Naomi Larkin, Editor: On the Big Day I’m always in charge of ‘front of house’. This includes table setting, drinks (popping corks and regularly topping up glasses) and generally ensuring the cooks have everything they need to get their delights on the table and eaten. I make sure there are water jugs on hand, along with lots of ice. I keep an eye out pre-Christmas for bits and pieces to decorate the table.
We always do ‘elevenses’ before a late lunch, so I prepare the brandy-soaked sugar cubes, for the champagne cocktails, the night before. If I’m cooking something for this session, I choose a recipe that has at least one component that can be made, or constructed, the day before.
Claire Aldous, Food Editor: I keep two hazelnut and chocolate fudge tarts in the freezer. That way if I get an impromptu invite for dinner, it’s a no-stress option to bring dessert. All that you need to do is top them with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. Also, you can never have too much chilled Prosecco in the fridge!
Maria Hoyle, Sub Editor/Writer: I love the personal touch of giving homemade treats. Pop them in a little bag dolled up with a ribbon, and keep a couple back for that unexpected visitor. Find our collection here.
Yvonne Lorkin, Drinks Writer: My top tip is how to calculate whether you have enough wine to go around on the big day.
One 750ml bottle of 'still' wine can be poured into five fairly large glasses.
One 750ml bottle of sparkling wine will give four people a full flute each – you've got to allow for some spillage when that cork pops!
So do the maths, you know how thirsty your friends and family get at Christmas. So, to stop them getting into your fancy stuff, make sure you've bought enough decent plonk to keep them happy.
Vanessa Lewis, Photographer: Always have an extra little gift wrapped for that unexpected visitor, friend or a family member who turned up!
Sarah Tuck, Contributor: I start the day with a glass of champagne then hold off drinking until I'm sitting at the table... just to be on the safe side.
I usually do a 10am brunch with bircher muesli, fruit, a side of salmon, a breakfasty salad (trust me) and some kind of sweet dessert. The salmon, dessert and bircher muesli are completely made the day before, so in the morning all I need do is some final titivation.
It works so well as people are amped with Christmas spirit in the morning. They also haven't already eaten a mountain of food by the time they get to me. This ensures that my tidy up is done by the afternoon and I get a relaxing Christmas night.
I'm also a stickler for totally naff Christmas music and Christmas crackers on the table (hats must be worn and jokes told, no matter how ghastly).
Olivia Galletly, Contributor: Many hands make light work – get everyone to chip in and bring a dish so you’re not overwhelmed with duties on the day! And be prepared to freestyle. Every year my dad makes a chocolate pavlova, some years it sinks and is turned into a fabulous roulade (I always secretly hope it does).
Izzy Brimeau, Digital Editor: Serve Christmas lunch platter-style. I'm talking cheeses, dips, cured meats, salads, olives, pickles, relishes, berries, grapes, breads and so on. You name it, it can go on the platter. This way you can include everyone's favourite foods, without having to slave away in the ktichen all day. I also recommend serving a dessert that can be made in advance. Nigella's Irish cream tiramisu is a great, fail-safe option.
Josh Griggs, Photographer: Make sure you're prepared for the inevitable leftovers on Boxing Day. I like to ensure there's a good loaf of bread around to make sandwiches. Then I cram said sandwiches with all the best bits left over from Christmas.
Jane Lyons, Contributor: Always have a bottle of Campari in the pantry. Oh and schedule in time for a power nap during the day. Simple, but vital tips.