

Keep it Hot!

“One of your biggest challenges is to make sure everything is kept piping hot – invest in food heaters or even a heated hostess trolley. We use tabletop food warmers that use tealights. You can also warm the plates either in the microwave (if there’s no metal!) or if the oven is full, in the dishwasher.

And whatever you do, make sure there’s enough gravy, custard and cream. Oh, and Christmas Day is probably not the best time to start insisting your kids eat their veg! Caitlin loves her veg but Ieuan and brussel sprouts do not mix.” @MotherDistracted

Finish With A Festive Treat!

“One of the Christmas traditions I have continued from my own childhood is making our own mince pies.  Whether they are to be enjoyed by friends and neighbours or devoured by Father Christmas, they taste so much better when you’ve made them yourself.” @BooRooAndTiggerToo

Christmas dinner top tips blog | Butlins Blog | Photo by @BooRooAndTiggerToo

Photo by @BooRooAndTiggerToo

Do you have any top tips or family traditions of your own? Let us know about them or send us photos of your delicious Christmas dinners on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. Happy Christmas everyone!

Clare McAuley