• Learn to say 'no' to the good so you can say 'yes' to the best. John C. Maxwell

Cook Christmas Dinner



Make your pudding on Stir Up Sunday

The first step to ensuring your dinner is done ahead of time is to get your pudding sorted in November. Here, the best bet is to follow the tradition of Stir Up Sunday, the day when puddings were traditionally made ahead of Christmas. Falling on the Sunday before the beginning of advent, this is a great way of getting into the Christmas spirit and getting ahead with your preparations.

Quick Ice-cream Christmas Pudding Traditional Christmas Pudding Christmas Pudding Christmas Pudding

Make your mincemeat

If you can’t imagine Christmas without mincemeat pies and tarts, consider getting your fruit mix ready at the beginning of December, and leaving it in a well-sealed jar until needed. Not only will this cut down on the time needed to make your goodies, it will also guarantee you a much better flavour.

Mincemeat Grandma's Old Fashioned Home-made Mincemeat Nan's Fruit Mince

Roll up brandy butter

Get your brandy butter organised up to three weeks before Christmas day. Once done, roll it into a log and wrap in several pieces of plastic wrap. Secure the ends and then pop it into the freezer until needed.

How to make brandy butter Mum's Hard Brandy Butter Cointreau Butter

Freeze your cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce is a classic pairing with roast turkey, and you can get yours done and added to the freezer before the big day. Simply cool the completed sauce and freeze it in a well-sealed container. To defrost, place it in the fridge overnight and then warm through before serving.

How to make a quick cranberry sauce

Get a head start on stuffing

If you’re stuffing your chicken or turkey, mix it together the night before and store it in a bowl in the fridge. Alternatively, you can make it up to three weeks ahead of time and store it in a sealed container in the freezer. However, don’t add the stuffing to the bird until just before it goes into the oven to avoid the risk of food poisoning.

Roast Chicken Stuffing Christmas Turkey Stuffing Basic Bread Stuffing Stuffing for Turkey or Chicken Stuffings for poultry

Mix together sauces and marinades

If you’re adding a simple green salad, creamy prawn cocktail or zingy herb salad to your table, get the sauces made up two days ahead. Simply store the finished dressings to airtight jars and pop them into the fridge until needed.

Mint and Lime Salad Dressing Caesar Salad Dressing Seafood Dressing All Round Marinade Minty Lamb Marinade Honey Soy Marinade

Clean your prawns

If you’re using prawns, get them clean and ready to use the day before. Once clean, place them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave them in the fridge overnight.

How to peel prawns How to cook prawns and shrimp Best prawn recipes Christmas Prawns

Prep veggies the day before

If you’re planning on having a traditional roast, start prepping the veggies the day before. Carrots, parsnips and any other root veggies can be parboiled for 12 minutes, then refreshed in cold water, wrapped snugly in plastic wrap and stored in the bottom of the fridge. Onions can be peeled, chopped and stored away in a snaplock bag until the next day.

Christmas vegetables

Peel your spuds

Get a head start on your potatoes by peeling them the night before and then placing them in a bowl of water covered with a tea towel and placed in the fridge. Alternatively, par boil them the day before and roast them until they’re pale golden. Drain off any excess fat and allow them to cool. On the day, pop them back in the oven for a further 30 minutes, or until crunchy and golden.

5 steps to perfect roast potatoes 12 best potato salad recipes How to make perfect mashed potatoes

Lay the table

If your table won’t be needed first thing in the morning, consider getting it all ready the night before. If this is impossible, get all the crockery, cutlery, linen and decorations organised and place them in a designated spot, ready to quickly put together the next day.

Budget table-setting ideas How to set a table How to set up a buffet table


Success stories

Clair Elliott

Jun 05 at 23:36 pm
done this every year since I was 16

tracey mandavy

Nov 13 at 08:03 am
every year l cook for christmas

Diana Croitoriu

Jan 02 at 22:18 pm

Bach Van

Jul 28 at 09:06 am
With bf

Irena Harrison

Jun 11 at 14:27 pm
I cooked a feast for my friends in Tianjin, China.

Mane Papyan

Jun 10 at 03:38 am
No more

Cherie Stratton

Mar 17 at 10:32 am
done many times

Scott Bair

Feb 21 at 00:03 am
Many times, but we'll say 2007.

glitter dust

Jan 14 at 22:02 pm
coca cola gammon and trimmings

Ace Starr

Jan 09 at 02:02 am
I always cook a complete Christmas meal for my family! This year, I did everything by myself. I am a chef and love preparing delicate, tasty and healthy meals for the family; it's always a pleasure.

Charlotte Cowper

Jan 03 at 01:05 am
single handedly cooked my first Christmas dinner, albeit a little late, but still felt very festive :)


Jan 02 at 21:39 pm
Didn't really cook much, but prepared quite a bit.

Tia Lees

Dec 31 at 11:37 am
Cooked my 1st xmas dinner

Elzette van Zyl

Dec 28 at 09:07 am
Made a whole dinner out of the cookbook I got for Christmas...it was AWESOME

Shannon Kokkonen

Dec 28 at 00:48 am
2015 Christmas at Mom's

Laura Dodds

Dec 24 at 19:11 pm
First year of uni cooked Christmas dinner for 15 people