The holiday season is upon us. Your to-do list is growing and your calendar is filling up with events. You look forward to most of it, but there’s also an element of overwhelm. How will you get it all done?
With a bit of forethought and time, you can prepare your kitchen for entertaining during the busy season to reduce stress, streamline your routines, and simplify your role as a holiday host.
7 Ways to Prepare Your Kitchen for the Holiday Season
Pull out your calendar and to-do list right now and schedule these tasks. You’ll thank yourself later for the time you took to prepare your kitchen for the holidays!
1. Clean out your fridge
When you host guests over the holidays, you buy more food than usual. This season typically involves more refrigerated goods like specialty cheeses and meats for charcuterie boards or appetizers. And if you have out-of-towners spending the night, you’ll want to stock up on breakfast foods too.
Make things easier on yourself by taking a few minutes to clean out your fridge. There’s a good chance some expired foods are taking up valuable real estate in there. Maximize the space by removing old condiments, wilted lettuce, and shriveled produce.
2. Organize your pantry
Do the same thing in your pantry that you did in your fridge. Go through all the food you have on hand and trash the stuff that’s stale or expired. If you have some non-perishables that are still good to eat but you know you won’t use them by the end of the year, donate them to a local food bank.
While you declutter your pantry, reorganize it if necessary. Put similar products together. For example, keep to-go “lunchables” like granola bars and dried fruit together, and have a dedicated drawer, shelf, or section for baking items.
3. Plan your menu
Even if you manage the rest of the year without planning your weekly menu in advance, make an exception for the holiday season. There are likely a few meals you know you’ll be hosting, and your family probably has some favourite holiday treats they expect. Make a list.
- Do you plan to bake holiday treats? If so, which ones? What ingredients do you need?
- Will you be entertaining guests? If so, on what dates? What foods and drinks will you serve?
- What are some quick meals you could have on hand for the crazy busy days of the weeks ahead? For example, a simple pantry meal of pasta and jarred sauce can be whipped up in minutes on the busiest days.
- Do you have holiday traditions that involve food? For example, if you have an annual Christmas movie night at home, do you need to stock up on popcorn and other treats?
Thinking about these things in advance and planning what you’ll serve is the hardest part. Once you have a plan in place, the rest is easy!
4. Stock up on staples
Keep in mind that stores get busier the closer you get to Christmas Day. You want to avoid the long lines and crowded parking lots for a single item, if possible. So stock up on necessities ahead of time, and buy anything you need for your menu plan.
Items to consider buying early include
- Paper towels and other household paper products (like toilet paper, tissues, etc.)
- Dish soap, dishwasher detergent, and other cleaning supplies
- Baking ingredients
- Non-perishable breakfast and lunch foods to have on hand
- Snack foods and beverages for spontaneous entertaining
- Non-perishable staples your family uses, such as coffee or canned goods
5. Set up a holiday beverage bar
Nothing is as inviting as a steaming cup of hot chocolate or a specialty coffee after a cold evening of ice skating, a day of skiing, or a tour of local Christmas light displays. Get ready for the festivities by setting up a holiday beverage bar in your kitchen. Some items you may want to include:
- Hot chocolate mixes
- Mini marshmallows
- Candy canes
- Cinnamon sticks
- Apple cider mixes
- Specialty teas
- Honey and/or sugar
- Stir sticks or spoons
6. Sharpen your knives
Speed up the food preparation process by sharpening all your knives ahead of time. They’ll be ready when you need them. Sharp knives are actually safer to use than dull knives, so you’ll also prevent accidents.
7. Clear clutter
If you decorate your home for the holidays, don’t decorate your clutter. Take some time now to remove the piles of junk mail, old receipts, and other random items that collect on your kitchen counter. Clear clutter from your cabinets, too, to make room for the extra food you’ll stock up on over the holiday entertaining season.
For tips and tricks to help you, check out 15 Easy Ways to Conquer Kitchen Clutter.
Get Your Kitchen Ready for Busy Seasons
Do you need to make changes in your kitchen to make entertaining and busy seasons easier? Maybe it’s challenging to host company for a meal because your kitchen is too small, or the layout makes it impossible to serve a meal buffet-style.
It’s too late for a kitchen renovation before Christmas this year, but it’s not too late to prepare for next year! Contact the experts at Riverstone Kitchens & Renovations for a free consultation so you can prepare your kitchen to entertain the way you want to.