If you're cooking your first-ever Christmas lunch (and are already having sleepless nights at the thought of it), or you're a pro, but just dreading the idea of all that recipe planning, shopping, chopping, prepping, cooking and getting the timing right, you'd do worse than buying one of the new Christmas Dinners In a Box. Measured out to the exact portion so you don't have spend hours working out weights and cooking timings most come with clear instructions and all the trimmings. Perfect, we think, for busy people. Here's our round up of what's on offer now, but remember these delivery companies sell out of boxes fast. As the great saying goes, the early bird gets the, er, turkey....
1. The Pick And Mix Menu
Forman and Field, the mail-order arm of Britain’s oldest established smoked salmon producer H Forman and Sons, offer everything from turkey to all the trimmings. Just pick how many people you are cooking for. Choose from the Traditional or Contemporary Menu and pick your starters, main, pudding and cheese. They even do mince pies and will suggest accompaniments to go with the meal, so you'll avoid those annual 'but we always have brandy butter' crisis. Sadly they do not send round Christmas Elves to cook or wash up for you, but it does save you that stressful Christmas Eve supermarket scrum to get the last remaining pack of sprouts (that noone will eat anyway). Earliest delivery 19th december. UK delivery.
2. The Easy-Cook Dinner
Catering for a family? M&S Festive Feast, £100, serves up to 6-10 people, and comes in at £16.67 a head. It contains everything from the turkey (an easy-to-cook turkey crown) with pork, sage & onion stuffing, pudding, cheese and biscuits, veg sides, yes, even the gravy. Anyone who doesn't like seeing food go to waste will love this, because once it's eaten, it's eaten, so no more turkey sandwiches for five days running....Last order date: 5pm on 15th December. Click and collect here.
3. The Gourmet Box
British fine foods four course Gourmet Four Course Christmas Lunch serves up to 6 people and comes in at £19.50 per person. It consists of smoked salmon starter, free range bronze turky, chipolatas, cranberry sauce, ale-soaked christmas pudding, brandy butter, and a cheeseboard of four fine British cheeses. We're loosening our waist buttons already at the thought of it! Last order date: Sunday 15th December by midday. Delivery date: Friday 20th December. Free UK delivery for orders over £100.
4. The Non Traditionalist Box
The innovator of the recipe kit, Gousto special Christmas Box is perfect for people who don't particularly care for the whole traditional turkey dinner and christmas pudding schtick. The menu begins a scottish smoked trout pâté on rye bread for a starter. Main course is slow-roasted pork belly, served with sautéed celeriac and red cabbage with sour cherries. And for desert: lemon syllabub with vanilla roasted clementines. All the ingredients are ready-measured and each course comes with a clear and colourful recipe card. £79.99 for 4 people, £139.99 for 8 people.