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WILFRED’S GUIDE TO GETTING-AHEAD THIS CHRISTMAS

Whether you’re a planner or not, there’s no denying that getting-ahead with Christmas prep is helpful, whether to spread the cost or reduce your stress!

In particular, sorting your shopping, preparing those recipes and organising your timings can make the big day go smoothly, meaning you can chat to guests and enjoy a drink while the oven does the hard work.

I’ve hosted many a Christmas for my family and friends over the years, so while there are always more things I can learn, it’s safe to say I’m a dab-hand in the kitchen!

Here, I’ve rounded-up my top tips to help your festive celebrations go without a hitch, because now, more than ever, we all need a helping hand.

1 Choose your centrepiece

A seasonal centrepiece is the showstopper around which everything else revolves at Christmas (that, and great conversation!). Firstly, think about the size of your gathering, from small and intimate to large and raucous. Choose a centrepiece that suits, whether a Free-Range Bronze Whole Turkey, Free-Range Boneless Turkey Crown or a Free-Range Cockerel, if you’re keeping it traditional with a bird. Just make sure you pre-order yours before 1st December to avoid disappointment and ensure delivery. Otherwise, beef and lamb make nice alternatives – a perfectly-pink Rib of Beef will go down a storm – not to mention goat curry to really shake things up!

Turkey tips: After it comes out of the oven, cover your bird with foil and leave to rest, then remove the legs by cutting into the skin around the leg and breast. Next, separate leg and thigh by cutting through the joint – skin-side up – before repeating with the second leg. Finally, remove each breast by cutting widthways into slices, then serve with leg and thigh meat.

1 Choose your centrepiece

A seasonal centrepiece is the showstopper around which everything else revolves at Christmas (that, and great conversation!). Firstly, think about the size of your gathering, from small and intimate to large and raucous. Choose a centrepiece that suits, whether a Free-Range Bronze Whole Turkey, Free-Range Boneless Turkey Crown or a Free-Range Cockerel, if you’re keeping it traditional with a bird. Just make sure you pre-order yours before 1st December to avoid disappointment and ensure delivery. Otherwise, beef and lamb make nice alternatives – a perfectly-pink Rib of Beef will go down a storm – not to mention goat curry to really shake things up!

Turkey tips: After it comes out of the oven, cover your bird with foil and leave to rest, then remove the legs by cutting into the skin around the leg and breast. Next, separate leg and thigh by cutting through the joint – skin-side up – before repeating with the second leg. Finally, remove each breast by cutting widthways into slices, then serve with leg and thigh meat.

2 Sort your sides 

With the main event sorted, you can rest easy knowing you’ve done the hard part, and it’s all uphill from here! Next thing on your hit-list? Selecting the sides to accompany your centrepiece. After all, sometimes the trimmings can be the best bit. From Pigs In Blankets to Sage & Onion Stuffing Balls and a Fruit and Vegetable Box, we’ve got everything you need to pack those plates, none of which will sit on the sidelines.

Love leftovers: Nothing goes to waste when there’s a house full of guests. For an easy breakfast the next day, throw leftover veg into a pan with a good glug of olive oil to fry everything up, then top with an egg to turn it into a hash.

2 Sort your sides 

With the main event sorted, you can rest easy knowing you’ve done the hard part, and it’s all uphill from here! Next thing on your hit-list? Selecting the sides to accompany your centrepiece. After all, sometimes the trimmings can be the best bit. From Pigs In Blankets to Sage & Onion Stuffing Balls and a Fruit and Vegetable Box, we’ve got everything you need to pack those plates, none of which will sit on the sidelines.

Love leftovers: Nothing goes to waste when there’s a house full of guests. For an easy breakfast the next day, throw leftover veg into a pan with a good glug of olive oil to fry everything up, then top with an egg to turn it into a hash.

3 Decide on dessert

Stir-up Sunday is on the 20 November – the day ­hosts-with-the-most prepare their puddings – but why sweat in the kitchen when you can cut a corner? Our Christmas Cake doesn’t only come ready-to-serve, but it’s got Instagrammable good looks and is absolutely delicious to boot, packed with marzipan flavours and topped with icing! Guests will never know… For a sweet treat, our Large Mince Pie is luxurious to say the least, while our Gluten-Free Mince Pie means nobody need miss out.

4 Select your starters

Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like a seafood starter. From smoked salmon (great on blinis) to smoked mackerel pâté (smother on sourdough), ours is ethically-sourced and ocean-fresh, making for luxurious starters on the big day.

5 Raise the bar

Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be very merry indeed, so don’t forget to stock your bar! From beer and cider to wines and spirits, ensure there’s something to suit everyone, while non-drinkers are well catered-for with low- and no-alcohol alternatives, plus soft drinks. The Black Scotsman Single Malt Whisky is a warming bottle to savour beside the fire!

Wilfred’s wisdom: Ask guests what they enjoy so you’re only buying the bottles that you need to avoid things going to waste; and soft drinks don’t only suit non-drinkers, but allow guests to pace themselves, making your supply last longer.

6 Say cheese!

Is it even Christmas without cheese? Whether you like them stinky, soft or strong, we’ve got all the fromage you need for the festivities, plus condiments and preserves to accompany. Enjoyed at the table, or on the sofa, they wrap-up the day perfectly.

7 Bring on a box

If everything feels a little too much like hard work for the festivities, then fear not, as our Christmas boxes make it simple. The Luxury Festive Box contains all the essentials you need for an unforgettable day – from Champers to turkey and cake – while the Boxing Day Box means serving up a generous buffet really isn’t a big deal. Come one, come all!

I hope this helps you host this year – let me know how you get on!