Checklist for Hosting a Flawless Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner

Christmas is all about food and family! Don’t get caught up preparing food and miss out on precious family time. Use this checklist to help you host a flawless Christmas dinner.

On your dinner guest list, make a note of something you can ask each of them to bring. Some people bring completed dishes; others contribute snacks, beverages, paper plates and cups, folding chairs, flower arrangements… Use your imagination. Tap into helpful friends and family.

Sit down with a list of dishes other people are bringing and fill in the blanks. Have all your recipes in front of you to consolidate your grocery list—it’s a pain to run to the store at the last moment because you ran out of sugar. Shop at least two days in advance to reduce stress during preparation time.

Next, break each recipe into detail to complete pre-preparation steps. Some foods can be made days in advance and reheated, and others require chilling before serving. Make a step-by-step plan, working backwards from Christmas dinner to the first steps of preparation. Even steps as simple as chopping onions and garlic can smooth out the big push on Christmas day or eve.

Don’t forget to ask about special diets. Some of your guests may have allergies so it’s nice to accommodate them alongside the traditional Christmas dinner fare. Create a vegetarian casserole. Bake gluten-free pumpkin pies (it’s the same pie with a gluten-free crumb crust). Keep close track of nuts and leave them out. All-foods guests won’t notice the changes and allergic guests will appreciate the thoughtfulness.

Ask for help throughout the preparation process. Get the house decluttered, cleaned and decorated with the help of overnight guests or close-by relatives. If your shopping list is especially big, perhaps some people would be willing to kick in $20 to help with costs. Engage more-organized people to help with planning, and let others handle at least some of the preparation.

So, to sum up:

  • Ask each guest (or family) to bring something.

  • Make a highly detailed shopping list and shop at least two days in advance.

  • Break each recipe into steps and complete as many as possible.

  • Accommodate special diets if you can—especially allergies.

  • Ask for help!

Christmas is a great time to renew family ties and enjoy great food. Make sure you’re not spending the whole day in the kitchen and you’ll enjoy this special time even more.

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