Home > Features > Style > 5 steps to taking the kitchen stress out of Christmas entertaining

5 steps to taking the kitchen stress out of Christmas entertaining

With borders opening up, Christmas is shaping up to be an even bigger event than usual. Follow these tips to make it a jolly occasion.

Entertaining family or friends at home at Christmas can feel like a big undertaking.

We all know the kitchen often becomes a hive of activity at gatherings and parties, so ensuring your space is organised and prepared will help make your entertaining seamless and allow you to focus on what the holidays are all about – enjoying time with loved ones.

Briar Strutton is a decluttering and organisation consultant with Howards Storage World Mile End, who has some expert advice on how to organise your kitchen this year and make your Christmas entertaining run like clockwork:

1. Get your kitchen in order

Clutter reduces functionality. Briar says to take the time now for those occasional tasks like cleaning out the draws and cupboards
“If you don’t love it or need it – let it go,” Briar says.

“Once you’ve had a good clean-out, investing in drawer dividers and adding shelves or under-shelf baskets can streamline organisation and help make more of the available space, it also reacquaints you with where everything is.”

2. Maximise your bench space

The kitchen bench can rapidly become a clutter magnet, it’s like the workbench or desk for your everyday life. Papers, phones, keys, platters… the list becomes endless.

“The space is crucial for food preparation and presentation and shouldn’t be considered a storage area,” Briar says.
“Keep bench tops clutter-free by wall mounting items using rails, hooks, or shelves.”

We all know that a cluttered space can lead to a cluttered mind so to ensure your entertaining is stress-free Briar also recommends installing undershelf organisers to store the rolls of cling wrap, baking paper and foil to keep things tidy but accessible.

3. Take the time to run an inventory

Many of us haven’t entertained for guests in our homes for a long time, so we might need to take stock.

“It’s a good idea to dig out your serving ware well in advance to make sure it hasn’t chipped, discoloured, or looks shabby,” Briar says.

Briar recommends taking out bowls, dishes and decorations early so you’re not rummaging around through cupboards with a houseful of guests.
“Creating a list now of everything you have and replacing the things you need, means no last-minute runs to the shops!”

4. Clean, remove and reduce

During the lead up to the holiday season, audit the fridge, freezer and pantry. Give those spaces a good wipe out and throw out those expired items to make space for the Christmas bulk buy.

“Organise your shelves according to categories: meals, supplies and when foods are needed,” Briar says.

“Grouping like with like improves efficiency and remember, leave a shelf for the ham!”

5. Cooking for a crowd

Shopping and cooking meals in plenty of time will help to avoid the stress of December grocery shopping.

“Ensure you can safely store and freeze the meals and leftovers by investing in clear, food safe, square containers which are more space efficient than round,” Briar says.

Make the clean-up job easy, easy enough that you might find yourself with some helpers, by organising your sink and the cleaning items under your sink.

Briar says taking these simple and low commitment steps ahead of the holidays is key to minimising stress.

“Having an organised space to cater for your guests, will allow the host family to enjoy themselves as much as their guests.”