Preparing for Christmas: Home and Food

Whether you are a last-minuter or a way in advance planner, we all have to face up to the challenge some time.  So here are our top tips on how to approach the onslaught of the festivities in relaxed, laidback style.  After all, you want to be the one swanning around nonchalantly bedecked in tinsel, glass of mulled wine in hand don't you?

Domestic decisions

Decide where you're going for Christmas and for how long, or who's coming to you and for how long.  Think about where they're going to sleep, and on/under what.  Work out how many plates, glasses and sets of cutlery you'll need and ask around if you need to beg or borrow.  Also think about whether your table is big enough for everyone.  (I'm currently lusting after this oak beauty, the perfect draw leaf table in glorious oak.)

After you've figured out who's coming, plan your meals from before Christmas through to new year, and make your shopping lists.  I know it sounds crazy to decide what you'll be eating in several weeks' time, but since we started doing this a few years ago we haven't looked back.  A small amount of time devoted to your recipe books now will pay dividends in having one less (huge) thing to think about later.  We recommend Nigella's cranberry Bakewell tart from Feast: Food that Celebrates Life as a great dessert-come-cake to see you through a few guests.  Although I'm not sure many of us will be going in for the 12 dish Christmas Eve feast common in many Eastern European cultures!  Oh and make sure you know what your guests will/won't/can't eat too.

Food shopping

Once you've finalised your meal plans and your shopping lists, start buying tinned, jarred, frozen and dried/packet food now.  Anything with a long shelf life can be packed away ready for the holidays, and crossed off your list.  Also start making anything you can freeze ahead now, a few batches of mince pies in the freezer will be very handy come 1st December.  (If you are buying packets of mince pies from the supermarket, do be sure to check the best before dates on them, some will end before Christmas.)

If you want someone else to take the strain, order catered food from the big supermarkets - M&S online ordering is open now, and also put in orders for your turkey, goose or ham if that's your thing.  For online food shopping, the delivery dates will open up later this month if they haven't already.  Check with your preferred supermarket.

Lastly, look out for some great deals on wine, spirits and beer.  With discounts widely available on 6 or more bottles, special offers on bottle of spirits and more, this is the time to stock up.  Champagne discounts tend to open up a bit later on though.  (Look out for our best buys food & drink guides coming soon.

You can see part two of our Preparing for Christmas guide covering gifts and money here.


  1. great stuff, looking forward to part 2

  2. great blog post! love the whole prepping for xmas dinner!


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