The thought of cooking Christmas dinner can be rather overwhelming, especially if you have guests coming, but it doesn’t have to be stressful.  The best thing to do is to start planning.  This will make the day run smoother, you’ll be happier and it will probably save you money.  There are plenty of tasks that can be carried out in advance so that you are not rushing around or standing in the kitchen all day.  Follow our top tips for planning the perfect Christmas dinner.

1. Shopping

Don’t leave your food shopping to the last minute. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Non-perishable items and bottles of bubbly can be bought in plenty of time and stored at home, add one or two items to your usual weekly shop in the build up. Place your order for your fresh Christmas Turkey and meat with your butcher in plenty of time before stocks run out. If you are planning on an online grocery order for all of those final items, book a slot in advance. Don’t forget the tin foil!

2. Keep It Simple

Less food and less faff means less time and less worry. You don't need to do carrots in thyme and orange juice, sprouts with bacon, roasted chestnuts, spiced red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, braised leeks, broccoli gratin, creamed cabbage and mashed swede! There's nothing wrong with just doing steamed carrots and sprouts.

3. Enlist In Some Help

Christmas is about family and friends and everyone coming together.  There’s no harm in asking for some help laying the table or if you traditionally have a special breakfast on Christmas day, let someone else make it for you. 

4. Starters

If you want to have a starter (we would too) then choose something that is simple or can be made in advance. Soup can be made well ahead of time and be frozen ready for use on the big day, or why not try out a soup maker. Melon is simple and can be sliced, dished up and covered the night before.

5. Preparation

Prepare your veg on Christmas Eve - most vegetables can be peeled and chopped the day before. This will save a huge amount of time on the day and no one wants to spend all morning in the kitchen peeling sprouts!

6. Roasting Tray

Check you have a big enough roasting tray for your turkey and that it fits in your oven.  No one needs that kind of stress on Christmas morning.  We have a great choice of roasting trays here in a fantastic range of sizes. 

7. Timekeeping

Create a timekeeping plan working backwards from when you want to eat. If there's still prep to be done, make sure you include enough time for that. If things start to drift from the plan a bit, don't worry. Don't skimp on cooking times to meet your plan, make sure everything is cooked through. If some things are ready sooner than you'd like, keep them warm under foil or use the microwave to reheat.

8. Cheat

It’s ok to cheat a little on Christmas day. There’s no requirement for a homemade show stopping dessert, it’s absolutely acceptable to buy a ready made one. It’s also fine to buy ready made cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy. This will save you time and will mean less washing up!

9. Numbers

Only cook for the number of people who are coming to dinner.  It’s easy to get carried away and fix a feast that will feed the whole street, but it’s unnecessary.  It’s fine to have enough for Boxing day leftovers, but most of us get fed up with another day of turkey sandwiches.

10. It Doesn't Have To Be Turkey

If the thought of cooking turkey is really uninspiring, raising your anxiety levels or you would just prefer something else, then go for it. There’s no law stating you must have turkey on Christmas day. If you are much more comfortable cooking chicken, a topside of beef or something else then who are we to judge. Christmas is about enjoying the things you like and spending time with the ones you love.

We hope that these steps will help you to have the most enjoyable Christmas and help to take the stress away from preparing for your Christmas dinner.  If you are still looking for a roasting tray, turkey baster or a meat thermometer then why not browse our Christmas Cooking range, we are sure you'll find something you want or need, ready for the big day.