Countdown to Christmas – two weeks to go!


Can’t think beyond turkey and stuffing? This week in our pre-Christmas planning series, we challenge you to plan EVERY meal in your Christmas week.

Every week until Christmas, Nerissa Buckell from online gifts, homewares and accessories website Crimson Tiger is sharing her tips for a stress-free festive season with us. This week she shares her food planning sheet, and homemade mincemeat recipe for perfect mince pies.

Plan all your Christmas meals

As I have learned over the years, food planning is a great tool for avoiding the stress of coming in from work/school clubs and panicking that you have nothing in to eat.

In my household I always food plan for the week working around clubs, busy days, and those days when no one is able to eat at the same time.

It also avoids that constant question from the family as one by one, they used to walk in to the kitchen and ask what’s for dinner. It is now written on my calendar and they have to look for themselves – or face the death stare. Organised Mum calendars are brilliant as they have a space for food planning, shopping lists and to do list.

By now you should know who, what, when, where for the two weeks of Christmas and New Year and so I’ve created a food planner for you (below) to copy. Fill it out, cook and freeze what you can now and the rest make sure you have on your food order/shopping list.

christmas food planner

Get your party outfits ready

It’s also time to check that you have everything for the parties and work dos and quickly get dry cleaned or washed any outfits that need it.

Bake mince pies

Nothing says Christmas quite like mince pies. This is my friend Julie’s recipe for vegetarian mincemeat which is so easy and can also be used with filo pastry to make mincepie cigarettes, with puff pastry to make an alternative to Christmas pudding, or mixed with clotted ice cream.


  • 450g mixed fruit (anything like Sultanas, currents, dried cranberries)
  • 225g chopped dates
  • 560g peeled and chopped apples
  • 50g chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 430ml Guinness or dry cider
  • 5 tablespoons whisky or brandy


  1. Put all fruits and spices into a large pan with the Guiness or dry cider. Bring to boil.
  2. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Cool the mixture, then add the alcohol.
  4. Store in airtight sterilised jars until ready to use.

Looking for Christmas gift inspiration? You’ll find plenty of good ideas at Crimson Tiger.

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