Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. And I’ll admit it, I’m one of those annoying people who start humming Christmas songs as soon as Halloween is over. Although I try to keep it to when I’m alone so that I don’t drive everyone else crazy!
But I can’t help it. It’s just such a wonderful holiday.
I love everything about it – the spirit of giving, the lights, the magic and wonder, the prettily-wrapped presents, and of course, the food!
Christmas food is a real treat. We all have our own special recipes for Christmas dinner that we only make that one time of year.
And the anticipation just makes them even better.
But if you want a perfect Christmas, having a good collection of recipes for Christmas dinner isn’t enough. If you’ve ever suddenly found yourself in charge of the whole Christmas food production, you know that it’s not easy at all.
Christmas dinner takes a lot of planning and organization, and when you don’t have years of experience under your belt, sometimes it can be a little tough. But don’t worry. There are a lot of ways to make sure you have an awesome and relaxing Christmas dinner.
The Secret Is In The Planning
The first time I had to make Christmas dinner all by myself, it was totally overwhelming. I love cooking, I love the holidays, and I had a bunch recipes for Christmas dinner ready to go – but it was still a lot to handle.
In the end, I started to feel stressed out, and decided it was better to cut down on a few dishes and have a fun, relaxing Christmas instead.
Spread Out The Work
If Christmas dinner in your family is anything like mine, there’s no way you can do all the work in one day. So don’t!
A lot of recipes for Christmas dinner can be made ahead of time, and the biggest favor you can do for yourself is to take full advantage of that.
A few weeks before Christmas, plan out what you want to make, and then figure out how far in advance you can make it.
- The freezer is your friend. Some recipes for Christmas dinner taste just as good after they’ve been frozen than they would if you just made them, like chicken pot pie, stews, or broth for fondue. There’s really no reason not to make them way ahead of time.
- Some foods keep well for days. Every Christmas I make gingerbread cookies and truffles, and they stay good for at least a week when they’re all wrapped up. Make sure you have a few of those items on the menu, and make them as early as you can.
- Some recipes for Christmas dinner hold up really well in the fridge for a few days. My mom always makes pinwheel sandwiches a day or two ahead of time, and they always taste perfect.
The idea is to figure out what to make, and when. That way, you can spread out your Christmas cooking over a few weeks instead of 2 or 3 hectic days. So when Christmas rolls around, you have less to do, and more time to spend with your family!
Know Your Recipes For Christmas Dinner
One of the most important things to do to have a smooth running Christmas is to know the recipes for Christmas dinner that you’re going to use.
This means a few things:
- First of all, it means having a menu picked out and actually having selected a recipe for it, unless you know how to cook it without a recipe (which is awesome).
- It also means that you’ve read the recipes. Reading your recipes for Christmas dinner is important. Why?
- A lot of recipes give you a time estimate on how long it’ll take to make. That time will make it much easier for you to plan out when to cook what.
- The recipes’ll also let you know what ingredients you need, so that you can plan ahead and buy them for when you need them. You don’t want to be in the middle of making gingerbread only to realize you’re out of ginger!
- You can take this a step further. Ideally, you’ll already have made your recipes for Christmas dinner once or twice before. Either on a previous Christmas or as a test run earlier in the year.
- Some recipes are harder than they seem at first glance, and the only way to know it is by trying them out. If you know the recipe, you won’t have any bad surprises come Christmas day.
- Some recipes aren’t as good as they sound, or just don’t work for your taste buds. If you’ve used a recipe before, you’ll know just what to expect.
- A recipe you’ve made before is a lot more comfortable to work with. That’ll make cooking Christmas dinner a whole lot less stressful.
- It’s okay to have a new recipe or two – but just make sure that for the most part, you’re confident about what you’re making. And don’t be afraid to do a test run for a dish in November!
For me, Christmas is all about the traditions. I’m happy to make meals I know and I’m comfortable with. The recipes for Christmas dinner that I use are an important part of the Christmas tradition. And since I only make them once a year, I really look forward to them!
The last bit of advice I have to help you have a stress-free and awesome Christmas is to make lists. It’s something I learned from my mom, who really is the Queen of List-Making.
She makes lists for everything, and the whole family teases her about it, but the fact is she makes Christmas happen, and she makes it look easy, when I know it’s anything but.
And the lists are the key. It’s a reminder of what to do, and what to buy, and when to do what.
So what do you make lists for to help you out? Pretty much anything.
- Make a list for all the meals you plan on eating. What are you having on Christmas Eve? Christmas morning? What about recipes for Christmas dinner?
- Once you know what you’re making, make a list for when you plan to make each dish. It’ll help you spread out the work over a few days or weeks, and it’ll put things in perspective – if your meal plan has you cooking 12 hours a day for 2 weeks, it might be time to cut back a bit.
- Afterwards, you can make a list for what you need to buy and when. Some recipes for Christmas dinner need fresh ingredients, so be sure you plan time to go buy those whenever you’re making that dish.
Lists are a huge help because they cut down on unexpected surprises. If you plan things well, you won’t be missing a key ingredient. You won’t realize you forgot to make mashed potatoes. And you won’t find yourself with 16 dishes to make on Christmas day, when all you want to do is eat a sugar cookie and watch a roaring fire.
Christmas Food Cooking Methods
Planning is one of the keys to a great Christmas. Knowing how to cook the meal you want is the other!
In this section, I’ll talk about how to make some traditional Christmas meals. Not just recipes, but the whole story – how to cook a turkey so it comes out just right, or what makes a great chicken pot pie.
Nothing beats a turkey with all the trimmings for Christmas dinner. But making a turkey can be a little bit stressful – it’s Christmas, a huge holiday, and the whole family is going to be there.
But you know what? Turkey might be easy to mess up, but it’s just as easy to get it right, once you know the right steps.
In this series of articles, I’ll tell you all about making the perfect turkey – everything from thawing to making an awesome gravy!
Another great treat we often had for Christmas at my place is different meat pies. We had them for our Christmas Eve dinner, and had the leftovers for our Christmas brunch.
- One of my favorite pies is chicken pot pie. To find out how to make one, check out our article on making an easy chicken pot pie.
- Tourtiere is a French Canadian holiday tradition. It’s a meat pie seasoned with some wonderful holiday spices, and when it’s cooking, you know it’s Christmas! Find out how to make it by checking out our article on tourtiere.
Recipes For Christmas Dinner
I always think it’s best to understand the cooking techniques behind a recipe – it’ll help you make improvements, or even adjustments if something goes wrong.
But sometimes, there’s just nothing that beats Mom’s secret recipes for Christmas dinner.
So here’s a little collection of delicious recipes for Christmas dinner that I know you’ll love! And I hope they make your Christmas as awesome as they make mine.