Thanksgiving really wipes me out. Not just all the hard work that goes into making the meal fabulous, but also the sheer quantity of people in my house and the build-up. Christmas is like a soft, squishy cloud of relief in comparison. LOL! Just kidding! It’s just as stressful and wacky. But this year, I have a plan to make an Easy Christmas Dinner everyone will love.
My plan this year is a simple. No, I mean like really simple. Only 4 Steps. Easy-peasy. Let’s get down to it, shall we?
1. Plan a meal for the audience. If you’re getting together with the exact same group of folks you just did Thanksgiving with, don’t do the exact same dishes. You know these people you’re inviting over for this intimate family-type gathering, so show it. If they’re the type of folks that would normally be happy with mac-n-cheese, then go for it. Or, if you know these people are the type that you need to serve them lobster tail with their ham, then do so. Just make sure you’re not serving caviar to the crowd who won’t eat it…and don’t serve mac-n-cheese to that caviar crowd!
2. Buy, don’t sweat. This is especially true for Christmas. This holiday is supposed to be about giving, sharing and presents–not a meal. So I will hit the Lewisville HoneyBaked Ham store on my way home from work one night this week or next. They have everything a person might need for Christmas Dinner. Not only do they have those perfect hams with the awesome glaze already on it, but they also have every side I’ve ever contemplated cooking…They have mashed potatoes, mac-n-cheese, sweet potato souffle, and even dressing! They even have that lobster tail, if you’re in need of that this year. So, no need to slave in the kitchen for half the week before Christmas Dinner (have fun with the kids, for goodness sake!)! Buy. Really. It’s like a lifesaver.
3. Cook ahead and freeze–then thaw the day of. This is a trick I use often for big events at home. There’s no reason to cook dressing twice in a year. No really, just cook a double-dose at Thanksgiving, then freeze half and serve with Christmas dinner (if dressing is your thing for Christmas like it is for my family). There’s actually a ton of food you can do this with between the two major holiday meals. Cranberry sauce, cinnamon apples, your pies…the list really is pretty long. We saved half of a pecan pie and half of a pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving–now I won’t be cooking those for Christmas!
4. Keep the number of sides and desserts simple. You don’t need 3 potato dishes. Just do easy mashed potatoes or candied yams. Not both. And please don’t add a sweet potato pie to the mix. Limit yourself to one side or dessert per person who will be at the table. This is a rule of thumb I always use at any meal I’m cooking–even Thanksgiving. So, if there will be 10 people, there will be 11 things on the table–my HoneyBaked Ham, 8 sides and my two thawed-pies from Thanksgiving (which I believe I got from HoneyBaked Ham, if you must know! LOL!). That’s it. No more. Then, I hopefully have less to clean-up.
That’s it. That’s my plan. I won’t be running around at the last minute trying to buy nutmeg (why is it I always run out of that when it comes time to cook) this year. Nope. I’m keeping my Christmas Dinner easy.
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Special thanks goes to HoneyBaked Ham for sponsoring this post!