How to Plan for Christmas Dinner

Christmas is a wonderful time of year to welcome friends and family into our homes to share in the festivities of the holidays—but—planning for a Christmas dinner during the busiest time of year can add stress!  Jennifer Carver, of Spaceships and Laser Beams, is here to share 4 helpful tips to assist you in planning for Christmas dinner.

#1- Plan early for your Christmas meal.  Prior to Christmas, choose your menu.  Gather favorite recipes, and consider testing out any new recipes you’d like to serve.  Don’t forget to take into consideration any dietary restrictions or needs of guests who will be in attendance.  Be on the hunt for any hard-to-find ingredients you will need for the meal.

Once you’ve finalized your menu, I suggest making a list of the varied ingredients needed to accomplish the meal.  Consider organizing your ingredients list into two columns.  Dividing your ingredients into perishable and non-perishable will help you as you are shopping.  You can purchase non-perishable items as soon as possible or as they go on sale.  Reserve items like fresh veggies and fruits, garnish, dairy and meats for purchasing the week of Christmas.

#2- Clean out your refrigerator and pantry to make room for Christmas dinner food storage.  If you’ve ever unloaded your car to discover a packed fridge and disorganized pantry, you can appreciate the importance of this tip!  Before doing the bulk of your shopping, take an afternoon to discard spoiled food and expired items.  Make some simple meal plans to use ingredients taking up needed refrigerator space.  Find a local food bank to donate excess non-perishables residing in your pantry.  Keep only the essentials on hand.

#3- Make a food prep schedule for your Christmas meal.  Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, and nobody wants to be stuck in the kitchen all of Christmas day.  Take a few minutes to determine which parts of the Christmas meal you can prepare ahead of time and save actual cooking and baking on Christmas for only the “have to”.   On any menu items that must be prepared the day of, make a timeline of cook times and temperatures.  This will help you organize your time and space to accomplish the final cooking in the most efficient manner possible.

#4- Set your Christmas table several days ahead. There is nothing quite like dining at a beautifully set table.  But, juggling a house full of guests, the cooking and all of the other seasonal prep that goes with Christmas can be overwhelming if left to the last day.  Several days prior, set aside a few hours to tackle the dining table place settings and décor.  Select linens and press them to lay as the foundation for a beautiful table.  Choose china, flatware, stemware and any accents like candles, place cards or small gifts.  Create a festive centerpiece. You can also download adorable printable Christmas placecards and decor to create a personalized experience.

Taking the time to plan ahead for a beautiful Christmas dinner will lighten your load and help you be a guest at your own Christmas gathering…isn’t that a merry thought?!

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