The advent calendars are up, the decorations are down from the loft, and now it’s time to think about the big day itself. We’ve put together our top tips to help you organise your food shop with minimal hassle. Check out our must-have Christmas Dinner Checklist, a round-up of the local shops, the best ready-made options, and we’ve even included the Hour Hands team’s favourite festive recipes.
If you’re short on time then don’t forget that Hour Hands can help organise all aspects of your family Christmas – even waiting in for your Christmas food delivery if you’re going to be out. Contact us to find out how we can make things easier for you.
Christmas Dinner Checklist
Christmas dinner is often viewed as one of the most stressful meals of the year to prepare, and with so many little extras (cranberry sauce!) and the pressure to get it perfect, it can feel daunting. We love this Christmas Dinner Checklist to help you get everything purchased, prepped, and presented on the table right on schedule.
Keep it local
Your local shops offer a huge range of excellent produce without having to fight through the supermarket queues. Here’s our favourites.
Trussells Family Butchers, Knebworth (pictured)
Jelley’s Meats, Harpenden
Sandridgebury Butcher, Sandridgebury Farm
Flourish Craft Bakery, Watford (pictured)
Quotidian Bakery, Hitchin
Maria’s Artisan Bakery, available at farmer’s markets and Foxholes Farm Shop
Carpenter’s Nursery & Farm Shop, Sandridge (pictured)
Sparshott Fruiterers, St Albans (veg boxes delivered)
The Seasonal Food Company, Hertford (veg boxes delivered)
Foxholes Farm Shop, Butchery & Tea Room, Hertford (pictured)
Chapelfoot Store at The Rusty Gun, St Ippolyts
Pearce’s Farm Shop & Cafe, Buntingford
The Little Deli, Hitchin (pictured)
Halsey’s Deli & Eatery, Hitchin
Buongiorno Italia, St Albans
Beer Shop, St Albans and Hitchin (pictured)
Farr Brew, St Albans
Tring Brewery, Tring
Hedley Wright Wine Merchants, Hitchin
Thirty Nine 10 Fine Wine Boutique, St Albans (pictured)
Rollings Wine Company, Harpenden
Retailers are switching on to the need for great-quality, ready-made options. There are plenty of excellent time-saving choices available, from Christmas dinner boxes to completely prepared frozen meals, direct to your door.
Cook, Harpenden (pictured)
Riverford, home delivery
Thyme, home delivery
Enjoying your Christmas dinner in a restaurant means minimal stress, and you can leave the washing up to someone else!
The Beech House, St Albans (pictured)
The Rusty Gun, St Ippolyts
The Prae Wood Arms, St Albans
The Hour Hands team’s recommended Christmas recipes
Christine – Stollen
“This keeps really well in an air-tight container – a great standby for unexpected guests, or as a midnight treat when you arrive home from the pub!”
“This is a great meat alternative centrepiece for any Christmas dinner. It can be made in advance too, so takes away some of the stress if you’re catering for both vegetarians and meat eaters.”
Holly – Yule Log
“Get ahead of the Christmas rush and make this in advance, then freeze until you need it – if you can manage to wait that long, as once it’s cooking it smells divine!”
Gemma – Christmas Pudding
“This recipe is great as it can be made well in advance or just a few days before Christmas, so you can make it whenever you have a little spare time. It’s also nut-free, so great for those with allergies.”
Tamsin – Get-ahead Gravy
“Not everyone approves of this but we love this Jamie Oliver idea! By making your gravy well in advance using chicken wings, then freezing, you free up more time on Christmas Day.”
Dagmar – Bischopswijn
“This is our Dutch version of warming mulled wine – delicious on a cold day!”