Obviously, the timing for some of this will depend on when you plan to eat. I have assumed a 1.30 call to the table. If you want eat later, just adjust the times accordingly.
I have put the timings, temperatures etc for roasting turkey into a separate blog.
7.35 Send children packing. Haul self out of bed. Look for Weekend Guardian foolproof guide to panic-free Christmas. Eventually discover that it has been used for cat litter. It’s not unusuable. Turn on oven (for temperature, timings, etc, turn to Notes on Roasting Turkey. If you’re using 9-hour method, the turkey should’ve been in before you went to bed. Aaaaah)
Breakfast (regret second nerve tonic of the previous night. Regret first nerve tonic because it led to second nerve tonic): 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 energised.
8.am. Place turkey in oven (see Turkey Roasters Notes)
9.30 am. 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 & parsnips for roasting.
10.am Bribe/browbeat/blackmail kids into laying table (under supervision). Check their handiwork. White wine to fridge. Draw corks on red wine. Baste turkey
10.30 Test wine. Test wine again. Window for present opening.
11.45 am. Panic. Forgot to baste turkey. Baste furiously. Put saucepan containing pudding in basin into ring. Add water until it comes 2/3 of gthe way up the side of the bowl. Bring slowly to boil (after checking that you have tied a string a round the rim to ensure easy lifting at the end of cooking). Turn down to an easy-going simmer. Baste turkey again for luck. Try and remember everything on checklist.
12.00 noon. Place saucepan of water on to boil for boiling brussel sprouts.
12.45. It’s too late to panic. Remove foil. Splash slug of marsala/madiera/vermouth/white port/white wine over the turkey. Make that a second slug. And one for the chef. Baste like billy-ho. Toss brussel 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 up oven to 200C/400F/gas 8 to crisp potatoes, parsnips, anything else. Degrease roasting pan. Use remaining juices/gunk to make gravy. Discover you’re forgotten cranberry sauce. Wonder what Nigel/Nigella would do. Realise you’re not them. Abandon cranberry sauce.
1.30 pm Knock back stiff drink. Call troops to table. Begin carving. Brace yourself for “Why do we have to have turkey every Christmas?” “Turkey is sooooooooo boring.” “And it doesn’t taste of anything.” “It looks wonderful, dear.” Serve and eat.
2.45pm(approx). Lift pudding from water and turn out onto plate. Olace sprig of holly on top. Heat one small glass of brandy in saucepan until warm. Pour over pudding. Ignite. Stand by for “You know I hate Christmas pudding.” “Christmas pudding is soooooo boring.” “Why do we have to have Christmas pudding every year?” “It looks lovely, dear. Your mother’s recipe?”
3.45pm Subside into armchair and slide into well-deserved slumber.