6 essentials to remember for Christmas

Christmas dinner requires military-style planning. As anyone who knows a little about military campaigns, this means that some vital piece of equipment is usually forgotten. We thought we would jog your memory well in advance.

  1. "You mean you forgot cranberry too?" as the Waitresses sang on Christmas Wrapping. Don’t neglect the cranberry sauce. For many of us, it’s the only condiment that makes turkey tolerable. If you don't have time, don’t worry about making your own from fresh cranberries. The stuff in the little glass jars is perfect.
  2. Brandy. That Christmas pudding won’t light itself. You’ll find that sherry won’t ignite, and there are few acceptable substitutes. Oil will leave your pudding deep-fried rather than lightly warmed, and gin leaves a strange aftertaste.
  3. Nut crackers. Remember Grandpa dismantled them last year trying to break the resistance of a stubborn walnut? A big bowl of nuts without crackers is a recipe for fractured molars or splintered door hinges.
  4. Grape juice. Kids like to feel they are joining in the festivities with a sophisticated-looking drink in a wine glass. If they prefer red, offer some vintage Ribena.
  5. Rennies. If you are eating to excess (and, let's face it, you are) it’s best to have a remedy to hand. Other indigestion tablets are available.
  6. Paper hankies. Family get-togethers at Christmas have a tendency to revive all those little niggles and grievances of the past. Fuel with inhibition-loosening alcohol and there are bound to be tears before tea-time. Have the tissues ready for those little personal emergencies.

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