In the words of Andy Williams, it’s the most wonderful time of the year – except when you realise that you’ve just agreed to host the Christmas lunch.

You’re going to have to make stuffing, cook up a type of bird or vegetarian masterpiece, whilst smiling and welcoming everyone into your home. *insert panic here*.

Well, it’s lucky for you that we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a full proof plan-

*insert disclaimer here that we can’t be held accountable for “interesting” family members, burnt dinners, over-excited children, clever turkey-stealing dogs, or anything else that could go wrong.*

 So without further delay, here; your plan for the best festive lunch ever….

Preparation and planning is the key

Whenever you ask someone about Christmas, unless they’re under 18 and still get excited about “Father Christmas”, most people will talk about the food. Christmas is synonymous with eating until you can’t eat anymore (but you probably will do in half an hour).

Thankfully, most supermarkets have online shopping so you can order all the frozen, canned, jarred items way ahead of schedule. If you are ordering fresh food online, bear in mind that the popular items may sell out quickly so it’s best to order them as early as possible. If you’re making the accompaniments, make them in advance and freeze them until needed – cranberry sauce, stuffing, and bread sauce are great for this. Just take them out a day or two beforehand to defrost. Pick up the turkey or ham at the same time so it’s ready for stuffing on Christmas Eve.

 Lay the table on Christmas Eve

This will save some stress on Christmas Day. Get your family to help you and make it a family affair – crank up the Christmas songs and create your table setting masterpiece.

Over stock

It’s better to have too much than too little. Christmas is a time for over-eating and Boxing Day is a time for leftovers. Make sure you have plenty of everything – potatoes, veggies, salad, cheese, and of course chocolates.

Go for simple

You don’t want to be slaving over a hot stove whilst everyone kicks back and enjoys themselves, you want to be enjoying yourself too. As long as you plan upfront, you’ll be able to schedule each item perfectly. Remember, coordination is everything. Try to chop and prepare as much as you can the day before, it’s much easier when you can just start cooking the potatoes and carrots rather than trying to peel and chop them all on the day.

The art of delegation

When someone asks if there is something they can bring, say yes. Side dishes – salads, cheese boards – are excellent dishes to delegate. Get everyone to pitch in and bring an item of food and drink and it’ll allow you to take care of the big stuff. Also make someone other than you the official drink pourer, or set up a drinks station and let everyone help themselves.

Create a craft / activity station for the children

Whilst the adults are talking and catching up, get the kids in the family to do something creative – decorate gingerbread men, make a gingerbread house, or folding Christmas napkins.

Have fun

Whatever happens, remember it’s Christmas and you deserve to be having fun too. Also, the great thing about hosting the inaugural lunch is that you should be able to take next year off as you pass the baton to another family member. So, shake of the sweat, put on your Christmas frock or pants, and enjoy your day.

What are you top tips for hosting Christmas? Tell us in the comments below.


  • I also start buying the meat in advance, I have the luxury or more than one freezer for storage so I can buy a lot in advance, I also asked hubby (retired chef) about cutting the vege up and freezing it before hand. Thais year because the weather had been so hot we cooked the roasts the night before and just had to reheat and slice. We use disposable cooking trays and plates and cups on the bigger family occasions


  • This year there won’t be a cooked lunch, just prawns some slices of ham and some salad from our garden. Have to keep it simple as many of the ritual things for Christmas cannot be eaten by all in my household.


  • Great tips.
    I love hosting a beautiful meal as long I know it well ahead of time.

    • I love it too! I love cooking and find it relaxing and then satisfying to feed hungry and grateful tummies.


  • I love hosting Christmas lunch and I am always relaxed about it because I always prepare and organise ahead of time.


  • All great tips especially have fun!!! Also more is better than less! Enjoy Christmas!


  • In our family we do a cold lunch with salads and ham, turkey etc and everyone brings something to contribute. It makes it alot easier on the person hosting and everyone can relax a bit more and enjoy the day


  • Or just do a simple cold buffet.


  • I have Christmas at mums every year and everyone helps out by preparing something


  • I love the delegation it’s something that’s easy and the person bringing something doesn’t have to guess what to bring


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