SEVEN days and counting, if you are not prepared for Christmas take some inspiration and get your skates on.

Although the 'decks' are up in shop windows months in advance, the 25th nevertheless seems to creep up on us every year and there is the inevitable switch from feeling there is plenty of time to no time at all.

Not only does the day itself require traipsing round shops, it also requires a lot of planning - what, how much, and of course the timings.

First of all, decide what kind of festive feast you want.

Traditional turkey and standard trimmings or something different with a modern twist.

Why not satisfy everyone's tastes and land somewhere in between.

For those who want a decadent dining experience, head to Low Sizergh Barn where they have the perfect appetisers and aperitifs.

Quench the holiday thirst with a sweet and tasty tipple.

Choose between Lyme Bay Winery Christmas mead at £8.79/75cl or sparkling elderflower wine at £17.99/75cl.

Then whet your guests' appetites with a light and fresh fish starter of Loch Duart oak roasted flaky salmon at £5.45/100g, Port of Lancaster gravadlax at £6.99/200g or Inverawe triple salmon terrine at £6.90/350g.

For the piece de resistance, Plumgarths has a handy meat hamper at £60 to ease the burden of supermarket shopping.

This includes a 10-12lb turkey, 1.5lb sausage meat, 34 chipolatas, 1lb streaky bacon, one pack of sage and onion stuffing and a jar of cranberry sauce.

They also have free range bronze turkeys at £4.75/lb or white turkeys at £4.28/lb.

Christmas wouldn't be complete without pigs and blankets, which Kirkby Lonsdale Dales Butcher's has at £9.98/kilo.

They also have home-cured middle bacon at £11.98/kilo, great for wrapping around a date for the all important devil on horseback.

Picking the perfect veg for your special meal is not exactly easy so decide whether you want to do the traditional boiling, or liven up with your produce by roasting with garlic.

Of course, potatoes are a must on the merry menu.

Greenbanks, Kendal, has a 2kilo pack of all round potatoes at £1 - ideal for chopping up, par-boiling, sprinkling with flour and cooking with goose or duck fat for winning roasties.

They also have Brussels sprouts at £1.32/kilo and chestnuts at £5.50/kilo. Fry together with butter and bacon for a tasty twist on an otherwise divisive vegetable.

And if you are a veggie, make a delicious nut roast with hazelnuts, walnuts, squash and mushrooms at £3.20/kilo.

Try your meat with cranberry sauce with claret at £3.55/200g from The Honeypot, Hawkshead, where they have Cottage Delight venison pate at £4.99/190g jar - for an alternative to fish - plus something for after in the form of Quiggins Cumberland rum butter or brandy butter at £2.50/200g pot.

Get your dessert from Witherslack Community Stores where they have Cowmire Hall damson Christmas pudding at £2.50/small or £7.50/large and Mrs Darling's mince meat with brandy at £2.29/410g for making your own after dinner pies.

And for something sweet to finish, Grange Bakery has large Florentines with almonds, cherries, rich butter toffee and dark chocolate for £1.35 each and decorated gingerbread trees at £1.15 each.