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Plan the Christmas Dinner

Updated on December 8, 2014

Plan your Menu for Christmas and the Holiday Season

How does Christmas come around so fast?

Are you having a family dinner? If you're hosting a meal for six people or sixteen, plan and prepare as far ahead as possible.

Unless you have a very large table and lots of space, eight people is the maximum number you can entertain to a sit-down meal, any more guests and it's easier to serve a buffet.

But whatever you do, plan ahead. Even if Christmas Dinner is only for two

Big Stock Photo

First - Make a list of what you need

Make a list of everything you will need for the Christmas Dinner.And I mean everything. I use an old fashioned school exercise book for this and put the list breakdowns on separate pages. You may prefer a loose leaf folder or a programme on your computer.

  • Write down the names of everyone who will be at the meal, toddlers (and yourself) included. This is the best way to start, now you can add notes next to each name - are there special food requirements?

    My list of names includes notes such as :-

    Uncle Joe . Does not drink any alcohol. Need fruit juice.

    Tara and Molly . Vegetarian

  • A list of all the plates, bowls, cutlery, cups and glasses you will need
  • The menu for your dinner. There are a number of sub-lists to go with this one

Don't try a new recipe!

You may have a recipe that you're dying to use. Never attempt an untried recipe for a grand occasion. If the recipe is simply fabulous, give it a test run first.

Stick to the recipes that you know

Shopping List for your Christmas Menu

Look at every recipe you're going to be serving up and make a list of everything you need for that recipe.

Write down every ingredient you will need. If the recipe calls for a pinch of salt, make a note of that too, you have to be able to see every ingredient needed. There's nothing worse than discovering at the last minute that you've run out of black peppercorns or breadcrumbs.

Put all your Christmas recipes together

Are your recipes in cookbooks or written on pieces of paper? Maybe they're online in a folder. It doesn't matter where they are, collect them up and put them together.

You could put them in a special drawer or in a cardboard box, it doesn't matter as long as you can put your hands on them in a jiffy. If you have recipes bookmarked online, print them all out and keep them together.

Look through them all and check the basics like where and when do I cook this?. A double check will make sure you don't have six recipes that need to be cooked on the stovetop at the same time when you have just four burners on your stove!

Put your Recipes in a Folder

Recipe Keeper
Recipe Keeper

Perfect for those recipes you cut out from magazines and print off from an online source. Keep them all in one place, saves you time as well as cutting down on clutter.


Get your Storage Space Ready

Clean your frig, your cupboard and your freezer.

Make a special place in your food cupboard to store those ingredients that you'll be using for the Christmas recipes. Buy the ingredients you will need at least at least a week in advance and then check them again the day before you start cooking.

Festive Food for the Family Table

Lay out your table for a festive feast

The look of the table makes a huge difference to the occasion.

If you have the table set in an appealing style, you're halfway there to a truly festive feast. So you want visual appeal - but it has to be practical!

Use a plastic tablecloth if you wish, you can get one in bright colours or with a seasonal theme. Otherwise serve your dishes on an easy-wash cotton tablecloth, the best tablecloth is brand new - it adds a certain freshness to your table.

Make a List for Christmas Morning the Night Before

You will need a list all ready for Christmas morning. This is your last list and needs to be clear, and it should be all ready the night before..

Write out just what you'll be doing and when.This will show what food has to be defrosted, what has to be transferred into the Christmas crockery, when you have to light the oven and when you prepare the fresh food.

Check your Christmas table, this is a good time to set it with the personal plates, bowls and cutlery. Give the room a last spit and polish and don't worry about it until it's time to ask your guests to sit down.

Don't let anyone else cook in your kitchen. If they're bringing food, make sure it's ready to serve or just needs a little reheating.

What about your Christmas Dinner?

Will you be cooking the Christmas Dinner?

See results

All comments are greatly appreciated. And if you have a suggestion about planning the Christmas meal, please leave it for me - thanks, and a Merry Christmas to you!

© 2011 Susanna Duffy

Leave a Message for the Cook

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    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Christmas dinner for a large clan usually involves a group effort. Usually the host will do a turkey or ham, then everyone brings a side dish. I've never even tried to 'do it all' for any holiday feast and doubt I ever will. Betty Crocker I'm not.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      4 years ago from Canada

      The past few years I have had a tendency to take it easy Christmas day but this year hubby picked up a turkey and I will fix it up on the appropriate day. Traditional Christmas for us this year.

    • lilymom24 profile image


      6 years ago

      My husband does most of the cooking.....I help. =)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Merry Xmas in advance and Bon Apetit. :)


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