Last weekend, in our delicate hungover states, we watched Home Alone and that was it - the Christmas cog turned and the part of my brain which deals with planning went into overdrive. I'm almost sure my head made a noise with all the activity whizzing around it. I can't say for the certain the noise came in the form of festive bells but if it happens again I'll let you or a medically trained professional know.
I've dug out all of my Christmas magazines from years ago (honestly, if you buy a heap of Christmas magazines one year then you never need to buy them again BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL EXACTLY THE SAME EVERY YEAR - THERE IS NO POINT, see A THRIFTY MRS, INNIT), I'm scouring through the web, newspapers and cookbooks, my copy of Nigella Lawson's Christmas permanently has its pages spread. Ooh eer. I'm inspired to the point of over inspired and yet I still crave more.
Even though the proper time for buying fresh ingredients is far off in the distance I'm still over excited. I love food (have you seen the size of me?) but Christmas food carries so much more excitement and meaning. This year will be the first year we have family coming to stay with us for an extended period over Christmas and I want to get it just right. Not sickingly perfect but tasty treats and hearty meals to keep everyone happy. Having the fridge groaning with food seems distasteful but having just enough for a good and easy celebration whilst keeping to a budget is what I'm aiming for. And after Christmas Eve, with the exception of throwing a bird in the direction of the oven, I don't want to lift a finger.
I've been cutting out pictures, recipes and ideas and sticking them in my Christmas scrapbook/survival* which I was sent by GettingPersonal, so hopefully year after year I can turn to my self made book for new ideas and traditions. It seems this year I'm favouring the idea of goose but I'm not so sure if it is great for leftovers and what is Christmas food without leftovers stuffed in a sandwich on Boxing Day huh? It's nothing, that's jolly well what it is.
I find if I know how many people are staying and how long they are staying for well in advance of an event I can have it planned nicely. I don't go in for army like precision planning but if I know what we're eating for each meal and I've planned it far enough in advance it means I can start making and freezing early on. I can have stuff chopped and ready to go and pretty much put my feet up and enjoy the company of friends and family. Planning like this keeps me in control of my budget too. Tick lists, spreadsheets, scrapbooks - oh they are all my friends come Christmas.
What are your favourite Christmas dinner recipes? I'm catering for veggies too so if you can point me in that direction I'll love you forever - not a deep intense love but at the very least a mild tolerance.
Have you started thinking about Christmas food yet?
P.S. You can find more of my Christmas posts here.
P.P.S. Despite all of the Christmas magazines being exactly the same year in year out, Mr Thrifty was not privy this information and bought me a 2012 Christmas magazine to cheer me up when I was feeling particularly weepy. Gotta love him.