1. Draw up menus for all meals you plan on making over the Christmas week. Make sure that at least half of the dishes can be made ahead of time in order to cut down on stress.
  2. Use this information to write a cooking plan for the weeks and days leading up to Christmas, so that you’re not swamped on the day itself.
  3. Make everything you can ahead of time. Freezer-friendly foods can be made a month in advance, while many starters can be made a day or two before eating. Check out our make-ahead marvels, p.58, for some festive inspiration!
  4. Well ahead of time, batch-cook and freeze one or two easy family meal options for the busy days coming up to Christmas and the lazy days following it, meaning you can focus solely on the main event(s). An easy way to do this is to have a few days where you simply double every freezer-friendly family recipe you make.
  5. Write a detailed plan for Christmas morning. Begin at whatever time you envisage dishing up, and work backwards to figure out when you need to get started. Remember to consider cooking times and how many things you can fit in the oven at once.