Six time-savers for Christmas

Don't let all the chores mean you miss those moments of festive family magic. Try some of our shortcuts to take the seasonal pressure off.

Presents bought and wrapped? Turkey ordered? Christmas cards in the post? Sometimes even thinking about your Yuletide to-do list can be enough to stress you out.

And when you've got kids, saving a bit of time is even more crucial. After all, you don't want to miss a moment of magic when you're stuck doing the washing up.

So give yourself a break and take a look at our suggestions for some seasonal shortcuts. You'll have more time to open presents with the kids (and maybe even some left over to put your feet up and watch your favourite show's Christmas special).

Find one great go-to gift

When you're all gathered together opening your gifts, you'll want to buy them something unique. But when you're buying for far-flung friends and family, no one will mind if you use one present idea for several recipients.

Try choosing something close to your heart that you'd love to share as a present, like a favourite book, a treat from a place you love or a gift donation to a charity you care about.

Whizz through the seasonal laundry

From guest bedding to the best tablecloth, Christmas brings a mountain of laundry. Your kids might even have reached the age when they come home with bags of dirty clothes. But with Bold 2in1 washing capsules you can tackle it in no time.

There's no measuring, or juggling detergent and a separate fabric conditioner. You just pop in a capsule and start the machine, for laundry that looks and feels as good as new, with a long-lasting fragrance.

Shop when others don't

Is anything more exhausting than the Christmas crowds? Don't spend ages trying to fight your way through them with bulging bags while you shop for gifts.

Try taking advantage of extended opening hours to tick off everyone's wishlists. Most major shopping centres say the quietest times are right after opening or just before closing – giving you time to dash around and pick up what you need.

Get ahead with the kitchen prep

You don't have to do all the work for your Christmas feast on the day, leaving you wiped out before the first cracker has been pulled. Preparing as much as possible beforehand means you can enjoy all the jokes and fun before everyone tucks in.

Try parboiling veg like parsnips and potatoes for five minutes in advance then pop them in the freezer ready for roasting. Bread sauce, brandy butter and stuffing can all be made beforehand.

You can even prepare home-made gravy before the big day by roasting the turkey neck (if you have it) with chicken wings and veg.

Make gift wrapping easy

We've all been there: carefully taping tissue paper around those oddly shaped gifts only for an awkward corner to tear through the wrapping. Or searching in vain for the end of the sellotape.

Save yourself some trouble and stock up with ready-made gift bags and gift boxes. Pop the present inside and fill with colourful, scrunched-up tissue: a professional look, finished in moments.

Get Christmas sorted with the click of a mouse

When you're busy all day with work or the kids, it's hard to find time to visit the Post Office and shops in opening hours. But thanks to the internet, you can get half your Christmas chores done at home in your pajamas.

Try sending e-cards instead of paper cards – when they come with a charity donation it makes it much more meaningful. Shop online to work your way through your kids' wishlists and save your shoe leather for some little surprises or your hard-to-shop-for other half.

Tired of struggling with bags full of enough groceries to feed an army? Save yourself the trouble by ordering your big Christmas food shop online. Just remember that delivery slots can be in great demand, so book yours well in advance.

What's your favourite time-saving Christmas tip? Let us know your suggestions in the comments below.