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Planning is the key to a successful event. When it comes to hosting a Christmas dinner, planning early will help make sure everything goes smoothly. This starts with sending out invites early so your friends and family can fit your party in their own plans. You also have to think about how you would make your place comfortable and lively enough for all your guests. Of course, you can’t skimp on your drinks and Christmas recipes. Read further to find out everything you need to plan for a successful Christmas dinner.

As Good Housekeeping put it, a successful party will depend on the host or hostess. Planning early means you’ll be more relaxed come the actual day of the dinner. So sit down and relax. Get a pen and some paper and write down your plan for this year’s Christmas dinner.

 

 

Arrange Your Guest List

Do you want an all-out party or something more intimate? Whichever you prefer, you need to list down who you want to celebrate Christmas dinner with. Once you’ve decided, it’s time to send out the invites.  These days, it’s perfectly normal to just call, text, send a private message, or make an event page on Facebook. You can also send out electronic invites. Make your own invitations using apps then send them out via internet. If you prefer the old ways, make an actual card, drive over to wherever they are, and give them your invites.

Zazzle has a collection of Christmas invitations that you should take a look at. The Vintage Red Truck Christmas Invitation, in particular, should appeal to your guests, especially to the older generation and those who live in a homestead or farm.

The flat card invitation measures 5″ x 7″ inches and is made of thin, semi-gloss paper that’s made for photo printing. Each card has its own standard white envelope.

You can choose between standard and high-definition printing. Additional photos and text on either side is free. Speaking of charges, the personalized invitation costs $2.15 each for an order of ten. Have 25 customized and you get it for $1.83 each. Zazzle is having a Cyber Week Sale as of this writing, which takes up to 60% off your purchases so it’s a good idea to buy your invites right now.

 

Decorate Your Home

Christmas is definitely in the air. You’ve got cold weather, Christmas music playing in malls and other places, and people excited about the holiday. While those should be enough to keep your Christmas spirits up, you still need to decorate your place.

It won’t feel like Christmas dinner if you still have decorations from last month’s Halloween party or Thanksgiving dinner. If you haven’t taken them down yet, it’s about time to do so. Then bring out your trusty Christmas tree and other holiday decors.

Are you looking to get new decors this year but a little strapped for cash? You likely prefer to spend what you have on your Christmas dinner and presents for your loved ones. That’s not a problem. Head over to Dollar Tree for some pretty affordable Christmas decors. Everything costs one dollar a piece there.

Photo by WMIAMI/Bigstock

(Related: Cheap DIY Christmas Ornaments for Your Last Minute Holiday Decorating)

They have these Floral Garden 3D Wreath Forms which you can use to make your own Christmas wreaths. They come in two different sizes (10 and 14 inches). Each purchase includes 36 pieces of these wreath forms, which are pretty flexible. Aside from using them for your Christmas décor, you can also turn them into decorations for weddings, birthdays and other occasions. They’re particularly great for making floral kissing balls.

Of course, you need Christmas stockings. Dollar Tree has a variety of these Christmas staples for bulk orders. The Christmas House Character Stockings with Stripe Cuffs set, for example, comes in a pack of 36 pieces. If you think that’s a little too any for your home, you can always split it with family and friends. Say, get five other people to split the set. Each of you gets six stockings and you only have to pay six dollars. Each Christmas House stocking measures 17.5 x 7.5 inches. They’re made of polyester, comes in four different designs and five different colors.

 

Plan Your Recipes

A Christmas dinner without food is, you know, not a dinner at all. It’s also not enough to just order take out or to whip out something in the kitchen without planning what to make. It’s particularly risky to make a recipe you’ve never tried before on the day of the Christmas feast. Food is the most important part of a Christmas dinner, for obvious reasons. That’s why this needs a more thorough planning.

First, figure out what you want to serve your guests. There are tons of Christmas dinner staples you can find on the internet. You can either practice a new recipe days or weeks before or go with a family classic like grandma’s Christmas pudding or baked macaroni. Of course, you should also prepare the traditional roasted turkey or glazed ham. How about some eggnog? I’m pretty sure you had those for Christmas when you were still kids.

Photo by vaaseenaa/Bigstock

(Related: Easy Christmas Desserts You Can Make For the Family)

 

Place Orders Early

If you plan on getting something from a local restaurant, bakery, or even from a friend who makes awesome Christmas treats, you have to place your order early. Christmas is obviously a pretty busy tie for many businesses, especially those involved in food.

Aside from the finished products, you should also order your ingredients early. Take the local butcher, for example. You can ask them to reserve this number of steak slabs for pickup a day or two before your Christmas dinner.

Another option is to order early from online stores such as Snake River Farms. When it comes to high quality premium meat, Snake River Farms should be on your list. They offer a variety of pork and beef cuts including American Wagyu, Kurobuta pork, and Northwest beef.

For your Christmas ham, they have the Kurobuta Boneless Whole Ham. The 100% purebred Berkshire (Kurobuta) pork weighs around seven pounds. The meat sources are raised without hormones in small family farms. They use their signature recipe, particularly a traditional family cure. The meat is also smoked with authentic hardwood chips. The Kurobuta Boneless Whole Ham ships frozen and will arrive frozen or partially thawed.

Roasted pork is another Christmas dinner staple for many families. If you want this on your table, you can order for the Kurobuta Pork Porchetta from Snake River Farms. The 100% Kurobuta boneless pork belly is hand cut by a master butcher. The loin is still attached giving your roasted porchetta a rich exterior and marbled interior.

 

 

Consider Your Vegan Friends

It gets pretty awkward when you invite a vegan or vegetarian friend over to Christmas dinner and all you have are meat dishes. You may have side dishes that cater to their needs but that really won’t be enough to keep them full.

Be considerate and make at least one vegan dish. If you’re not sure about your knowledge on vegan foods, you can just have them delivered. Vegin’ Out offers vegan meal plans delivered right at your doorstep. The shop, prep and cook the food. All you have to do is reheat the meal and you’re good to go.

They offer different vegan meals each week. To give you an idea, this week they are serving lentil Bolognese, sweet and sour veggies and tofu, and veggie korma as the options for main entrees. For the side dishes, they have spiced sweet potatoes, peanut rice, carrots with caramelized onions, and kale with golden beets. Other options this week are low carb minestrone for the soup and black forest vegan cookies for desert.

 

Make Space In Your Kitchen

Whether you order online or buy from markets, you will need lots of space in your kitchen, particularly in your refrigerator. Take a good look at the contents of your fridge and cupboard. Plan your meals for the following days using what you have so you can empty them and have space for the ingredients for your Christmas dinner.

Aside from your fridge, you can also use coolers or ice chests. This is a good buy since you can still use them after the holidays.

Aside from the fridge, freezer and cupboard, you should also clear out your work surfaces a few days before your orders come or when you need to start preparing. You’ll get tired faster if you have to clear out kitchen equipment and other stuff you don’t need on the day you have to make your Christmas dinner.

The Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler is a good pick if you’re into retro designs. The 54-quart cooler can keep up to 85 cans cold for four days. You can keep your ingredients here before making your Christmas dinner and then fill it up with drinks to serve cold at the party.

 

Don’t Forget the Drinks

Speaking of drinks, a Christmas dinner is not complete without a bottle of wine or two. Of course you can choose different kinds of drinks to serve depending on your guests. Just make sure you have stocks of coffee, tea, juice, beer or other kinds that your guests may ask for.

For your wine supply, you can visit Wine of the Month Club. They have a wide selection of fine wines that you can purchase individually or as gift baskets.

Of course, you don’t want to be caught with just one bottle during your Christmas dinner. Get something like their Six-Bottle Rustic Crate gift basket. It comes with six red and white wines of your choice and a nice rustic wooden wine crate.

 

Prepare Your Appetizers

Expect some guests to arrive early. Others, particularly relatives, are probably staying in your home for the holidays or arrive early after a long drive to get to Christmas dinner.

Make sure you have hors d’oeuvres or appetizers to serve and keep them busy while waiting for the main event. These light snacks can be something as simple as a bag of chips or something a bit sophisticated such as vegetable sticks and dip. Better if you have something of both so the early arrivals have some choices.

Hummus is a good choice for a dip. It goes well with both chips and vegetables. It’s easy and quick to make. All you need is a few cans of chickpeas, and a food processor. Check out the complete recipe here.

For your food processor, a good choice would be the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper. It boasts of a powerful 450 watt motor, two-speed pulse control, and a reversible S blade. It’s also pretty easy to use with its stack and snap design. Plus the large feed chute allows you to easily process large pieces of food.

Photo by Lionhart/Bigstock

(Related: Homestead Kitchen Essentials You Want for Christmas)

 

Prepare What You Can Early

It’s easy to get overwhelmed on the day of your Christmas dinner. Aside from having some of the food delivered, you can also make them in advance. Desserts, for example, can still be edible after a few days, especially if you keep them in the fridge or freezer. The same goes with gravy and even stuffing for your turkey. Make what you can make a day or two before Christmas dinner and simply heat them up properly.

 

Dress Up

Hosting a party is never an easy task. No matter how hectic the day has been preparing for your Christmas dinner, however, you should always keep a smile on your face. It’s perfectly understandable if you look tired but you should strive to look more inviting.

Set aside some time for yourself the dinner. Take a nice bath to relax yourself and do what you need to make yourself presentable. The main reason why you’re hosting Christmas dinner is to celebrate the occasion with your loved ones. So make the most of the time together and look as fresh and jolly as ever.

If you went overtime with your kitchen preparation and you need to get ready as fast as possible, wear something that’s needs little attention. We’re not talking about pajamas and boyfriend shirts or your boxers if you’re a dude.

 

Get the Gifts Ready

Aside from the food, your guests will love it when you hand out tokens of appreciation, otherwise known as Christmas presents. You can give each one something simple as a thank you for coming over and celebrating Christmas with you.

Photo by pressmaster/Bigstock

(Related: Top DIY Soap Recipes to Gift On Christmas)

Zazzle has a collection of gift items you can choose for your Christmas dinner giveaways. The Modern Monogram Purple Gold Striped Luggage Tag, for example, is affordable enough to get for all your guests. The double-sided weatherproof and UV resistant luggage tag is made of durable acrylic and printed using the AcryliPrint®HD printing process.

 

When it comes to your family, you probably have something more special for them, especially the kids. You are in the best position to know what they would love. Give your presents some thought. If you’re having a hard time, you can always check out lists of gift ideas online. Go to Gentleman Pirate Club if you want something pretty useful to give out to your friends and loved ones. There are a number of gift guides in there that you may find interesting.