10 tips and tricks to help you get through Christmas

 Whip up an easy Christmas cocktail

Keep a few ingredients on hand to produce a festive cocktail when neighbours or friends unexpectedly pop around. Nigella Lawson’s 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 or Cointreau.

 Wrap up your turkey

Never quite cracked the perfect turkey? Many chefs have a secret weapon: ‘“butter muslin”, available cheaply from kitchen shops. Soak the material in a bowl of melted butter, then drape it over the turkey before popping it in the oven. Moist meat and crunchy skin will be your reward.

Traditional roast turkey Christmas dinner
Never quite cracked the perfect turkey? Use butter muslin.  CREDIT: PAUL WILLIAMS / ALAMY

 Keep the hangovers at bay

Don’t knock back a Bloody Mary if you wake up the morning after your office party with a sore head. Chinese researchers tested 57 drinks, from herbal tea to milk, and found that the most successful in abating hangover symptoms was… (drum roll, please…) Sprite. Buy a multipack?

Turn up the music

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. All together now: “It was Christmas Eve, babe/In the drunk tank…”

Recycle tangled lights

We’ve all been there – you excitedly unpack the decorations, only to find the lights are so tangled you’d need a Christmas miracle to rescue them. But don’t throw them out. Find a plant pot that is home to some attractive foliage, and place the twisted strands on the soil. They’ll create a magical soft glow beneath the branches. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out.

Soften ice cream instantly

The Christmas pudding is blazing on the table, the mince pies are fresh out of the oven, but your ice cream is harder than a South Pole iceberg. The solution – courtesy of hit show America’s Test Kitchen – is to heat a knife under hot water and slice across the ice cream in a cross-hatch pattern. Then warm a spoon in hot water and dig into the sections. And if your ice cream is always full of nasty ice crystals, keep it farther back in the freezer. Ice cream stored near the door is subject to more fluctuating temperatures, and will continually soften/refreeze – leading to those unpleasant lumps.

Be the boss of your Sellotape

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. If last year’s leftover wrapping paper is a little rumpled, iron it, reverse side up, on a low heat.

Use up leftover Christmas pudding

For a delicious Boxing Day treat, make Christmas pudding rolls: simply roll out a pack of shop-bought puff pastry, cover it with chunks of leftover pud, then roll up and chop into equal sections. Pop into a 200C/400F/Gas 6 oven for around 20 minutes, or until crispy. You can also mix crumbled Christmas pudding into ice cream for an easy dessert to scoff in front of the television.

Give your snowman a long life

Avoid repeating the last scene from The Snowman by following a few simple rules. Firstly, build your fabulous snowy friend in a shady part of the garden, so he doesn’t melt as soon as the sun rises. When you’re finished, spray the snowman with a light mist of water, so the outside freezes over.

 And for next year…

Here’s a handy tip when you take down your Christmas lights. Instead of just dumping them in a box, wrap them around a coat hanger, or even a piece of cardboard, and they won’t tangle up when you unearth them next Christmas. Alleluia.

This article was taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/christmas/0/20-tips-and-tricks-to-help-you-get-through-christmas/

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