Christmas time is the perfect time of year to meet up with family and friends and do what we do best—EAT! While feasting on an extravagant holiday meal with our loved ones is a cherished experience, the thought of hosting the occasion is enough to make some of us a little weak in the knees. Don’t let the fear of cooking for the masses keep you from hosting a memorable family event though! Hosting Christmas dinner is not as formidable as it seems as long as you plan ahead. So trim the tree, deck the halls and read up on these Christmas dinner holiday planning tips!


Christmas Dinner 101: Make your list and check it twice

The very first place to start when planning Christmas dinner is to plan out the guest list. You can’t plan out anything else until you have a final head count of how many people you will be entertaining. Keep in mind that not all those who you invite will necessarily attend, so send out a few extra invites if you have a particular idea in mind on size or family groupings. Send these invitations out far enough in advance to give your guests a chance to RSVP.

Budget Well

No mater how small your initial plans are, you can always end up spending more money than you initially anticipated if you don’t stick to a strict budget. Make a preliminary outline of everything you think you’ll need and what you expect it to cost and then commit to spending only that amount of money. If some areas of your budget start taking up more of your funds than you expected, cut from elsewhere in order to stick to your original plans.

Plan the Christmas Dinner Menu

Plan the menu in advance with dishes that are delicious yet still easy to make. A simple sandwich platter with some hot sides and an assortment of appetizers is perfectly adequate to fill everyone’s stomachs and make your guests feel loved and cared for. If you plan on having a lot of people attend, enlist some help by signing on some guests to bring certain dishes. That way you have less to prepare and you get a greater variety of tasty dishes! You can plan a buffet-style meal or a formal sit-down meal, but plan according to the desired atmosphere you wish to achieve.

Christmas Dinner Tip: Never attempt a new recipe for the first time on Christmas day!


Take a tip from Santa: Prepare the night before

In order to make it easier on yourself, choose recipes that can be prepared ahead of time. Christmas day is going to be a hectic blur, so see if you can squeeze in some cooking the night before. Take a look at your menu and see what items that can be made ahead of time or that would require just a little heating before the party to be finished. Remember that pies and cakes taste just as great cooked the night before!


Don’t bite off more than you can chew (literally and figuratively)

If you’re not Betty Crocker, don’t try to be. Cooking for so many people can be a huge commitment, so don’t be hesitant to dial up a caterer or even bring home takeout. This will leave you with more time to relax and enjoy the time you have with your friends and family! Locally, we recommend you consider Pipers Premier Caterers, Thomas Caterers of Distinction and MBP Distinctive Catering.


Take Inventory

Make a list of all the things you will need for your guests. This list can include tables, chairs, plates, silverware, warming trays and anything and everything that your guests will need to be comfortable and full! You’ll also want to haul out the holly and hang up all of the decorationsyou’ll need to make your home or event venue festive and welcoming!

For more Christmas decorations and dinner ideas check out our Christmas Party Ideas + Winter Party Ideas pinboard on Pinterest! Share your holiday advice and tips with us on Facebook or Twitter!