Christmas is that time of year when everyone loses a couple of Os on their bank statement and gains a little on the weighing scales, but we wouldn’t have it any other way, right? That’s what dry, gentle January is for anyway. If you’re one of those last minute supermarket shoppers, dashing around Tesco, wrestling fellow daredevils out of the last pack of mince pies, then you’ll know how stressful that can be. Instead, perhaps arm yourself with this checklist so you don’t end up forgetting any of those festive essentials. These are those; our 5 IDEAL items you need in your supermarket trolley this Christmas.


Okay, so we all know that turkey is the meat for Christmas, but it’s not to everyone’s tastes, and not to anyone’s if it’s overcooked and dry, going on for days in ever less imaginative sandwiches. It’s time to diversify; a Christmas ham here, some smoked salmon there, decent homemade stuffing with real sausage meat…keep things interesting, and you’ll have much better boxing day food, too!


Long gone are the days of overboiled sprouts and a token stuffed pepper for the veggies to placate them. These days it’s eminently possible, delicious even, for vegetables to take centre stage at the Christmas feast. The key is in the attention to detail. Parboil those sprouts first, then stir fry them to add character and flavour. Pair ingredients thoughtfully with the main event; if you are having turkey, then red cabbage with added walnut and apple works brilliantly, for instance. And, a vegetable centrepiece can truly wow. We’ll be having a mushroom wellington this year, to make all the carnivores green with envy.


It’s that time of year again, to extol the health benefits (yes, honestly) of a tipple. Whilst we’re not sure they quite ring true, a Christmas without a toast or two just wouldn’t feel the same. There are even some cracking low or zero alcohol wines on the market now. And because running out halfway through the day somewhat kills the mood, make sure you buy a custom wine rack too, enabling you to get the bottles in to last you through winter.


Wine isn’t the only drink you need at Christmas, that’s for sure. Baby, it’s cold outside and might even be snowing. In such cases, a cup of warm hot chocolate by the fire can feel really festive. Why not add some whipped cream and marshmallows into the mix as well? When the food coma hits and you’re reclining on the sofa, not watching the queen’s speech, this can be a beautiful way to bring that feeling of hygge into the home.


It’s been a long while since we had a Christmas pud; just too stodgy after such a glorious roast dinner. Rather than rounding things off nicely, it does us in. But there’s nothing we anticipate more keenly than the festive cheeseboard, complete with complementary chutneys, crackers and the rest. Whilst of course it’s totally up to personal preference, there’s got to be stilton, it wouldn’t feel the same without something soft like Brie to balance out the blue, and we’re suckers for a little wensleydale studded with cranberry to finish it off.