1 month before
• Stir-up Sunday is an English tradition that harks back to Victorian times when the family would gather together to stir the Christmas pudding five weeks before Christmas. Take this date as a hint to get your Christmas cake or pudding under way.
• Write down how many people are visiting you on Christmas Day so you can plan how much food you need.
• Pick out the recipes you want to use and write up a shopping list. Keep an eye out for sales on bubbly and stock up.
• Give your fridge a good clean-out. You'll need plenty of space in there and it's a good chance to check the use-by date on your condiments.
• Decide what size bird and ham you will need and then order them from the butcher.
2 weeks before
• Sauces, stuffing and sides can all be frozen. Make your cranberry sauce and stuffing for freezing.
• Plan your table setting if you want to try something a bit different. Try this gorgeous copper and navy theme for a modern, contemporary Christmas twist.
5 days before
• Buy extra containers to square away your leftovers.
• Shop for non-perishable items.
2 days before
• Mull wine if you're going for a traditional-style Christmas.
• Make brandy butter for your Christmas pudding and refrigerate: combine unsalted butter with double its weight in icing sugar and a good whack of brandy.
• Try to buy all your fresh fruit and vegetables on this day. To save time later, begin breaking it all down and storing it in snap-lock bags. You don't want to be doing prep like peeling potatoes on the day. Peel and chop root vegetables like potato, pumpkin, kumara, carrot and parsnip. Cut your broccoli or cauliflower into florets, wash and trim your beans, pod your peas
• Think about defrosting your turkey if you've got a frozen one. You need it at room temperature before you cook it.
1 day before
• Make a vinaigrette if serving salad.
• Make custard and refrigerate (place plastic wrap hard against the surface of the custard to stop a skin forming).
• If you're worried about timing on the day, roast root vegetables until almost done, then finish them on the day in a hot oven with a bit of duck fat.
• Chill your cold drinks.
• Defrost stuffing overnight.
On the day
• Get your turkey on if you are serving it. Remember: you need to rest your turkey for at least 45 minutes before serving so make sure you factor that in.
• Heat ready-prepared dishes like veges and sauces plus plates at least 20 minutes before serving.
Feature photograph by: Katie Quinn Davies.