Making Christmas dinner with your housemates always seems like such a nice idea in mid-November, when everything’s just starting to feel festive and you’re overcome by affection for the people you live with.
Seeing as you’ll leave Uni before the day itself, you decide to hold a ‘House Christmas’ so that you don’t have to spend the year’s biggest celebration entirely without them.
It’s not set in stone what these kind of meals involve. Everyone does it differently, whether it’s with a tree, Secret Santa, or tinselling every inch of available space. Of course, some will be celebrating something else altogether. But one aspect is indispensable and unavoidable: you’ve absolutely got to have a Christmas dinner. If you’re not careful however, this can cause arguments and great ideological divides in your flat, until you’re left miserably wishing you’d all just gone to the Carvery.
But all hope is not lost. Follow these tips for making the whole operation run smoothly, and you’ll be left counting down the days until you can do it all over again.
1. Make sure to negotiate with your flatmates and plan in advance, so that no one’s disappointed. Talk about exactly what you want – what is absolutely essential in a Christmas dinner? What could you do without? Cranberry sauce, stuffing, Brussels Sprouts… are all the trimmings really necessary, or are they just extra hassle and cost? Is it worth forking out for a turkey, or can the cheaper option of chicken be just as Christmassy? Do you need to factor in food allergies or Vegetarians? It’s important to discuss all these questions and figure out exactly what your dinner will involve, so that no one’s complaining on the big day.
2. Do your research and reap the rewards. There are loads of deals and discounts to be found out there that can help you to save money on your Christmas dinner. Go online and try www.moneysavingexpert.com or hotukdeals.com – you’ll be surprised at what you can find. It’s also worth thinking about doing your food shop online, as this will help you to control your spending by thinking about what you’re buying. Use mysupermarket.co.uk to compare prices across different supermarkets and get the most bang for your buck. If you’re feeling especially committed to the cost-saving cause, you could even try some of your local shops. You never know, your independent greengrocers might be miles cheaper for veg than the nearby Tesco’s. And never underestimate the power of Aldi.
3. Make it yourself. It might seem like more effort, but putting in the effort rather than buying everything pre-made or frozen will really pay off. Chop your own veg, roast your own potatoes (use lard instead of goose fat), make your own gravy using stock, even make your own Yorkshire puddings. This will save you pounds and pounds, as the cost of ingredients is often significantly less than the ready-made products; all that’s required is for you to put in a little more effort. And House Christmas dinner is worth that, right? Not only is it cheaper, it’s also much more satisfying. When you look down the table on the big day, the sense of pride at seeing your own golden, well-risen Yorkshire puddings will be hard to beat.
And there you have it. Enjoy, relax, plan ahead, and don’t forget the festive spirit of the whole thing!