Don’t Panic, Christmas is under control: Last Minute tips for a stress-free Christmas

Inevitably, every Christmas Eve, with the rush of getting gifts, preparing dinner and making your home into a winter wonderland of sorts, there will be one or two things you’ll suddenly remember last minute. Maybe you took your time wrapping so many presents that you unwittingly forgot that one last one at the bottom of the bag – and now you’re out of wrapping paper! Or maybe you spent hours decorating the inside of your home, but just realized that all important last detail. When you painstakingly went through every menu item you would be serving your guests for dinner, you probably overlooked having something ready for guests to nibble on with their pre-dinner drinks…or maybe you just altogether forgot to make dessert!

Whatever you’ve left until last minute, we’ve thought we’d give you a little last-minute countdown to Christmas crash course that could help you through the most stressful wonderful time of the year.

1. The Last Minute Gift Wrap
If you’ve run out of wrapping paper and the shops are all closed this Christmas Eve, don’t fret. There are so many ways to wrap a gift that don’t include getting out the aluminum foil (although that could look pretty too!). If you’re short on time and effort, the easiest go-to is newspaper or magazine pages. This might sound a little odd, but with just a bit of extra effort, wrapping your gift in newspaper can make it feel personal. If for some reason you don’t have newspapers lying around, why not try printing out your own paper or wrapping your gifts in fabric?
327860_orig Newpaper-Gift-Wrap-2

2. the Last Minute Decoration

So the tree is up and the house is covered in Christmas from floor to ceiling – or is it? There are always a couple of things around the house that could do with a little more Christmas touches. How about your table settings? From your cutlery to place cards, a little festive spirit on your table can help complete all your hard work in the kitchen. How about a candy cane place card holder? Just get three candy canes, glue them together, wrap a ribbon around them and voila! Or if time is really short, you can wrap the ribbon around your cutlery (name card optional, if you’re not into that kind of formality).
Cutlery    1-2 candycaneholder-2

3. The Last Minute Dessert

With all that time deciding on whether you’re going to have an American turkey, an Oriental turkey or even a turkey at all, it might have slipped your mind to think about dessert. Sure, the guests will probably bring a Yule log or two, but you’ll definitely want to serve them something you made yourself. How about a little Christmas Bark? All you need is bittersweet chocolate, sliced almonds and raisins (you can even leave out the raisins if they’re not your thing). Just melt the chocolate and add the almonds and raisins. Then spread the whole mixture on a baking sheet and let it cool. Once it’s cooled down, break it up into bite size pieces and serve!
Chocolate bark w/nuts & seeds. A101201 Food & Wine Chef's Diet March 2011

Of course, this wouldn’t be a last minute Christmas guide without a couple of ideas for last minute Christmas gifts. Just visit any branch of Al Rifai and discover a wide choice of gift hampers that will make your recipient feel like you planned it weeks ago!

If you’re a last minute Christmas elf too, share your tips and tricks for the holiday season in the comments section below. Merry Christmas!

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