Jazz up some shop-bought mincemeat to make your mince pies the envy of your friends. Add some lemon and lime zest, dried cherries and a splash of good brandy.
Before Christmas starts, make a couple of versatile dishes such as fish pie or lasagne and freeze them ready to be whipped out when people pop round at late notice.
Add some spices like star anise, cloves, cinnamon, bay and peppercorns or juniper berries, clementines, pomegranate or cranberries to your favourite bottle of spirit. Leave overnight or preferably for a month.
Make your own napkin rings by attaching chillies, rosemary, flowers and thistles to ribbon then tying them around your napkins.
Use newspaper and colourful magazine paper to wrap your presents this year. It’s cheap and people will appreciate your creativity!
Don’t spend money on expensive wreaths – make your own using wild holly, ivy and mistletoe you can pick yourself. They will make your house smell fresh and Christmassy.
Stud a few oranges in your fruit bowl with cloves – they will give off a lovely spiced Christmassy smell.
Turn your empty jam jars into beautiful tea-light holders by tying festive ribbon around the top with an ivy leaf or cinnamon stick.
Use scrap paper, card, newspapers or even old books for the paper, and glitter, ribbons, stamps and buttons for decoration.
For a creative money-saver, cut out colourful pages from magazines, newspapers or old Christmas cards to create paper chains to decorate your house.
Get the kids mixing dough, cutting shapes and piping icing, then thread the biscuits with ribbon and hang them from the tree.
Order your food online this year. It will save you time and you’ll skip the last-minute scramble in the supermarket on Christmas eve.
Once you’ve finished with your biscuit cutters, tie them with ribbons to use as impromptu tree decorations, or hang them from your windows.
Make your own gifts this year. Chilli chutney is an easy one and everyone loves it with a good cheeseboard for a real festive treat.
Sew your chillies together and hang them around the house to dry – they will look beautifully festive and come in handy when you need a bit of spice in a recipe.
Thinly slice some oranges and lemons and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake at 100°C for 3 hours, until dried. Thread a little ribbon through and hang them on the tree.
Toss some of your spiced sugar with fresh popcorn then, using a needle and thread, attach the corn in long strands. Quick as a flash you’ll have edible tinsel to decorate your tree.
Whether you’re having turkey, goose, beef, pork or ham, order it early from your local butcher or have a look online to find great suppliers that deliver to your door.
Save on the washing up and, instead of boiling your veg on the hob, wrap them in foil with a lovely herb butter and roast in the oven. It will save on cooking space too.
Make a quick mackerel pâté. Skin some cooked fillets and whizz up with some crème fraîche, dill, lemon zest and juice, capers and black pepper. Serve with mini toasts.
Flavoured sugars are great scattered over grilled fruit, porridge and cereal. Whizz up the zest of a citrus fruit, a spice like vanilla and granulated sugar in a processor. Leave on a tray overnight until hard, then smash it up and put it in an airtight jar.
Make your stuffing mix a week or two in advance, transfer it to a freezer bag and store it in the freezer. That’s one less thing to do on the big day!
Putting crosses in the bottom of your sprouts is an old wives’ tale to ward off the devil. It actually makes them go soggy, so don't do it!
Turn old Christmas decorations into personalised place settings.
Spice up your sprouts by frying them with some smoked streaky bacon tossed through.
Make a time plan for the couple of days leading up to Christmas and for the big day. You will find you can prep most things in advance, leaving you time to enjoy yourself on the day.
Don’t worry about putting everything in the oven at the same time. Your turkey will be the better for a good hour’s resting if it’s kept hot under foil and tea towels, and it leaves space in the oven for your veg and potatoes.
Remember to check your roasting tray is big enough for your turkey and small enough to fit in your oven. If it doesn’t, go and buy one before it's too late!
Make the most of your store-cupboard staples and give them a festive twist. Whizz up basil, garlic or roasted red peppers with mayonnaise to create quick condiments that spice up your leftover meat.
Heat through some quality cider, add two cinnamon sticks, the zest and juice of a clementine and a lemon, a vanilla pod, a pinch of cloves and a sprinkling of sugar. Leave to cool for 30 minutes then reheat, strain through a sieve and serve.
Keep vegetable peel in the freezer then, chop your cleaned turkey bones so they fit into a big saucepan, add your peelings and fill with water. Simmer for a few hours to make a rich stock, then transfer into airtight containers.
Herbs butters are amazing melted over veg and roast meat. Finely chop your favourite herb then stir it through soft butter, roll it in greaseproof paper then freeze it. Once hard, cut into rounds and keep cold.
Making your own Christmas pudding and mincemeat means you can get the recipe just as you like it. Here’s what we think makes the perfect Christmas pudding