An “Ahead of Time” Advent Calendar for the Holidays

The few weeks before Christmas are like a marathon, where, in addition to buying gifts, there’s a menu to plan, especially when hosting. To make it to the finish line—and without being exhausted—you have to know how to prepare in advance. That’s why we came up with this “ahead of time” Advent calendar to prepare recipes up to two months before Christmas, for a stress-free holiday season!

One to two months before Christmas

Meat pies and tourtières

From the beginning of November, you can start preparing dishes that freeze. This works for items like traditional meat pies (also called tourtières), which we make with a mixture of ground pork and veal. And to please those who don’t eat meat, try this generous meatless tourtière with chickpeas and mushrooms that can also be frozen.


Meatball and pigs’ feet stew is another classic holiday dish. And because shaping the 85 or so meatballs in this recipe requires patience and time, avoid doing it the day before, especially if you plan to double the recipe!


No matter the occasion, doughnuts are always a smash hit. This recipe for gluten-free cinnamon doughnut holes that can be frozen promises to be a huge success with guests, especially those who are gluten intolerant. And with a yield of 48 doughnut holes, you can definitely spoil your loved ones with these sweet treats. 


What cake falls into the category of desserts that don’t need to be frozen, and actually need the extra time to allow the flavours to soak in? Traditional fruitcakes. Brushing the cake with alcohol for a month helps it develop its characteristic taste.

Up to two weeks before


In addition to being easy to make, meringues can be kept for two to three weeks in the refrigerator. This cranberry meringue recipe is distinguished by its pink colour, which gives it a festive air.

Cheese platter accompaniments

Are you planning to serve a cheese platter as an appetizer? Now’s the time to think about the accompaniments that will enhance your presentation. These roasted nuts with pepper and truffle oil, which can be kept for two weeks in an airtight container, or persimmon chutney, that keeps for nearly a month, are the perfect choices.

A holiday yule log

This log is a must-have on the Christmas table. And the good news is that the majority of cakes freeze. This is the case for this delicious raspberry log. You can also prepare the rest of the dessert the day before and refrigerate it until the next day. And if there’s no more time, you can always opt for a ready-to-eat version.

Up to a week before

A gingerbread house

The holidays are fast approaching and the kids are going wild with counting the sleeps until the big day. Take advantage of the weekend before Christmas to get them to help out with this perfect culinary project that will add to the magic: making a gingerbread house.

Gourmet gifts

How about a gourmet gift to say thank you to your children’s teachers? They’ll be happy to receive  caramel, lime and coconut popcorn or chocolate cookies, presented in a glass jar and adorned with a pretty ribbon.

Sweet bites

Amongst the holiday sweets that are one-bite treats, you’ll find these classic maple fudge squares, always popular with those who like a little something special. They can be kept in an airtight container and can also freeze very well.

Two days before Christmas


The children are home from school so put their artistic talents to the test with these cookies to decorate. It’s a good way to keep them busy and let their creativity shine!

Turkey brining

It’s been two days since the turkey thawed in the refrigerator. Now is the time to brine it, which is done about 24 to 48 hours before cooking. You can opt for a dry brine, like in this turkey recipe with spices and honey, or a liquid brine, which is suitable for smaller pieces of meat, like a turkey roast, for example.


Don’t wait until the last minute to cook this duck terrine to serve as a starter. Once cooked, the preparation must be refrigerated for at least 8 hours for a dish that will delight duck lovers.

The day before

Vegetable sides

It is not always necessary to wait until the day of to prepare your vegetable sides that include mashed potatoes. The secret is to give them a slightly softer texture than desired by adding a little more milk.

Soups and stews

Prepare the soups and stews that will accompany your holiday meal the day before, like this tasty cream of squash and fennel soup with pink peppercorn. Amp up the presentation by adding fennel fronds, chopped parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and pink peppercorns.

Punch and cocktails

Several aperitif drinks can be assembled in less than 10 minutes; others, however, need time to rest, like this Christmas sangria that must be refrigerated 24 hours to allow the holiday flavours to permeate the mixture. This cherry punch can be made the same day, but it has the advantage of keeping for 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. It’s a good way to shorten the list of things to do on the day you host.

The day of

Turkey accompaniments

The turkey is in the oven and the house smells wonderful. To accompany your holiday bird, stuffing and gravy are two musts. This traditional apple-sausage stuffing recipe can be made while the turkey is resting. 

Bites and appetizers

Assembling bites to offer with an aperitif is often one of the last tasks to be done before the arrival of guests. We prefer quick recipes such as these dates stuffed with blue cheese or these artichoke and mandarin canapés. Each yields 24 bites and requires less than 30 minutes of preparation. (Unless you want to double the recipe, of course!)

Want to get even more ahead for your holiday meals? Here is a list of Christmas desserts to freeze: