Me, I spend days and weeks planning what we are going to eat, making sure that I have at least one or two things that each person will like. I have the food shop ordered already this year to save on the stresses of food shopping with the masses. The thought of Christmas food shopping in the days leading up to Christmas brings me out in a cold sweat. Forced to man the trolley and march up and down the aisles that are full of Christmas treats and added expensive extras causes me the biggest headache and also racks up the Christmas food shopping bill. Why does one meal cost so much money?

Add into the mix disabled children who do not understand why they must be dragged round a boring food shop until they see item after item that they suddenly need and want resulting in supermarket melt downs (yes my children are those you may hear screaming in the middle of the shop) where I feel like just lying on the floor myself and screaming either that or abandoning the X-mas dinner altogether and have beans on toast instead. All of this before the big day means I am left feeling fed up and tired before I have even started Christmas day.

So no, this year like the last three years, the food shop has been ordered and will be delivered to the door ready for my army of helpers to put away while nosing about seeing what I have bought. Then Christmas starts on Christmas Eve with a party style tea as the kids are all too excited to sit down and eat a proper cooked meal. We have treats like Christmas tree chicken, mozzarella sticks, crisps, grapes and sit and watch a film while the turkey cooks in the oven.

Yes I cook my turkey Christmas Eve!!! there is too much going on Christmas day to even think about cooking a turkey first thing ready for lunch and as my husband and children all like to eat at a certain time its best to get the main ingredient cooked and ready to go. It soon warms up with gravy on it and no one notices except me!! This considerably reduces the stress on the morning and means that I can kick back with a cuppa and enjoy my own presents from Santa.

Another big thing for me is getting our daughter to eat. It is our biggest problem and our biggest worry. Our daughter with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a fussy and picky eater. The medication suppresses her appetite but without the medication she is disruptive, less focused and finds it hard to be around people. She also has an unwavering habit of trying to control any aspect of her life that she can. Food is one of these things that she feels she can control and no amount of cajoling changes this.  Plus she hates Christmas dinner, she hates roast dinners, she does not like meat and if I place a plate of food in front of her she will refuse to eat it.

So to help keep me sane and to help encourage her to eat I have adopted an easier less fussy way of setting the dinner table. It means lots more washing up but we find that by having all of the components of Christmas dinner separate and in their own tubs she can help herself and I find much to my amazement that she will eat loads. So my top tips for Christmas dinner would be:

  • Try ordering your main Christmas ingredients online and having them delivered. Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's all have home delivery options and this can be a God-send.
  • Cook your turkey, goose, beef, or ham the night before. We have party food on Xmas Eve while watching a film and the meat is in the oven. This then means once kids are in bed and the presents appear under the tree the meats are all cooked and means one less headache the next day.
  • Use serving dishes. It does mean more washing up but for those with fussy eaters I find that giving my children more control over what they put on their plates can greatly reduce any anxiety they may feel over having a huge Christmas dinner.

Wishing you all a merry, healthy and as stress free Christmas as possible.


To find out more about Leanne and raising a daughter with ADD follow