As much as we may love the idea of hosting Christmas dinner, it feels more daunting the faster the holiday approaches. How can you prepare for the big day with the least amount of stress? A Christmas dinner planner can keep you on track by organizing every item on your to-do list in advance. From invitations and table settings to recipes and cooking tips, learn how to plan your holiday meal with ease.
The Key To Holiday Hosting Success: A Christmas Dinner PlannerLast minute holiday planning not only leaves you exhausted but unable to enjoy your company and your hard-earned meal. With a little preparation and a thoughtful schedule, our Christmas dinner planner ensures that there’s plenty of time to enjoy the day.
How to Make a Christmas Dinner PlanWhat do I need for my Christmas dinner list? Planning a month in advance will give you plenty of time to organize the essentials. Follow this Christmas dinner planner timeline to prepare for the big day:
- One month before: Write down menu ideas and invite guests, determining who will contribute a menu item. Need to clean your oven? Heed this self-cleaning oven warning and use vinegar steam.
- 2 weeks before: Decorate the house and finalize your menu. Make sure you have the cookware and serving platters you need.
- 1 week before: Shop for non-perishables and prepare and freeze items like pie crust and cookie dough in advance.
- 3 days before: Shop for fresh ingredients, assemble side dishes like stuffing and casseroles, and store in the refrigerator.
- 1 day before: Set the table, prepare desserts, chop vegetables and herbs, organize beverages.
Classic Christmas Dinner RecipesWhile there are countless holiday menu ideas, the classic favorites are always a hit. These options offer a Christmas dinner menu for beginners and veterans alike:
- Glazed Ham: Choosing a “ready to eat” smoked ham means it’s already cooked, so all you have to do is warm it through in the oven. This baked ham with fruit glaze has a topping of apricot, peach, or pineapple preserves combined with mustard for a sweet and tangy flavor.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Ready in just 20 minutes, these Brussels sprouts with garlic and parmesan are full of flavor from garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese. Throw on extra cheese during the last few minutes of roasting for a savory, golden crust.
- Make-ahead Mashed Potatoes: This creamy comfort food can be completely cooked and assembled in advance, requiring only reheating on Christmas Day. The key to really good mashed potatoes? Don’t skimp on the butter, whole milk, and cream. Use a stand mixer to whip them to fluffy perfection.
- Shortbread Cookies: Christmas cookies are a holiday essential but can be time-consuming to make. These classic shortbread cookies have just three ingredients and come together in minutes for a sweet treat with hot chocolate or cider.
Christmas Dinner TipsA Christmas dinner planner would be incomplete without helpful shortcuts and time-saving ideas. These cooking tips can save both time and effort to create an easy Christmas dinner menu:
- Create a cooking schedule: Write down your menu for the day, including cooking times, temperatures, and when foods should be cooked or reheated. This can eliminate guesswork and provide your guests with a helpful guide when assisting you.
- Thaw frozen meats appropriately: Make sure you know how to thaw a turkey/ham safely and in enough time for your holiday meal. Thawing in the refrigerator is safest but will require more time.
- Prep food ahead of time: Whether it’s chopping vegetables or herbs or assembling casseroles, do as much as you can before the big day. Use the refrigerator to store side dishes and desserts up to 3 days in advance.