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Christmas is fast approaching and once the presents have been bought, it’s time to turn our attention to the all-important food shop.
There’s no other time of year that instills horror into the minds of supermarket shoppers quite like Christmas.
Whilst some people don’t mind queuing for hours with bulging trollies full of food, others like to streamline the process to make it as easy as possible.
If booking time slots, last delivery dates and car-park queues send you into a festive meltdown, read on.
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The best day to do your Christmas supermarket shop
Historically, the Monday before Christmas has been hailed the busiest food shopping day of the year. It’s called Mayhem Monday for a reason, people.
With this year’s Mayhem Monday also falling - rather inconveniently - on Christmas Eve, we can expect even busier supermarkets.
That said, the savviest shoppers will still collect their fresh veg and turkey the day before Christmas but will leave very early in the morning (we’re talking 6am) to avoid the rush.
Most supermarkets allow you to book a time slot to pick up your Christmas goodies, so take advantage of the early opening times and be there as soon as it opens for the “fullest, freshest and quickest shop”, according to Morrison’s supermarket analysis.
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Booking your Christmas online shopping slot
Planning ahead is the best thing you can do when it comes to the Christmas online food shop as many supermarkets will release their shopping slots early (we like to see it as the Glastonbury of food).
If you’re keen to get the very best slot, it’s worth signing up to your chosen supermarket’s loyalty scheme.
For example, anybody with a Morrison’s Delivery Pass can already book their slot, whereas if you don’t have a Delivery Pass, you have to wait until 27 November for the coveted Christmas week slots.
Here are some all-important Christmas delivery dates to keep in mind. These dates are for regular customers, but most supermarkets offer secret slots for loyalty customers.
ASDA: 18 November
Ocado/Waitrose: Already available
Morrisons: 27 November
Tesco: 30 November
Sainsbury’s: 30 November
When’s the last date I can do my Christmas food shop?
You can do your Christmas shop in-store on 24 December if you want, but you will be limited to what food is available.
Most people pre-order their turkeys and Christmas dinner staples, so it’s not as simple as just walking into a store and picking up the freshest ingredients (like you would at any other time of year).
Stocks start to dwindle by the afternoon on Christmas eve and as most supermarkets are shut on Christmas Day, there won’t be any extras lying around in the back for you to get your hands on.
Meanwhile, if you want to do an online shop (because let’s face it, it’s easier), you will have to place your orders by mid-December as many supermarkets have a final date for online orders, for example Waitrose is the 15th of December.
The ultimate Christmas food checklist
Now we’re prepared for the day, it’s time to create a list to ensure you’ve got everything you need.
Nearly half of us are worried that we’ll forget a key ingredient or item as part of our Christmas shopping, and 1 in 12 of us has forgotten to buy a turkey (yep, really) for our Christmas meal in the past, a survey by Waitrose & Partners recently revealed.
This checklist will help you to prepare the perfect Christmas, whatever you’re planning.
Not everybody has a starter, but if you do decide to have one, keep it light. It’s also a good idea to have a selection of nibbles and hors d'oeuvre available to graze on.
Turkey (or chosen meat or vegetarian/vegan option)
Pigs in blankets (if you’re making yourself you’ll need pork chipolatas and streaky bacon)
Goose fat (if you’re planning to make your potatoes yourself)
A selection of sauces (cranberry, mint, horseradish dependent on the meat)
Brandy (if you’re planning to light the pudding)
Alternative dessert if required
Tubs/boxes of chocolates
After dinner dark chocolate mints