The food, the drinks, the decorations: it can all get a bit stressful. So, we've researched the best books, courses and experts to lend you a helping hand this year...

The Dress

1. The Cooking Course

Christmas Dinner Party, Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons

Fed up of slaving away over a hot stove while everyone else enjoys the party? Us too. That's why we're booking into Raymond Blanc's acclaimed cookery school in Oxford for its festive one-day tuition course. Head Tutor Mark Peregrine will be showing you how to whip up quick, easy and (most importantly) mouth-watering dishes that will give you more time to spend with guests. Plus, this particular class just happens to be housed in a honey-coloured 15th century hotel and restaurant with not one, but two Michelin stars...

The Crafty Class

2. The Crafty Class

Luxury Christmas Garland, Philippa Craddock

We love handmade Christmas decorations (and we're not talking about the papier-mâché snowman we hide at the back of the tree each year - sorry kids). And, what better person to help you create your very own bespoke garland than award-winning florist, Philippa Craddock. Held in her cosy studio in East Sussex - complete with wood burning stove - you can select your favourite spruce, foliage and finishing touches to create a unique table, bannister or mantelpiece decoration.

The Blog

3. The Blog

Top with Cinnamon

Hailed as the 'new Nigella' and championed by the likes of Jamie Oliver and Vogue, Izy Hossack is the green-haired (yes, green-haired) 19-year-old taking the food blogging world by storm. From gooey flourless brownies made with vegetables to indulgent tofu fridge cake, her experimental recipes - inspired by her American/Italian mum and aimed at those with a sweet tooth - are the perfect treats for guests and make great little conversation starters. Mixing bowls at the ready…

The Book

4. The Book

The Spirits: A Guide to Modern Cocktailing

There's nothing like a well-shaken (or stirred) cocktail to get a party started. If, like us, you weren't born with the natural bar-tending ability of Brian Flanagan - aka Tom Cruise in Cocktail - then help is at hand. Cue journalist, blogger and self-proclaimed cocktail obsessive Richard Godwin and his brilliant guide to mastering the art of mixology. Aimed at the amateur cocktail-maker, it covers practicalities - tools, recipes and techniques - as well as witty trivia about each delicious drink. Chin, chin...

The Wrapping Company

5. The Wrapping Company


If we had to pick one thing we didn't enjoy about Christmas (and there aren't many), it would be wrapping: the dog runs off with the ribbon, you run out of paper, and don't even get us started on finding the end of the cello tape. That's where Wrapsody comes in. Its expert 'wrapologists' will create bespoke looks to match 'any person, event or budget' from their Hampstead studios, and will even take delivery of your online shopping, wrap it and send it straight to the lucky recipient's door.

The Festive Dressing Guide

The Festive
Dressing Guide

See how to style our favourite
pieces for the festive season.

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Hit List


Get that festive feeling with
our Christmas culture round-up.

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Christmas wish list

wish list

YOU magazine's Online Editor picks her
favourite pieces for the festive period.

Read more