Christmas Food shopping...yum!!!
Updated: Sep 30
Christmas 2020 is looking like it might be an interesting one! With added restrictions due to coronavirus who knows what Christmas is going to be like? My friend’s response was ‘Well I shall be glad not to have to deal with all the crowds of people shopping’ and this got my brain thinking….it's time for another Christmas Trickle!
This month I have started thinking about what food we will be eating at Christmas. Yes it may seem early but we like to have a few treats at Christmas and so I like to think ahead.
My main issue with Christmas food is shopping for it, I just can’t stand shopping in December. Everywhere is crammed with people, some in a rush and some who seem to be wandering around aimlessly in a Christmas haze, not knowing what to do or where to go first. Even the supermarket weekly shop means extra long queues at the checkouts and even if we’ve not done it ourselves we’ve all seen it...the people on December 21st pushing around an overloaded trolley piled high with food. Always trying to hold on to the tin of chocolates balanced precariously on the top of the pile whilst steering the trolley one handed navigating a dangerous path around everyone else who is also doing the same.
Having worked in a local supermarket in my student days I witnessed this many times from behind the counter and even way back then I decided this was not for me! As I have grown up (by which I mean got my own house and then children) I have perfected the skill of shopping early. Okay, you can’t buy everything early but there is lots of food and drink that has a long shelf life on it that can be bought months in advance and this is what I do to plan ahead.
Did I also mention that this method actually saves you money as products come on offer in the months before Christmas and if you know what you're looking for you can make some good savings on your food and drink budget! Keep reading I’m going to tell you how I do it!
The first thing is finding a place to put all the food once you’ve brought it. It's best not to put it in your normal food cupboard at home unless you have incredible will power and this is something which I don't have! Everyones first answer is ‘I’d eat it all before Christmas' and 'It wouldn’t last until December in my house.’ It is true, this is an easy trap to fall into, but it’s about how you store it. Firstly you need to find a large box or storage bag preferably one that you can’t see through. Not being able to see through it will increase your chances of not eating it all before Christmas, if you can’t see it you’re less likely to dip into it!
Store the bag or box somewhere out of the way. Put it in a spare room, out it in the garage, in the bottom of a cupboard or even behind the sofa if you can cope with it - although this would be too close proximity for me! This then becomes your designated space for just the Christmas food and whenever you get any food for Christmas put it straight in there and make a point of being proud of yourself that you’ve made a start.
If it makes it easier, brag to a couple of friends about how you’re starting early. Yes, this sounds strange but it makes you more accountable for your actions and helps you not to eat it all! It's like when you try to lose weight at home, no one knows if you sneak that extra chocolate bar but if you have to go out to a slimming club to get weighed every week you’re less likely to eat the chocolate because someone else will know you cheated!
Once you have some storage and a place to keep it it's time to start thinking about what you want to be eating at Christmas and to create the all important list! You might not like lists but this system definitely works well with one. Without a list I would forget what I've bought or have already done and I'd end up buying it or doing it a second time. Not to mention the fact that a couple of years back I had to go through the box mid October time to write the list because I hadn't done one initially and honestly it was a big mistake. By that point it was hard to say no to just opening that selection pack of chocolate thats already been bought!
Christmas food for me tends to be broken down into three main categories, hamper, buffet and Christmas dinner. I usually start with the hamper, as this is the one that has the most ‘long-life’ products. If you’ve not read about our OMC hamper or the 'food sideboard' that I had as a child pop over to this link and have a quick read, it will make all this make sense! https://www.overamorningcoffee.co.uk/post/our-christmas-hamper
I like to plan on the computer so that I can move things around and copy and paste but if you prefer good old fashioned pen and paper then use whatever works for you. Start by thinking about the ‘occasions' you want food and drink for and then make lists under each of the sections. I have included a blank template that I use in case it's any use to you, just click on the link at the bottom of the page. Our hamper goes on the sideboard (this contains pretty much all the snacks for the festive season), Christmas dinner (quite self explanatory) and the buffet usually means people are visiting. Heres what my list might look like.
From this I can then get a clear picture of what I need to buy. I like to have two columns one for 'need to do/buy' and one for 'already done/bought'. I could delete items as I go and not worry about having the two columns but then I'd forget what I had on the list in the first place so moving it over to another column works best for me. It also has the added effect that when you load up the page and see the majority of things in the ‘done’ column then you get a big sense of achievement and a positive boost is always a good way to spur yourself on!
From this list you can then start to deduce what sort of things have a long shelf life and if you’re really organised you can check online before you do your weekly shop to find out what things are on offer where and make the most of saving the pennies. This method works for me too as it’s generally me who writes the list but Mr OMC who does the shop. If I didn’t have this then who knows what he’d end up buying and at what cost!
If you’re unsure as to which sort of things have a long shelf life I’ve made a short list below. It's not got everything on it but it’s enough to get you started. I have also added a blank template for this if you would like one, just click on the link at the bottom of the page.
All that is then left to do is to make one or two purchases each week within your weekly shop and before you know it you'll have a large proportion of your Christmas food bought and you can say goodbye to that piled high trolley on the 21st December. It takes off lots of last minute stress and also spreads the cost which is helpful when the budget tightens at the end of the year. The best part, however, is when you do have to go into the supermarket a couple of days before Christmas and you stroll around with just a basket for those last minute bits you'll also get to feel quite smug knowing you were organised and have already nailed the food shop this year!
Merry Christmas trickle!
To find more Christmas Trickle posts head over to the Christmas section on Blog posts on my website...or follow this link! https://www.overamorningcoffee.co.uk/blog/categories/my-christmas-organising-journey
Christmas food and drink - blank document
Shelf life - blank document