The ultimate festive feast starts here!
Keep stress to a minimum this year with our tried-and-tested tips to help you get ahead
1 Set a food budget
With presents, decorations and food to buy, costs quickly add up. Work out what you can spend on food and drink, then break it into sections (Christmas dinner, party food and nibbles, drinks and mixers etc) so it’s easy to stick to.
2 Book an online delivery
If you shop online for your food, get your delivery slot booked as early as possible. Online shopping can also help when sticking to that budget! Load everything into your basket so that you can see if you’re on the right track. And remember, friends and family will bring wine and treats if they’re visiting – so you may not need as much as you think.
3 Don’t forget the extras!
Start picking up all the little bits that make your Christmas dinner table that little bit special. Think Christmas crackers, candles and little treats for the table.
4 Look out for deals
The supermarkets always have fab discounts around the festivities, so keep an eye out for anything on your shopping list and pick it up if it’s on offer. Be careful not to buy things just because there’s a good deal, though – stick to the things you know you’re going to need.
5 Plan your menu
We’ve thought out a fab Christmas menu for under £5 per head for eight people (including two different puds!) but December is a good time to start planning other meals. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day breakfast, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve are all worthy of a little thought.
6 Work out what to do with leftovers
Now’s the time to get any little extras you’ll need to transform any leftover food into brand new meals. Leftover ham and turkey can be made into pies, while veg can be chopped up for breakfast hash to be served with poached eggs and bacon.
7 Have a clear-out
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to play fridge Tetris. To make sure your Christmas is as easy as possible, sort out your cupboards and fridge well ahead of time. Chuck any old bottles or jars to make way for new, and make note of things definitely not to buy, if you already have lots. Remember you’ll need a good amount of fridge space for your turkey.
8 Cook meals in bulk
If friends and family will be staying with you, December is a good time to get ahead on hosting preparations. Make big batches of soup, stews or casseroles and freeze them for the in-between days.
9 Lay the table
If you can, try and lay the table ahead of Christmas Day. Having it all set is one less job to do on the day and will mean you can sit straight down to lunch.
10 Make sure you have enough serving dishes
When it comes to Christmas dinner, you can never be too prepared. Make a list of everything you’re serving and make sure you have enough dishes. Same goes for glasses. If you don’t have enough, a lot of supermarkets lend them for free, if you buy your booze from them! Not a bad deal.
11 Divide and conquer
Ahead of the big day, make a list of all the tasks that’ll need doing and assign them to different family members. It’s a time to spread cheer, and chores!
12 Remember the mince pies!
What’s Christmas without these classics? Shop-bought will keep for ages, so stock up when you get the chance.
Get the whole family to pitch in and help