Lifestyle | Friday 15 December 2017

Christmas shortcuts

As the big day looms and the to-do list grows, we’re all dreaming of a little downtime. This may seem as unlikely as a visit from Rudolph, but if there was ever a season for miracles, it’s surely this one. Shave some points off your list, get organised and watch the purse strings with these festive cheats – just call us Santa’s little helper

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Home goals

Decorations are for life, not just for Christmas. Well, kind of…  As interior stylist and We Love Home blogger Maxine Brady points out, you can add festive luxe with a few items that’ll carry you well into the new year. Tips: make over the mantelpiece/sideboards/shelves with twinkly gold and silver accessories (such as candle holders). Pile on the texture with luxurious rugs, velvet throws and piles of squishy cushions. Finally, an oversized lamp will create the perfect cosy lighting for Christmas and beyond.


Get pretty



Feel like you need an army of elves to get you ready for your big Christmas night out? We know the feeling – but you’ll be amazed at how easily you can make yourself over after a busy day. Hot from the fashion catwalks, headbands hide a multitude of bad-hair-day sins. Meanwhile, diamanté heels are the perfect way to add sparkle without making yourself look like a Christmas tree. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, channel Rihanna and pop on silver over-the-knee boots with something simple.




 Go one step further than a bowl of crisps and ace some buffet-style nibbles for your guests. Everyone loves cheese – in fact, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Get stocked up for the festive period; it makes for an impressive platter when unexpected guests drop by for a glass of fizz. Put your cheeses onto a gorgeous board and then dress it with lots of fruit and luxury crackers for a real showstopper. Good sausage rolls are also a winner. Even if you haven’t got time to make your own, just pop some shop-bought ones into the oven, then serve them on a pretty platter with a posh pot of pickle/chutney – delicious.


Gifting pro

  There’s nothing worse than being confronted with a thoughtful gift from someone you forgot to buy for/wasn’t expecting over. GAH! This can all be avoided by stockpiling foolproof items that fall into various categories (him, her, kid, pet, etc), ready to dish out as required. You’ll also need some spare gift wrap and a pack of cards that you can grab at a moment’s notice – and if they don’t get used, save them for next year. Easy.

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Cheat, cheat, cheat

There’s no shame in buying ‘ready prepared’, especially if it means less time flapping and more time with the family. A prime, shining example is Aunt Bessie's Duck fat Roast Potatoes - try them (your guests probably won’t guess). ‘Embellishing’ shop-bought products is also a clever way to win at Christmas dinner – for instance, add sautéed onions and some of the roasted meat juices to your gravy granules; or heat up shop-bought mince pies and serve with homemade brandy cream. The key is inventive and clever planning.




And enjoy!

  You’re fully prepared and ready to go: Christmas is going to be fantastic, so make sure you enjoy every magical moment of it. And do try and get in some toes-up time over the festive break, too. Post-Boxing Day walk calls for a big family curl-up on the sofa in your onesies, with Christmas TV or a boxset. Try out that new face mask from Santa while you all work your way through the endless boxes of chocolates and sweets. Just dreamy…

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