How to Prepare for a Christmas Dinner or Party
Once Thanksgiving is over the holiday rush begins: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and sale after sale after sale. Everywhere you turn another sign is advertising great savings and holiday joy. Taking time to enjoy the holidays is often lost in all the shopping and food preparations. To reduce headaches and stress you can take a few preventative steps to make sure your Christmas dinner goes as you have planned.
What to Prepare for Christmas First
Step 1: Make a List
Planning is a big part of nearly everything we do including planning for Christmas. If we plan and think about what we will need then we can reduce our stress and use less time searching for what we will need or want to do.
Making a food list will help you plan shopping trips and budget the money you will need. Many of the foods we eat during the holidays are simple to make, but others take many ingredients and time to make. Here is a list of many common foods consumed during a Christmas Dinner or for a holiday party.
- Mashed Potatoes
- Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
- Homemade Noodles
- Green Beans (fresh, frozen, or canned)
- Deli meat platter
- Deviled Eggs
- Christmas Cookies
- Christmas Candy
- Homemade Carmel Popcorn
- Pecan Pie
- Apple Pie
- Kentucky Derby Pie
- Cheese Cake (plain, pecans with praline sauce, or chocolate)
- Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread
- English Muffin Toasting Bread
- Red Velvet Cake
- Pound Cake
- Cottage Cheese Rolls
- Ginger Bread House and Cookies
- Chocolate Covered Pretzels
- Peanut Brittle
- Peppermint Bark
- Kentucky Bourbon Balls
- Peanut Butter Balls
- Cinnamon Rolls
Tip: Many of the cookies, breads, and candies can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen until needed. You may also want to make more to give out as gifts while you are making the supplies for the party.
When planning for a dinner or a party you will also need some basic supplies to make the event successful.
- Plates, napkins, utensils
- Serving dishes
- Cups, wine glasses, shot glasses
- Garbage can/recycling container
- Table decoration or center piece
- Table cloth
- Thermoses and storage containers
You may also want to keep a few things on hand in case of spills:
- Carpet or upholstery cleaner
- Paper towels
- Dish towels
Being able to quickly remove the wine from the white carpet will help your guest relax after such an embarrassing event. Take the pressure off by having the proper supplies at hand and clean up the problem and continue with the party.
Step 2: Determine what order you need to compete your task.
Inviting guests, cleaning the house, cooking the food, hanging up decorations, hosting the party, and storing food and drinks are all important steps when throwing a party or hosting a Christmas dinner. Making a task list will help you work more efficiently and reduce wasted time. Employ your family members, including your children, to help out. Children can be effective helpers when tasked with specific jobs. Here is a basic list to help you along the way.
Example To-Do List
- Clean the house (vacuum, dust, sterilize bathrooms, etc.)
- Hang up Christmas decorations
- Put up your Christmas tree
- Hang up Christmas lights
- Shop for supplies
- Invite guest/find out how many people are coming
- Create a menu
- Delegate task to family and food items to guest
- Research recipe ideas
- Bake cookies (and other treats that can be frozen)
- Bake Breads
- Bake Cakes
- Prepare food
- Decorate table
- Buying a Poinsettia
Tip: Once you decide on the day and have a solid count of the number of people coming you can begin food preparations. When throwing a dinner you should plan to make at least some of everything in the event a guest is unable to come. Our family provides a main dish such as the ham or turkey, one starch such as the macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes, a vegetable such as corn, drinks and deserts. Then guest can bring other foods to accompany the main meal.
Throwing a party can be accomplished in the same fashion. We have hosted parties in excess of 300 revolving guest where the party begins at five o’clock in the evening and last until midnight with guest arriving and leaving at their leisure. With a party of this size it is helpful when guest bring a small dish to share. Easy party foods include chips, drinks, and deserts, but many of our guest bring chocolates, store bought cheesecake squares, shrimp cocktails, wine, or dips (spinach, buffalo chicken, or ranch) with an accompanying dipping device (bread cubes, chips, vegetables) which can all be purchased at your local stores like Meijer.
Planning ahead can help reduce the stress for the holidays. Hosting a party or dinner can be a tumultuous task without assistance from your family and friends.
Do you have any tips on hosting a Christmas dinner or party? Our readers would love to hear from you. Please take time to start a discussion or ask any questions.