10 Tips on How to Plan the Perfect Christmas Dinner

For most families, hosting a Christmas dinner is part of the celebrations. But does the thought of doing the same thing every year deflate your festive cheer? With a little forethought and some brainstorming, you could make this Christmas dinner a knock-out one. Contrary to what most people think, hosting a dinner to remember does not have to be a nightmare for the host. With help from us, you could very well be the host to the most celebrated and talked about Christmas party of the season, at least in the neighborhood! And if you are requested to throw parties throughout the year by your friends, you have been warned in advance!

The thought of hosting a Christmas party usually elicits one of two responses – extreme glee and anticipation or an overbearing sense of dread. If you have ever found yourself on the sorry side of the fence, this is just the right time to change over. Start your planning well in advance (at least two weeks before the D-day) so that when the day actually arrives, all you have to do is dress in your finery. Remember, it is after all, a party and you need to enjoy it for your guests to enjoy it.

Here’s a list of life savers known to help one survive and enjoy hosting a party –

  1. Whether you opt for a sit-down dinner or a buffet will decide a lot of things. If it is a small gathering, a sit-down is more apt and elegant. However, if your dining table cannot accommodate the number of guests you have in mind, buffet is easier. Make your guest list first and then proceed with the other steps. Tip – If you opt for a buffet, push your dining table to the wall. This will clear much needed space for the guests and the table can act as your serving area.
  2. Plan your menu at least 2 weeks prior to the party. Stick to recipes you are confident of. Do not cook anything experimental or something you haven’t tried in a long time.
  3. Check if your guests have any special dietary needs and plan your menu accordingly.
  4. Write/print out each recipe of the menu and keep them all together in a box or drawer. Break down each recipe into to-do lists, including the preparation steps.
  5. Check how many guests a recipe will serve before making your shopping list. It is always better to buy more of the essentials than you think you will require to avoid any last minute shortfalls.
  6. Start cleaning out your fridge, pantry or freezer a week to 10 days in advance. This will give you space to cook a few dishes in advance and store/freeze them. For the dishes that you must make on the day of the party, see if you can chop and store vegetables or finish small chores related to it in advance.
  7. Make a separate to-do list focusing only on the tasks to do on the day of the party. Include the minutest, seemingly-ordinary and simple steps too. On the D-day, simply follow the list, a step at a time.
  8. Finish cooking well before you expect your first guest to come in. In case you are not done and someone offers to help, refuse. Allowing someone else to cook in your kitchen will add to your woes and not take away from them.
  9. Aim to finish cooking and setting up the table (in case of a sit down dinner) at least 3 hours before you expect the doorbell to buzz. This will give you time to step in for a relaxing shower, if not a calming soak in the tub.
  10. Do not neglect your attire. You don’t want to look dowdy in front of your well turned out guests and have them feel bad for you. Opt for elegant and no-fuss clothing and accessories as you will be required to mingle with everyone. Don’t forget make-up, and you are set to sail through your party as a picture of grace.

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