The following tips are my standard procedure to get organized and stay on track Christmas Day, as well as decreases my overall workload.
1. Before opening presents, place a recycle bag handy beside the designated ‘Santa Claus’ and all wrappings, boxes, etc. are tossed to Santa and he/she puts them into the bag.
2. Place another bag or box for the wrapping, ribbons, ornaments and packaging we’d like to save.
3. Relax and enjoy opening presents with a nice cup of coffee or tea to sip.
4. Everyone helps themselves to whatever they want for breakfast while I peel, cut and place the vegetables in pots of water. As long as the vegetables are completely covered with water, they can sit all day and not dry out or wither.
5. The others go to visit the grandparents while I remained at home doing last minute cleanup, etc.
6. At about 2 pm, I prepare the turkey and stuffing as follows:
- Break apart about 9 slices of bread.
- Place them in a large bowl and add water to wet the bread, lightly squeezing out and draining any excess water.
- Add about 4 cups of rice with soy sauce I had prepared on an earlier day.
- Chop up lots of onion, celery and sometimes grated carrot.
- Add some fresh ground pepper, sea salt and Italian spice mix, or any other spice mix you prefer.
- Remove giblets from the turkey.
- Mix well and completely fill the cavity of the turkey.
7. I put the remaining stuffing mix in a small casserole dish and place the giblets into the stuffing at even intervals around the pan, and cover with tin foil for baking. Also, I make sure it’s kept refrigerated until I’m ready to cook it.
8. By this time, I have preheated the oven to 325 degrees, basted the turkey with olive oil, and put it into the oven to roast for approximately three hours – the recommended time for a 12 pound turkey.
9. Throughout the roasting period, I baste the turkey with the juices from the pan every half hour or so. If you’re one who loves crispy golden skin, this is how to prepare your turkey.
What is my final tip for reducing the workload on Christmas?
10. Get just tipsy enough that your spouse is afraid of you being near hot or sharp objects and he’ll do the carving and serving.