Christmas Recipes and Shopping Tips

Get ready for Christmas, Right Now! And Save Money! Shopping Basics & Recipes

The Basics

Because this is still November (and Bah Humbug! to all those out there that don’t even want to mention the C-word before December lol)  I’m sorry, but in order to make headway, we need to get in earlier. I want to give you a bit of November advice, as this will help when we get to the present shopping part….

Advice…..

If you have children who still believe in Santa, get them to start thinking (out loud so you can hear, of course) as to what they would like for Christmas. This should still give you enough time to start searching around the shops, and online for it.

Next bit of advice is …..

Make lists! Make A LOT of lists.

Make lists for

  • Christmas lunch list
  • Christmas drinks list
  • New Year’s Eve
  • New Year’s Day
  • Toys
  • Presents
  • Clothing you think you need
  • Parties and nights out you think you might go out on
  • Housewares
  • Christmas decorations
  • New appliances you’re after.

I cannot stress it enough – make lists!  It will change your life lol

Once you have your items written down, all these items become clearer in terms of quantity – price – budget – necessity, and once you’ve acquired everything already on your ‘list’, anything else becomes an extra item or a treat so there’s no last minute rushing about, you have all the necessaries and you can stop and catch your breath!

The Christmas Food list

When you list your meal in terms of ingredients you can then see

  • which items you already have (so there’s no doubling up),
  • items which you will need to top up (will need less of),
  • items which you need to buy closer to the the day (fresh items – usually low cost seasonal fruit & veg, breads etc),
  • items that can be bought way in advance (buy now, any special offer items that have a long shelf life or that can be frozen).
There are lots of cheap wines & spirits available now, and generally many items are being reduced to clear to make room on the shelves for all the newer Seasonal items.
This includes food and drink, clothing, house wares and many more.
Seasonal fruits & vegetables are usually a great buy, look out for farmer’s markets and some of the smaller local shops are quite competitive too.

We’ve also got some fantastic ethnic supermarkets here in Cyprus, and I’m sure you also have some where you live, for example

  • Russian (very cheap Quark, Vodka)
  • Sri Lankan (cheaper spices, rice and flour available in bulk)
  • Vietnamese (unusual veggies)
  • African food

These are just some examples which can help add some cheaper and unusual delicacies to your festive buffets etc.

Another really important tip, is to try and make food from scratch as much as possible instead of buying expensive pre-made items.  Fresh ingredients are always cheaper, better for you and items like roast potatoes, roasted vegetables, and homemade Yorkshire pudding really are quite simple to make yourself.
Here are two essential side dishes, that can easily be doubled up for a crowd, as they use just a few cheap and cheerful ingredients. The perfect sides for your Christmas lunch.

Roasted Vegetables with Creamy Horseradish Sauce

A new and gorgeous way to serve traditional roasted vegetables like parsnips and carrots.

And of course traditional Yorkshire Pudding.  Which may not be traditionally ‘Christmassy’, but I fear a lynching if it doesn’t appear on our dinner table.
I always, always use this recipe.

Delia Smith’s Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

 

…… And Now Back to The List

After you make your list, you will be automatically looking for items on it each time you shop. You can mentally compare prices, look out for offers, check availability and also see if some items are selling a little too well.

Don’t panic if you don’t manage to find all your ingredients as there are fantastic recipes around making the most of the items you do manage to find.

Here’s one recipe that I love, Mince Pie Baklava this came about one year when ready-made Mince pies AND Christmas Pudding were nowhere to be found.  Disaster!!  So we grabbed some jars of ready made Mincemeat and a pack of frozen filo pastry and made the most amazing Christmas dessert, which has become a bit of a family tradition now.

Traditional Mince pies still get a look in too, but these are our new favourite, along with Lighter Christmas Baked Apples with Mincemeat, for those of us watching our waistline.

A jar of mincemeat has a long shelf life and is normally around €2 – €3 and a little goes a long way.
Making your own goodies from scratch is both economical and less stressful if you can’t find your favourites ‘out there’.
This post has turned out be a lot longer than I first thought, so I do hope you got through it and I really hope that it’s helpful and you enjoy the recipes.
Georgina x