Sarah and her husband Nikolaj by the glögg at the annual Christmas party they thro for their friends.
Why should we start preparing for Christmas this early?
When I think about Christmas I think of long, lovely days spent wearing pajamas, watching “Home Alone” with my step-daughter, sleeping 10 hours in a row, reading great books, munching Christmas biscuits and just relaxing. But if you actually want to spend your Christmas holidays this way, you have to prepare in advance so that you have the TIME to do it. December is supposed to be cosy, not a reason to break out in hives. If you cleverly distribute practical tasks throughout November and December, you can also manage to enjoy them – and Christmas baking IS cosy, but just not if you’re dead on your feet decorating biscuits on Christmas Eve. So a little planning creates the time to enjoy what Christmas really is all about – family and relaxation.
How can we start preparing?
The great thing about Christmas is that it always follows the same script. You don’t have to come up with anything new. It’s not like a wedding or even a birthday, where you might try to be a little inventive. No, it should all be the same as last year, and that makes it really easy to prepare for. Right now – as in today – you can start by ordering the Christmas duck. I recommend OMEGN in Torvehallerne – their ducks are extremely good, and you can buy your wine and port there as well. I mean, you KNOW the menu. You can place an order with nemlig.com in good time. I schedule my delivery for the evening of 23 December and it includes everything I need for Christmas dinner plus the brunch we always have on the following day. You can change your order up until the previous evening, so as long as you ‘reserve’ your order while they still have slots available, then you can always add to it later. If you’re hosting Christmas dinner for the first time and you’re really nervous, I think you should just remember that at the end of the day, roasting a duck is just like roasting a big chicken. And if you’ve never roasted a duck before, you can always do a dress rehearsal on Martinmas Eve (10 November). Anyone can stand eating duck twice a year, and then you’ll also learn how long it takes to make caramelised potatoes (a long time) and how easy it actually is to make red cabbage.
I always keep two lists on my smartphone where I enter all my gift ideas. Over the year, I read reviews of books or music that I think would be perfect for my siblings or my husband. I also keep a list where I enter everything I would like for myself. For example, I may read about a cream (ah, Body Balm!) that I would love to have, but it may be a bit expensive. Keeping these lists means not finding yourself in a department store with no plan of action. And if you buy your gifts online NOW, you won’t have to stand in a queue at the post office towards the end of December. A couple of years ago one of my acquaintances went to the post office to collect his packages. He took a number and thought “oh, number 20, not bad”. When he got up to the counter, the worker said “no, there are 1000 people ahead of you, our machine only has three digits”. That’s the sort of thing you can avoid by making your purchases now.
Buy pajamas. They are the cosiest clothing in the universe. When I hosted Christmas last year all the kids and most of the adults received pajamas as gifts, and the kids put theirs on straight away. It made everything so relaxed with the kids just puttering around in them. And 25 January is also Pajamas Day at our house, and it’s so lovely to put on your NEW pajamas.
Don’t compare yourself with others, but instead focus on what it is you actually want to do. I bake 16 different kinds of biscuits (I am out of my mind, because I compete with myself), but on the other hand my husband and I have Christmas alone every second year, and we don’t host a Christmas lunch, but instead invite my in-laws over for pork sandwiches, which don’t take a lot of work. (And that reminds me to order the pork!)
What’s your favourite Christmas advice?
Plan! I really like planning on paper, so I make lists of what I want to get done, and then I write the tasks in for different days. If suddenly there are days where I have to do five things, it becomes very obvious where I need to adjust my plans. An overview also makes it possible to get things done in advance. For instance, I often use the duck thighs to make a gravy base. You can actually make it and freeze it a month in advance if your plans reveal that you’ll be busy in the days up until Christmas.