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The Ultimate Christmas Dinner Checklist

Ensure your Christmas dinner goes off without a hitch with our comprehensive checklist. From menu planning to table settings, we’ve got your festive feast covered.

Hosting Christmas dinner is a time-honored tradition filled with warmth, joy, and a feast to remember and making a Christmas Dinner Checklist is an invaluable tool for hosting a successful holiday meal. 

To make sure your holiday gathering is stress-free, having a plan of action is key. This checklist provides organization, efficiency, and reduced stress by breaking down the tasks into manageable steps throughout the most exciting season of the year 

Our ultimate Christmas dinner checklist is your ultimate guide, offering step-by-step advice on everything from selecting festive foods to creating the perfect ambiance with Christmas decorations. 

It prevents overlooked details and helps you focus on enjoying the festive moment with your guests, ensuring that you have the perfect Christmas dinner.

Whether you’re a seasoned host or a first-timer, using a Christmas Dinner Checklist can make the holiday season more enjoyable and stress-free.

What’s In A Christmas Dinner?

A traditional Christmas dinner typically includes a roast main course, such as roast turkey, ham, or prime rib, complemented by a variety of side dishes like mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and dinner rolls. Desserts can include holiday-themed sweet treats like Christmas cookies, yule log cake, and pies

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Christmas Dinner Checklist

To ensure a smooth and stress-free Christmas dinner, use this checklist to help you plan and organize your meal:

1-2 Weeks Before:

  • Decide on your menu, including the main course, side dishes, and desserts.
  • Create a detailed shopping list of all the ingredients you’ll need for your menu.
  • Gather your necessary preparation tools like a carving knife and roasting tin, table settings, decorations, and centerpieces.
  • Confirm the number of guests attending.

1 Week Before:

  • If you’re serving a frozen turkey or ham, begin thawing it in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare any dishes that can be made in advance and frozen, such as casseroles or cookie dough.
  • Verify that all kitchen appliances and equipment are in working order.
  • Create a comprehensive grocery list, including all ingredients needed for your menu, plus what you need for leftovers like tin foil.
  • Put together a Christmas playlist.

3-4 Days Before:

  • Do a major grocery shopping trip for non-perishable items, canned goods, and long-lasting ingredients.
  • Create a detailed cooking schedule for the day of your Christmas dinner.

2 Days Before:

  • If you’ve frozen any ingredients or dishes, transfer them to the refrigerator to thaw.
  • Bake any desserts that can be made in advance and stored.
  • Make the cranberry sauce.

Use our Christmas baking planner to efficiently plan, organize, and enjoy holiday baking, making the season more delightful and stress-free.

christmas baking planner

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1 Day Before (Christmas Eve):

  • Ensure the main course is fully thawed and ready for cooking.
  • Chop and prep ingredients for side dishes, making cooking on the day faster.
  • Arrange the Christmas table settings and decorations on your Christmas dinner table.
  • If your main course benefits from marinating or brining, do it the day before.
  • Make a checklist for your cooking times.

Christmas Day AM

  • After breakfast on Christmas morning, start working on side dishes that can be prepared ahead of time, such as casseroles, mashed potatoes, and stuffing.
  • Assemble and prepare any appetizers that can be made in advance. Cover and refrigerate.

Christmas Dinner 

  • Start cooking the main course (e.g., roast turkey, ham).
  • Set up a beverage station with festive cocktails, wine, water, soft drinks, glasses, drinks, and ice.
  • Prepare any last-minute dishes or finishing touches.
  • Carve the main course, whether it’s a Christmas turkey, ham, or roast. Keep it warm on a serving platter until it’s time to serve.
  • Final Touches: Heat up any remaining side dishes, prepare gravy, and complete garnishes.

After Dinner:

  • Clear the table and do initial cleanup.
  • Store leftovers and wrap up any perishable ingredients.
  • Offer a selection of desserts and hot beverages after the main course.
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Print out your christmas dinner checklist and have it handy throughout the Holiday Season! 

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