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Christmas Dinner Tips

Hosting My First Christmas Dinner, Any Tips?

Readers, brisas and I need your help! Both she and I will be hosting Christmas dinner for the first time ever. She writes:

"My husband and I moved into our new house this year and, of course, I wanted to have Christmas at our new place with all of our families. I am excited but nervous about the entire endeavor. I wanted to make the meal pretty appetizer-heavy and then keep the dinner simple with prime rib or possibly a goose, mashed potatoes, and a big green salad. I have a couple days off before the dinner to get everything ready including decorating, dinner, etc. Any tips on what else I should make for the appetizers, drinks, and desserts? Or any tips on how to not freak out once I start in on all of these recipes?"

I recommend planning as much in advance as possible. Also, don't be afraid to delegate. At my Christmas dinner, there will be more than 30 guests and some have volunteered to bring a dish; I will be taking them up on their offer. Have you hosted Christmas dinner? Share your suggestions below!

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devinsears devinsears 6 years
Great tips! Wish I would have found this sooner. My fiance and I just hosted a NYE get together and had been looking for ideas. It ended up coming together well although last minute. I admittedly relied on some pre-made appetizers, and had a longer cocktail recipe than food menu. Ha. Although, when the cocktails are tasty, people don't notice the food as much. My friend brought some TY KU to the party and made drinks (soju and sake) and the bottles themselves were a hit. Tip 2: invite a bartender friend to the party :) some recipes to try; Pumpkin Spice" 2oz TY KU Sake 1oz Vanilla Vodka 0.5oz Pumpkin Liqueur "Nog-a-Sake" TY KU Sake Low Cal Eggnog 1tsp Nutmeg Shake over Ice Great recipes and ty ku is lowere in calories than vodka etc so if your 2011 resolution includes staying fit, i'd highly recommend! Happy New Year! Devin S :)
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
On a similar note, set the table the night before. The same with your kitchen. Have the pots, pans, knives, cutting boards, etc. ready to go where you will need them.
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
I haven't read the comments yet (forgive any duplication!) but my big rule of thumb is to whip up as much as possible a day or two before hand. Less stress for the host, and more time to spend with guests. Relax, and have a great time!
jelibeann jelibeann 6 years
So much fun...I love hosting holidays and we just moved out of state, so we probably won't get to again for a while...some tips: - use a crock pot to keep things like mashed potatoes warm, so you're not wasting a pot or precious burner space - a nice cheese board can be left out at room temperature for quite some time, so it won't take up space in the fridge or oven - a simple cookie platter can be made or purchased days in advance and stored out of the way on top of the fridge (just add it to your schedule, so you don't forget to serve it!) - definitely take people up on offers to contribute - just make sure you know exactly what they're bringing (an appetizer that needs to be warmed by you might become part of dinner if you don't have time or oven big deal, but better to know ahead of time) - let your guests know that the party will be appetizer-heavy, so they aren't expecting a huge dinner to follow
mrsld mrsld 6 years
Greasy, chewing gum! I have hosted many holidays and parties. I have had NYE at my house for 12 years running. I have NEVER tried anything that failed so miserably as that goose. My family (being the very loving bunch that they are) still laugh about it at every holiday and get together (it was 6 years ago!) Chief- that's a great suggestion. Do you have a grill? If so cooking a turkey on it is supper easy! Foils pans and lots of moisture it is done quicker then in the oven. If you have a double oven I can give you a great meat roast recipe, but it takes up the oven for the whole time.
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 6 years
If you only have one oven, make sure you are not going to be filling it with 5 different items an hour before dinner....use the grill to cook a protein entry.....go with fresh can use the grill for bread and veggies too.....
brisas brisas 6 years
thanks for all of the tips! I haven't decided yet but with mrsld response I think a goose might be off the list! What happened when you tried to cook it? It was one of those things that I wanted to try but maybe my first go at Christmas dinner is not the right time! :) I def. love the idea of a schedule that is easy for everyone to follow, great tip!
mrsld mrsld 6 years
I am all about the schedule. Write out a chart of what you are making, including cook temp and time. Also put out all your serving trays the night before with post-it notes saying what goes on it.Hang this schedule on the cupboard next to your stove. even if you can't get to something when the timer goes off people will step in and help. It is always difficult to get help if you don't know what is next or you have to answer alot of questions. With the schedule people can just step in and don't have to ask alot of questions. Oh and in what universe is a goose easy??? I can cook anything and the worst cooking disaster of my life was with a goose. IMO,It is not easy like a turkey. If you have an easy way to prepare it please share!!!
suziryder suziryder 6 years
I'd suggest making some recipes early if they refrigerate or freeze well. Desserts like cheesecakes and pumpkin pies HAVE to be made ahead of time, so that would really work for you. You could make mini-quiches a day or two before and just heat them up for the party.Shrimp cocktail would be good too - the shrimp need to be cold anyway, so you can cook them early and make the cocktail sauce a day or two early. Also minimal-prep dishes like a cheese plate or a crudite platter would help fill out your table without taking too much time to set up - you can chop veggies the day before and just store in ziplock bags in the fridge. I'd make lists - the recipes you're making, the shopping list, the order in which you're making the dishes. For Thanksgiving this year, I had a to-do list every day of the week before, so I knew I had distributed the workload enough that each day was manageable, and since I had thought about it and planned it out in advance, nothing got overlooked. And definitely don't be shy about asking others to bring a little something to help! Even if they brought something as simple as a bottle of wine, that'd be one less thing for you to think about and they'd feel good for contributing.
MindayH MindayH 6 years
I try to always do some sort of pastry puff roll, you can pretty much use any spread that you would bake for the filling - I usually do an artichoke and spinach spread, but the options are endless, I have used deli meat when I wanted a more savory/hearty option too. You can make it days in advance and throw it in the freezer and then slice and bake when you want to serve!
retroinAL retroinAL 6 years
First take a deep breath and remember that your friends and family are there to see YOU-the tasty treats are just a bonus. Hot artichoke dip with baguette slices is a stand by for me. I can make it ahead of time and it is always fabulous. Recipe: 2 cans quartered artichokes 1 small sweet onion finely diced 1 cup sour cream 1 cup mayonnaise 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese Mix all together and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or lightly browned and bubbly. You can stick in the refrigerator up to two days before baking. When ready to bake, take out of the refrigerator 1 hour before baking to come to room temperature-then bake as usual!
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