• No one likes to see a flustered host or hostess, out of their breath (and depth). Your guests believe you are a culinary superhero and will accept no flaw. Here’s how…

    • Instead of plated starters, prepare large sharing boards for people to pick at while having drinks.
    • Try to do as much as possible in advance – make all sauces and dressings two to three days ahead and prepare roasts in their casserole dishes two days before, ready to be popped in the oven to roast away. Find our ultimate guide to a stress-free Christmas lunch here.
    • For a casual feel, serve your roast in its casserole dish or your potatoes in the roasting tray they were cooked in – this will also save you time and means less washing up to do!
    • The secret to being cool, calm, and collected – and having time to enjoy the company of your guests – is to do all you can ahead of time. All the prep you’ve done in advance will be worth it when you can kick your feet up on the day, bubbly in hand, and share in the festivities with your loved ones.
    • Try to shop for what you can, at least four days before the big meal. If necessary, pop into the stores with a short list of fresh things, two to three days in advance.
    • A lovely way to get your guests into the Christmas spirit is to hand them a glass of bubbly or a delicious cocktail upon arrival. If making a cocktail, prepare this a few days ahead and simply add the final touches before serving.
    • If possible, enlist some helping hands to lay and decorate the table a day in advance – it’ll be one less thing to worry about on the day, meaning more time to focus on preparing the feast.
    • Make sure that any frozen meat is fully defrosted a few days before the banquet. The last thing you want to be doing on Christmas morning is googling “how to defrost a duck in 10”.

    ALSO SEE: DIY Christmas decorations – FREE Christmas gift tags

    DIY Christmas decorations – FREE Christmas gift tags

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com