Eat Like A Hog, Sleep Like A Log
The season of winter brings with it moments of cheer and laughter. The festivals and celebration this time of the year allows us to reconnect with family and friends as well as take up a lot of activities we didn’t seem to have enough time for earlier.
One of the many things that unite families and gets everyone at one place to talk and enjoy is cooking and eating together, and there’s no day like Christmas Eve to indulge in this enchanting activity.
Now I can tell you to avoid eating 3 to 4 hours before bed, and to avoid overly spicy or sweet foods as that might disturb your sleep and keep you up all night, but who are we kidding? ‘Tis the holiday season, so we can afford to cheat a little in ‘healthy’ sleep habits for a day or two.
So here are some of my recommendations for food and drinks you can try and prepare for you and your family on Christmas Eve, right before you go to sleep, or at least pretend to sleep so you can watch Santa when he climbs down the chimney and catch him in action.
1. Hot Chocolate
So, here’s the ultimate comfort food – Hot Chocolate!
You can get absolutely any recipe for it; be it off the internet or one passed down from your precious grandma, it will be amazing anyway. You cannot go wrong with it. You can make it as basic or as complex as you want it to be.
You can use milk or any of the substitutes, different flavours like caramel or mint, or even a splash of Baileys. I usually prefer to use dark chocolate, cinnamon and top it off with a little bit of cream. You can simply cosy up in a warm blanket and sit with your family, watching movies, playing games or just simply chatting, while sipping on a hot cup of chocolate!
2. Mulled Wine
If your Christmas party is devoid of catering to chaotic kids, feel free to indulge in a holiday special mulled wine. Pick your finest red wine and enjoy a warm drink. I prefer to prepare this drink using cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange peel and sugar syrup. But there are definitely numerous variations of this drink and you can add your own spin to it as well.
You may find a family recipe or just an amazing version of this on some video tutorial. It does not take more than 15 minutes to prepare and I can guarantee that it will set you up in a great holiday mood.
Cookies! Santa’s favourite and mine too. Now cookies are fun to bake. They could be made in a variety of ways by following different recipes and in many different flavours and fillings. Baking is also a fun activity so you could gather all the kids and turn it into a baking party for your family. It will definitely help you get closer to each other and you get warm cookies out of it.
You can go for the all-time-favourite chocolate chip, or maybe oatmeal or maybe even festive gingerbread cookies. The variants exceed limits of imagination. My personal favourite is the double chocolate chip cookie!
You could either start and bake from scratch or even get ready to bake dough packs. These cookies could be very well enjoyed with the cup of hot chocolate I mentioned before. Just remember to make a few extra to leave out for Santa with a glass of milk. That will make Santa stay longer and give you a better chance of catching him.
4. Customized sandwiches
Now this might sound like a picnic activity and it is, but who said we cannot have a picnic at home on Christmas Eve?
This is quite an interactive experience. Just gather all ingredients and go crazy with them! Grab your family, sit together and start making sandwiches. You could get different varieties of bread and the fillings can be as basic as cheese and tomato or could be as crazy as fries and ice cream! Try adding a few dried fruits and nuts like dried cranberries, walnuts or chopped almonds and maybe some chocolate spread, for a delicious sweet sandwich!
These sandwich art pieces could be sweet or savoury, and you just might invent some new flavour profile in the making. Although, in my experience, ice cream and ketchup do not go together, so you might want to avoid that. But then again, there is no dearth of experimentation here and its safe and fun both kids and adults!
You could go for any tea at all. There are numerous variants available. You can choose green teas, black teas, iced teas, fruit teas, bubble teas, or whichever your favourite variety is. Everyone could have their pick.
You could even make a game out of it by having your family and friends guess tea types and flavours. Some specific teas are also often recommended as having positive effects on sleep and thus, recommend for before going to bed. Teas such as chamomile and lavender help you go to sleep better. Or you could opt for a festive variant of Peppermint Tea, which is both perfect for Christmas and for getting you to sleep. Two birds with one stone!
6. Breakfast Foods
While breakfast food is an amazing and essential way to start your day, there’s nothing wrong with having breakfast items as an after-dinner snack, especially as a Christmas Eve snack.
Be it a whole group of family and/or friends, sitting near the fireplace, curled up in blankets or if you’re alone, enjoying the bliss of solitude and of the calmness that comes with being away from chaos, a stack of pancakes or maybe waffles may just be the thing for you. Even a bowl of your favourite cereal with warm milk might just do the trick.
The best part about this is you will need to put absolutely minimal efforts as most breakfast foods are quick and easy to prepare. Maybe even a little avocado on toast, say a fruit bowl or eggs prepared in different ways, all these could make your Christmas Eve very unique and different, and did I say, spectacularly memorable!
You could even do a potluck and have a breakfast buffet If you are with a lot of people. I can just imagine the jams, and buttered toasts and fluffy pancakes…YUM!
While S’mores are camping food, one can definitely enjoy them at home. And now that I’ve mentioned picnic and breakfast foods, why leave out camping!
Just grab a few bags of marshmallows, get some plain biscuits or crackers, chocolate sauce or easy to melt chocolate bars of your choice and a cooking blow torch or a campfire. Do make sure not to let children play around with fire and ensure adult supervision at all time during the S’more preparation.
It is a fun activity to do with people of all ages. It simple to make and everyone enjoys this snack (or you may want to reconsider that relationship).
Now yes, I know this is heavy party food, but hear me out! You can never go wrong with pizza.
Just like our hot chocolate, pizza is the ultimate comfort food. Plus, you can customize it according to your taste. No one will ever say no to a pizza. This Christmas Eve treat will go down in history as the pizza party night before Christmas. I’m not quite sure why it isn’t a tradition already. Maybe it’s time to start.
So, go order that cheesy goodness topped with mushrooms and pepperoni or better yet, prepare a pizza from scratch. That’s a fun activity too. After all, everything is holiday food if you want it to be holiday food!
So do try the above recommendation so when you wake up on Christmas morning, you will still remember the tasteful enjoyment of the feast of Christmas Eve night and it will just add to the cheer of Christmas morning. After all, it is these cakes and pies and cookies and drinks that make the holidays that much sweeter. Have sweet dreams and sweeter Christmas Eve feasts!
After how many hours of eating should one go to sleep?
It is advisable to wait a few hours, maybe 3 or 4 hours after eating, before going to sleep. Directly going to bed might cause digestion issues which will inevitably lead to sleep disturbance.
What food to avoid before going to bed?
It is recommended to eat lighter meals during dinner as heavy foods might lead to digestive issues while sleeping and sleep disturbance. Avoid sweet foods as a sugar rush might make it difficult to go to sleep. Other foods like too spicy or acidic foods might lead to acidity and gastric problems and therefore, its best to avoid these foods. It is best to restrict caffeine consumption as well.
Written by Preeti Gokhale
The author is a sleep enthusiast. When not writing about sleep they prefer to either sleep or play games online. They also like to eat pizza and drink cranberry juice. You can often spot them on their way to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. You can connect with them via email!