Marks & Spencer’s full festive food menu including Colin the Caterpillar in a Christmas jumper

The countdown to Christmas has officially begun. We know it may seem early, but with Marks & Spencer releasing their full festive menu it's time to start planning ahead.

Whether you're hosting a big Christmas at yours or want to ensure you have some luxurious items to take to your loved ones, M&S has made more than 500 of their festive items available to pre-order now. This is through its Food to Order service where you can book and pay for your Christmas dinner along with any other treats in advance of the big day for extra ease.

Your food order will then be available to collect closer to Christmas, avoiding those busy supermarket queues we all know and hate. The M&S service that became available today (Tuesday, 26 September), will be open until December 11, however, it could depend on availability of slots.

In order to avoid disappointment, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially if you want to get ahead this Christmas. The demand for the M&S Food to Order service can be huge during the festive period and slots are known to get booked up quickly.

What's even better is that you can make changes to your order for last minute additions. And your order will be available to collect right up until Christmas Eve – festive shopping has never been so easy.

M&S's Food to Order service works in four easy steps:

1. Book a slot – first you choose your collection date and the time that best suits you.

2. Start shopping – browse and choose your festive essentials from over 500 items with just a £50 deposit.

3. Top up your order – if you're having a last minute panic on how much food you need or forgot the pigs in blankets, you can amend your items, collection store and time slot if needed.

4. Collect in store – avoid the busy pre-festive queues and collect your items between 22-24 December and pay the outstanding balance, simple.

The M&S festive menu has a range of mouthwatering new products to try along with their returning favourites, including Colin the Caterpillar Cake in a Christmas jumper. Prices start from just £5 for 12 vegetable spring rolls and up to £45 for a 2.93kg turkey with all the trimmings.

Here are some of our favourites from the M&S festive menu for some extra inspiration.

With the gathering of relatives and friends, the M&S party food range is guaranteed to have everything you need. From Best Ever Prawn Toast (248g) for £7 to the M&S Collection Pulled Beef and Potato Rosti Towers (325g) for £7, both of which are available from October 18.

The iconic M&S Colin the Caterpillar has made a triumphant return for this year, as he's now donning a fetching Christmas jumper, previous years have seen the character as an ice skater and elf. Costing £12, he's a loved cake all around and will be available from December 13.

Nothing says Christmas like glowing tipples that not only taste good but are great for a festive centrepiece. This year M&S will introduce its Very Berry Vodka Liqueur, Stollen Rum Liqueur and a Marmalade Gin Liqueur.

Each light-up bottle costs £15 for 50cl and are available in stores now.

Christmas is the one time that we can fully indulge without the guilt of eating too much. One item that we're particularly excited about is the M&S Baked Brie EnCroute which is sure to see cheese lovers flocking to M&S.

The tear and share creamy brie is wrapped in a handcrafted all-butter puff pastry and is available to buy from £16.

For dessert, there will be M&S's Trifle Caked Alaska made from digestive biscuit crumb, topped with a creamy Madagascan vanilla batter and berries. You won't have to wait for this one as it's available to buy now for £12.50.

And to top it all off is the dreamy Collection Winter Wreath, made from vanilla and Belgian chocolate mousse with a crunchy biscuit base and chocolate woodland decorations. Serving 10 you can purchase the indulgent dessert for £25.

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