The ul­ti­mate fes­tive feast starts here!

Keep stress to a min­i­mum this year with our tried-and-tested tips to help you get ahead

Woman's Own - - HELLO & WELCOME -

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

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