Shopping for food at Christmas is a minefield at the best of times, but the pandemic adds an extra layer of confusion and panic.
To keep it exciting and as relaxing as befits the season, heed the advice from the experts.
Prepare but don’t stockpile
In a year when the stockpiling has made headlines, it’s easy to imagine legions of shoppers emerging from supermarkets, trolleys filled to the brim with towers of mince pies, stuffing and stilton.
Supermarkets are pleading with shoppers to be considerate this festive period. Tesco chief executive Jason Tarry, for example, said: “Our stock levels are good, so there’s no need to buy more of your regular groceries than normal.”
Tarry suggests shopping earlier than normal in order to beat the rush come December.
Book your slot ahead
Many of the UK’s major supermarkets are releasing festive bookings over the next few weeks.
Tesco’s Christmas slots launch on November 13, Sainsbury’s from November 29, while Waitrose says deliveries between December 20-24 have been bookable for a few weeks, and Asda’s kicked off last Friday.
Sainsbury’s are predicting 750,000 home delivery orders per week by Christmas. Marks & Spencer, in addition to its regular delivery slots through Ocado, has just launched a ‘Sparks Book & Shop’ service, whereby customers can book a time to shop in-store, thereby foregoing queues.
Ring-fenced slots for elderly or vulnerable customers will continue at most major supermarkets.
Some supermarkets have placed limits on certain items throughout the year – at Tesco, for example, you can still only purchase three of certain essentials, including flour, dried pasta and canned vegetables.
Festive items are not expected to join the list. At Asda there are currently no restrictions, while Waitrose say it’s too early to tell whether shortages will hamper Christmas shopping.
Lidl has no plans to restrict items and any changes are at store managers’ discretion.
Mix up your menu
With rules on household mixing in December still uncertain, most people’s plans are not set in stone. Will there be two people at the table, or 12? Is a 5kg turkey overkill?