Fail-Safe Christmas Hacks We Have To Talk About
How To Always Win At Christmas Crackers
If you never get your hands on that covetable fortune fish, here’s what to do. Hold your end of the cracker lower, so it tilts towards you, and go for a slow, controlled pull, with minimum twisting. Be sure to mop up your opponents tears when you win.
Chill Your Fizz Quickly
Forgot to put the Prosecco for your party in the fridge? Wrap the bottles tightly in a damp tea towel, then pop them into the freezer. Because heat travels more quickly through dense materials than air, your fizz will be ice-cold and ready to pour within 20 minutes. Alternatively, Amazon sells a nifty gadget called the Corkcicle, which you slip into the bottle. Essentially a giant plastic icicle that cools the wine down from the inside.
How To Crack Walnuts Without A Nutcracker
Here’s an excellent festive party trick. Place two walnuts, side by side, in the palm of your hand. Make sure the hardest parts of the nuts – the ridges – are overlapping, then close your hand and squeeze. They should crack open easily, voilà!
Nothing makes wrapping presents more stressful that constantly scrabbling to find the end of the sticky tape. Slip a paper clip over the end of the tape, and you can wrap in peace. Or better yet, buy one of these nifty little gadgets to help you out.
Speakers suddenly stopped working at your Christmas party? The only option is to play music off a mobile phone – but pop it into an empty glass or jar first and the sound will be amplified.
Easy Christmas Cocktail
Keep a few ingredients on hand to produce a festive cocktail when neighbours or friends unexpectedly pop around. This delicious Poinsettia cocktail is a crowd-pleaser – a bottle of fizz mixed with 500ml cranberry juice, finished with a splash of an orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier.
Use Your Freezer To Its Full Potential
It might seem early to think about Christmas dinner, but a surprising number of dishes can be made ahead of time. Potatoes, parsnips and stuffing can all be cooked and frozen, then defrosted and reheated in the oven on the day itself. As for red cabbage – it actually tastes much better if you make it a few days before, and leave it in the fridge for the flavours to deepen.
Cheat At Mincemeat
Homemade mincemeat is always much tastier than shop-bought, but not everybody has time. To cheat, buy the best supermarket jar you can, then add a large slosh of brandy and a handful of luxurious fruits, such as cherries or figs. Accept compliments graciously.
Warm Up Plates In The Dishwasher
When your oven is full, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to squeeze in the dinner plates to heat up. Instead, put your dinnerware in the dishwasher for a quick rinse beforehand, and they’ll be the perfect temperature.