Book air, train or coach tickets as early as possible.
If you're planning to travel home for Christmas, book train or plane tickets now or make sure that your car is up to motorway driving and plan your route.
Book tickets to see a Christmas musical, ballet, pantomime or show.
One to two months beforehand
Check the opening times of your nearest store.
Most stores are open late in the lead-up to Christmas - for exact opening times of your local store.
Buy presents for work colleagues, friends, family and unexpected guests.
Be sure to purchase presents early to avoid disappointment. A good idea is to buy a few extra small gifts so you're prepared for those unexpected visitors.
Buy favors and decorations for your Christmas table.
Three weeks beforehand
Send out your Christmas cards and presents.
The last posting date for parcels depends on weight, so allow at least four more days.
Buy, decorate and put up your Christmas tree.
Remember the tree can go up anytime before Christmas Eve, but you should take it down on 6 January.
Decorate your house.
Plan your food and drink shopping list.
By this time you should know how many guests you are expecting for Christmas lunch or any other celebrations you're holding so you can plan accordingly.
Clear out your fridge and cupboards
so that you can begin to buy and store your Christmas goodies - start now by buying your non perishable goods.
Two weeks beforehand
Check that you have enough cutlery and crockery.
Buy Christmas party outfits if you haven't done so already!
Write out emergency contact numbers
that you might need during the Christmas period such as chemist, doctor, electricity and gas suppliers, emergency plumber and neighbors.
One week beforehand
Buy last minute drinks and perishable foods.
Write out a time plan for Christmas lunch so that you won't be in a panic on the day.
Buy blank videos to record Christmas TV shows and films.
Make sure your camcorder and camera are in working order and filled with batteries and film or tape.
Buy flowers and plants for your home.
Check that you have enough glasses, cutlery and crockery for every occasion.
Do something to help others.
Visit elderly neighbors, donate gifts to local hospitals and charity shops, or make a donation through Children's Promise.
Make sure you've got a pan big enough to hold the turkey.
Make sure you can get the turkey into the oven - have you got enough foil to cover it?
Check timings for cooking turkey (see Turkey Roasters' Notes, below).
Check you have enough plates.
Check you have enough serving dishes (for brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, stuffing).
Lay in liver/hangover treatments.
Make brandy butter.
Get 5p/10p/20p coins for Christmas pud.
Make/buy cranberry sauce.
Prepare alternative to Christmas pudding.
Remember who's gone vegetarian since last Christmas.
Make sure you have ingredients for said dishes.
Chocolate sardines will not do.
Check the booze supply.
Calculate probable calorific intake.
Calculate post-Christmas action plan to cope with excess.
Make plans to offload unused food items and unwanted presents.
Relax and stay calm if you're cooking dinner and make sure that your family and friends help out - and enjoy yourself!
7.35am : Send children packing.
Haul self out of bed.
Turn on oven.
Lightly boiled egg; a single slice of wholemeal toast with lashings of butter and soothing, energy-rich Kashmiri honey. Coffee. Tangerine. Rise from table fully energized .
8am : Place turkey in oven
9.30am : Start warming plates and serving dishes.
Arrange tray for pre-lunch drinks, plus bowls for nibbles.
Mop up sick from child who overdosed on chocolate coins in stocking.
Blanch potatoes and parsnips for roasting.
10am : Bribe/browbeat/blackmail kids into laying table (under supervision).
Check their handiwork.
White wine to fridge.
Uncork red wine.
Baste tastebuds with wine.
Window for present-opening.
11.45am : Put saucepan containing pudding in basin on to cooker ring.
Add water until it comes two-thirds of the way up the side of the bowl.
Bring slowly to boil (check you have tied a string around the rim, to ensure easy lifting).
Turn down to an easygoing simmer.
Baste turkey again for luck.
12 noon : Put pan of water on to boil for brussels sprouts.
Parboil potatoes and parsnips, place in oven in roasting tin.
12.45pm : Remove foil.
Splash slug of marsala/madeira/vermouth/white port/white wine over the turkey.
Make that a second slug.
Toss brussels sprouts into boiling water.
Take cheese out of cool storage to bring to room temperature.
1pm : Move turkey to a warm spot where it can relax and unwind.
Turn oven up to 200C/400F/gas mark 8 to crisp potatoes, parsnips, anything else.
Degrease roasting pan.
Use remaining juices/gunk to make gravy.
Knock back stiff drink.
Call troops to table. Brace yourself for, 'Why do we have to have turkey every Christmas?' And/or, ' Turkey is soooooo boring!' And/or, 'And it doesn't taste of anything'. And/or, 'It looks wonderful, dear.'
Serve and eat.
2.45pm : (approx)
Lift pudding from water and turn out on to plate.
Place sprig of holly on top.
Heat one small glass of brandy in saucepan until warm.
Pour over pudding.
Subside into armchair and slide into well-deserved slumber.
Turkey Roasters' Notes
Take the bird out of the fridge the night before.
Take out the breastbone before roasting. Run the tip of a very sharp knife up or down either side of the breastbones, then cut through the base of each bone where it joins the main carcass and gently lever away the two sides, cutting some more if necessary, then twist the detached breastbone around until it breaks away from the top of the carcass.
You will need plenty of kitchen towel on hand to hold on to the slippery bones.
This will make carving so much easier and quicker that it is well worth doing.
Cook the bird unstuffed. It will cook better, and the stuffing will taste better, too.
If you insist on stuffing the bird, give the cooking an additional 20-30 minutes on top of the timings given above.
Cover the turkey with foil to stop it burning/ drying out during cooking.
Remove for the final 40 minutes.
Rotate the turkey while roasting. The legs take longer to cook through, so place it on one side and then the other, with the breast down.
Place breast up for the final phase only.
Baste every 20 minutes or so.
Let the cooked turkey rest for at least 40 minutes.
Make stock from the giblets and add to the degreased pan at the end of roasting to make gravy.
NEVER overload sockets
ALWAYS turn off Christmas tree lights when going out or going to bed
NEVER let Christmas tree lights touch curtains or any flammable materials
For outdoor lighting ALWAYS use weatherproof bulbs and sockets
If you have a fuse box (and not a circuit breaker) ALWAYS make sure you have the correct size fuze wire handy.
NEVER use substitutes such as ordinary wire or hair pins.
NEVER use scotch tape or plaster
When joing sets of light together, ALWAYS use proper electrical connectors
ALWAYS turn off your stove when leaving the house even though you may just be popping to the shop for a few minutes
NEVER overload electrical circuits
ALWAYS unplug heat producing applicances e.g. toasters, toaster ovens, electric kettles, electric frying pans and irons when not in use. On/off switches can fail
If your gas oven flame goes out, ALWAYS remember to switch off the gas, open your windows, air the oven to allow the gas build-up to escape before re-lighting.