Christmas Dinner planning tips - table set for formal meal with Christmas patterned dinnerware

Christmas Dinner Planning Tips

Are you cooking Christmas dinner? Avoid overwhelm and take the pressure off with our tips for planning ahead.

01.
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.

02.
Do you NEED to have a starter? OK, then choose a simple make-ahead soup or pate with toast to reduce the demands on the Christmas Day cook.

03.
If you’re cooking dinner, have someone else make breakfast. And do eat some breakfast!

04.
Share the load! If you have guests coming for dinner, ask them to bring the starter and/or pudding.

05.
If the fridge is getting full, use outside space like the garage or shed for chilled storage. You could even use the car boot!

06.
Make a timing 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 – peeling sprouts takes longer than you’d think! 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 re-heat.

07.
Make sure you have a big enough roasting tray for your turkey. If not, we have plenty to choose from including some up to and over 40cm.

08.
Make sure you have a suitable carving board for your turkey. Our range of chopping and carving boards includes big brands like Jamie Oliver and Joseph Joseph.

09.
Make sure your carving knife is sharp. We have a huge selection of knife sharpeners, including traditional steels, easy ‘pull through’ ones, and the AnySharp ‘world’s best knife sharpener’.

10.
If you’re getting a new carving knife, it’s worth spending a little extra on something that will see you through plenty of Christmases to come. Our selection of carving sets starts at ¬£25, and includes professional brands such as IO Shen, Robert Welch and Global.

11.
Use aluminium foil trays to reduce the washing up.

12.
An electric steamer will cook your veg beautifully and give you more hob space, and with a built-in timer it means the veg is one less thing to keep an eye on.

13.
Pile everything into dishes and have everyone help themselves – it’s much easier and quicker than plating up. Or use oven-to-table dishes for even less fuss and washing up. There’s something suitable for every table, from colourful Le Creuset to affordable Mason Cash.

Need to get some new kitchen kit? You can order online until noon on Thu 20 December, and our stores in Ivybridge, Plymouth, Tavistock and Totnes are open until 5pm on Christmas Eve.