Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in the US. After all, it’s the season of giving and eating. Along with shopping and decorating for the holidays, the Christmas dinner is definitely one of the highlights that family and friends anticipate. There may be a hundred things on your to-do list, but that’s not a reason to make food safety the least of your concerns.

The hectic nature of food preparations during Christmas makes your loved ones more prone to foodborne illnesses. Some people might try their luck and disregard food safety requirements (using “I have a lot on my plate” as an excuse)—but why should you? Here are some tips and tricks to maintain a food-safe Christmas:

Make a to-do list

With a simple checklist, you can keep track of what you have (or haven’t) done. This makes it easier for you to prioritize and manage what’s left of your time. Sounds effortless? There’s a caveat: making the list is one thing, following the list is another. Instead of treating the checklist as a nagging reminder, be inspired to finish the items one by one!

Plan your menu

How many times have you headed to the grocery store and spent most of your time thinking of what to buy? Make the most out of your precious minutes by planning ahead. Ask your family what they want to eat for Christmas. If you already have a menu in mind, list all the things that you need to buy. This will make your trip to the supermarket more efficient and will help avoid another oops-I-forgot-the-(insert-ingredient-here) moment.

Buy your ingredients and meat early

This will lessen the things that you should do on Christmas Eve. It’s a hassle if you buy all the things you need on the same day. Expect that there will be a lot of people on the supermarket or grocery store that you’ll go to.

Refrigerate the items that should be on the fridge

After buying the ingredients, be sure to refrigerate all items that must be stored in the fridge. This will prevent food spoilage and contamination.

Marinate and prepare the sauces ahead

When the ingredients have already been marinated and prepared, you’ll have more time to cook (instead of watching the ticking clock during the marinating process). If you’re going to reuse the marinade, reheat it. Don’t reuse especially if you marinated raw meat.

Cook your food thoroughly

All the rolled and stuffed roasts, poultry, minced dishes, liver, and sausages need to be fully cooked. This is one way of killing bacteria in your food.

Christmas should be a happy holiday—don’t turn it into a disaster by taking food safety for granted. Merry Christmas guys!

Cess Padilla is a SEO Specialist in the Philippines and currently handling, a portal for TABC Certification Texas, Food Safety Manager and Food Handlers Certification. She has been in the field for almost 3 years and a half now and has helped bring traffic and revenue to 360training portals. You can follow her on her twitter account @360cesspadilla