Your Timeline for Holiday Cooking

Making your Dinner Less Stressful and More Enjoyable

The main way to get through the Holiday season with less stress and fatigue is to plan ahead.  Anything you can do ahead of time will make your Day more enjoyable!  Here are a few steps to help you plan for the big Day.

1.  Set the date, time and style of the Dinner.

Plan which day you are going to celebrate (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day).  Are you going to have a brunch, a middle of the day dinner or an afternoon/evening dinner? Do you want buffet style or a sit-down dinner? Once decided, set your time for your guests’ arrival.  Some will arrive early while others will be late.  Allow 15 minutes before your set time and 15 minutes after your set time for arrival.  Plan time for socializing. How long do you want your guests to socialize before eating?  Set your “Dinner is served” time. Try not to allow your social time to run into your Dinner time.

2.  Plan the menu.

Plan a menu that is simple and easy to prepare. Simple is better. Write down your Dinner menu to determine what you would like to serve.  Consider having guests bring a dish such as an appetizer or dessert.  This can be a great time saver.

3.  Invite guests and track RSVPs.

Make a list of who you would like to invite.  Be sure to allow enough time for your guests to plan for your dinner.  Keep track of responses and have contact information (email addresses and phone numbers) in case you need to contact them.  By keeping track of your guest responses, you will have a more accurate number of guests you will need to prepare for.

4.  Clean home and set up for the Holiday.

Do as much cleaning as you can ahead of time.  It’s great if you can vacuum, mop, dust and clean the bathrooms early in the week.  You can then spend the rest of the week ( 2 to 3 days before the Dinner) to shop, set the table and make dishes that can be made ahead of time.

Check your platters and serving bowls and assign them to each dish you will be serving.

5.  Shop for supplies.

Make two grocery lists, one for perishables and one for non-perishables.

Plan to do your grocery shopping two or three days before your dinner, so that the fruit and vegetables are fresh.  Some of the non-perishable or frozen items can be purchased ahead of time.

Buy items when they are on sale.  Many foods are safe to freeze and use later.   For example, you could buy your meat, such as a pork roast or standing rib roast ahead of time, if it goes on sale.  Be sure to allow enough time in your schedule to thaw properly before cooking.

6.  Cooking timeline.

Lastly, set up a tentative cooking schedule.  To ensure everything is hot, it is best to write down a simple timeline.

I hope you find this Holiday cooking timeline makes your Holiday less stressful and allows you to enjoy the day.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!