We know you can get everything you need for a Christmas lunch pre-cooked and preparation-free nowadays but where’s the fun in that? We prefer to launch ourselves into the thick of the kitchen action, glass of mulled wine and recipe screenshots in hand, to give it our best shot. Some of our fondest Christmas memories involve shopping en masse, ahead of the big day, for ingredients both traditional (potatoes and veg) and more adventurous (roast goose wrapped in bacon, anyone?). Fortunately we find people are particularly forgiving when they’re feeling festive (and tipsy).

You’ll need to be prepared, so wrap up warm and head out to a local market with your housemates, post-pub, to stock up. We’re full of admiration for specialist traders who’ve dedicated their lives to doing one thing and doing it very well, especially when it champions a traditional skill. We’re visiting London’s Borough Market and the ‘butcher, baker and candlestick-maker’, as the old nursery rhyme goes. Ask stall-owners what they’d recommend and how best to cook it – if you’re tired of turkey, try something different, like goose or lamb, and pick up stuffing to go with it. Buy a bird or joint that will provide too much meat for Christmas Day then team up with the most skilled cook you know to turn it into sandwiches, bubble and squeak or soup.

All the trimmings make all the difference so, for us, piles of steaming, glistening roast potatoes are a must and when it comes to vegetables, we just make sure we eat enough of them to offset the decadence of every other dish. Crackers – whether they’re fancy or the supermarket’s own shiny version – always improve the mood of a festive gathering and stock up your drinks shelf – booze can go a long way towards masking any mishaps. Cheers!

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