The infamous Christmas dinner is arguably the best and most looked forward to meal of the year. So, you probably don’t want to mess it up for your housemates. To save the inevitable stress and arguments on the day, here are our top tips for cooking a banging Christmas dinner that your friends will be talking about into the new year.

Prepare well and shop smart

Obviously, there is a big element of preparation that goes into cooking Christmas dinner (hats off to parents who manage it every year!). Before you venture out to your nearest supermarket and get the goods, it would probably be wise to make a list of everything you need. Not only will this save you time whilst there debating what you need and how much of it, but it will almost definitely save you some money by stopping you from buying too much food. Make a list of how many people are eating and what elements of the Christmas dinner you’re going to attempt, and you’ll be thankful for it in the shops.

When it comes to the actual supermarket shop, the best way to do Christmas dinner on a budget would be to go to places like Aldi and Lidl. Let’s face it, not everyone can afford Waitrose finest at university and often, Aldi and Lidl do a cracking job anyway for half the price.

Rally the troops

Unless you want the pride of saying you cooked the Christmas dinner by yourself but also sacrificing your sanity along the way, it would probably be wise to get your housemates to help you. Depending on how many people you live with, this could mean putting some people in charge of the veg, some in charge of the meat, some in charge of the extras (potatoes, pigs in blankets etc) and then the less competent cooks in charge of dessert.

Timing is key for any meal, but particularly with a Christmas dinner. Make sure that everyone knows what they’re doing so that you don’t end up with a plate full of charcoaled remnants of what could’ve been a very nice meal.

Get in the festive spirit

Maybe those who are not so gifted in the cooking department could instead decorate the house and create a festive playlist to put on whilst you’re eating your food. Christmas just doesn’t feel like Christmas without copious amounts of fairy lights, badly cut paper snowflakes and tinsel. This doesn’t have to be expensive – Poundland sell an excellent array of decorations for (you guessed it) a pound.

Don’t forget the table decorations either! A Christmas dinner wouldn’t be the same without pulling crackers and spending the rest of the meal trying to work out what the toy you got inside actually does.

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Arm yourself with cooking utensils

Along with rallying the troops, you will also need to rally their baking trays, pots, pans and cutlery. Particularly if you’re cooking for more than a couple of people, you’ll end up using more cooking equipment than you thought you would.

With giving away your cooking equipment in the name of a fantastic Christmas dinner, it’s a good idea if you have a way of distinguishing what is yours so that you can claim your things easily from the pile of washing up at the end of the night. This is especially crucial with silver cutlery, as it all seems to look exactly the same.

Alcohol is always the answer

Unless you’re sensible and don’t drink, then involving alcohol in your Christmas dinner plans is a must. This way, if everything does go wrong and you end up with no dinner at all, it won’t seem so bad.

If you’re a classy household, you might choose some nice wine or prosecco (on offer, of course), or you might decide to keep it simple and get the beers in. Whatever you choose, the opportunity to turn the house Christmas meal into a messy night out is one that shouldn’t be missed at any cost.

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Do your bit with the washing up

No one actually likes washing up the dishes, even more so if they’re not yours. However, don’t let your mates do all the dirty work and get stuck in. You’ll never hear the end of it if you don’t.

Once you’ve got dinner sorted, start planning the best Christmassy films to watch afterwards.