Say Goodbye to Holiday Stress! Do These 5 Things This Month to Prep for Christmas

SOS: Hoard packs of all-purpose cream before the grocery runs out of 'em!

IMAGE Dairy Darilag

Christmas-specifically Christmas in the Philippines, is definitely the most hectic time of the year. Super-sized party dishes are served, holiday songs are played in every mall and supermarket that you walk into, and titos and titas from abroad come over to tell you that you gained weight in the past year. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Here are 5 things you can do to make Christmas cooking and baking much, much easier once mid-December rolls in. You'll have more time to spend with friends, family, and yourself!

1 Make and freeze cookie dough.

Cookie dough develops more flavor the longer that it sits in the freezer. Plus, you won't be rushing to make dough once the kids start begging you to make cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve! If you plan to bake cookies as gifts for friends, you'll also be saving yourself the bulk of the work once the gift-giving season comes around.


2 Use potato starch for make-ahead sauces.

The great thing about using potato starch instead of cornstarch to make sauces from scratch? Even if you freeze them before you thaw them, the sauces will not separate. You can make sauces for lumpia, ham, and pasta this month and simply reheat them for meals in December.

3 Stock up on all-purpose cream and canned fruit cocktail.

Since almost every Filipino household will serve dishes like crème de fruta, fruit cocktail salad, and fruit cocktail refrigerator cakes (Filipino holiday classics!) for noche buena, it is common that the basic ingredients are completely wiped from grocery shelves in December. Start your holiday shopping early and stock up on the essentials.

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4 Make a noche buena menu.

Speaking of noche buena, why not get a head start and plan your menu as early as now? You will save yourself the trouble of stressing over it once Christmas is right around the corner. Think about your main dishes (you can order meat cuts and keep them in your freezer), desserts, and snacks or side dishes early, especially if you plan to have people over.


5 Source decorations for your Christmas parties.

Entertaining a few friends or family members this Christmas? Get in the spirit by decorating your dining table with themed tableware. You can also think of color motifs and designed table napkins to make every meal or every party extra festive. Research for suppliers and reserve whatever you need before they run out of stocks-you'll thank us for this later! Another thing you can do is check out department stores for great deals on kitchen and dining décor.

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