Christmas Dinner Ideas

Everything you need to know about pulling off a fabulous Christmas Dinner. With tips for planning and preparation, as well as ideas for every course, this collection has it all!

MORE COLLECTIONS: Christmas Appetizers, Christmas Cookies, Christmas Desserts, Mexican Christmas Food, Italian Christmas Food, Christmas Side Dishes

Collage of Christmas dinner ideas

the Perfect Christmas Dinner menu

In my family, we always gather together to enjoy dinner on Christmas Eve (Mexican food is always on the docket). All my siblings gather and we have a fun night with games and good food.

Christmas day is a little different – usually fewer people, but always a traditional Christmas dinner with meat (usually ham or steak), potatoes, rolls and more. I know everyone does things different, but today I’ve gathered together some of our traditional holiday recipes along with helpful dinner planning tips to help you out this season.

Here are some of our top tips:

PLAN YOUR MENU IN ADVANCE:

  • How many courses do you want to serve? 
  • Decide how many dishes in each course you’ll need?
  • You can mix store bought with homemade items
  • Think about what dishes can be made ahead of time. What can be cooked on the stove or crock pot, and how many dishes can you realistically cook in the oven? 
  • Decide what dishes you would let guests bring should they offer.
  • Don’t try NEW recipes the day of. Practice making them a couple of weeks before to work out any kinks. 

Garlic prime rib - Christmas dinner idea

Things to do ahead of time

Go shopping early: I once tried to buy ice the day before a holiday and had to go to 5, F-I-V-E, places! Use your menu as a shopping guide (be sure to print our the recipes in advance to help out with this). Also, be sure to check your spice rack, and other ingredients you normally have on hand. You don’t want to find an empty container during the middle of a recipe.

Plan a cooking schedule: Work backwards from your intended serving time. Make sure you are realistic about how long each dish will take to prepare and cook.

  • What order do the items need to be cooked?
  • Can anything go in the oven at the same time?
  • What can be cooked on the stove top? Crock pot?
  • What can be made ahead of time? Will it need to be reheated?

Do as much prep work ahead of time as you can. Chop any produce that will be used. Don’t forget to thaw your meat (some larger cuts take several days to thaw in the fridge). Gather all your table setting items, dishes, tablecloths, centerpieces in one place. If you can, go the extra step and set up your table the day before. 

Christmas Swedish meatballs in a white serving dish

more christmas dinner tips

  • For easier clean up use disposable baking dishes, or line pans with parchment paper or aluminum foil when possible. 
  • Ways to keep your food warm: crock pot set to low/warm, chafing dish, insulated cooler with a hot pad.  
  • Have a designated space for children to play in. If you can, have a spot set aside to accommodate babies and toddlers. A room with a pack n play for naps and a place to change diapers is very helpful for guests. 
  • Try not to stress when something doesn’t go right. Just remember the REASON for the party, whether it be religious or not, time with family and friends is a blessing. Also, having a secret stash of your favorite chocolate won’t hurt :o)

Here are some of our favorite Christmas Dinner dishes! Each of our recipes has helpful information such as different cooking methods, making ahead of time, variations, and storage methods. Also, there are links to similar recipes. If something listed here doesn’t wet your appetite, I know you’ll be able to find a recipe perfect for your Christmas dinner. 

Christmas Ham dinner

Christmas Ham Dinner

We know that Ham is a staple at many Christmas dinners, so we wanted to share with you the complete menu including appetizers, sides, salads, desserts and more to complete the ideal Christmas ham dinner. We are including a few of each course for you to pick and choose from, including 2 ham recipes. 😉

  • Brown Sugar Glazed Ham – Made in the slow cooker and sweetened with brown sugar and pineapple juice.
  • Honey Glazed Ham – Juicy, delicious ham glazed with a honey mix.
  • Christmas Tree Veggie Platter – A cute and festive vegetable platter shaped like a Christmas tree, complete with a star on top!
  • Deviled Eggs – Hard boil some eggs and turn the cooked yolks into a delicious creamy filling by mixing with sauces and seasonings.
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip – Filled with spinach, artichoke hearts, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, and mayo, this hot dip is a favorite. Eat it with pita chips, tortilla chips, bread slices, or veggies.
  • Tortellini Salad – Filled with tortellini, romaine lettuce, ranch, tomatoes and bacon bits.
  • Caesar Salad – Homemade caesar dressing with crispy homemade croutons. Just pair with some chopped romaine lettuce for a simple side salad.
  • Baked Potato Soup – A simple soup with big flavor, filled with Russet and Red potatoes, carrots, bacon, cheese and more.
  • Creamy Tomato Basil Soup – Smooth and creamy tomato basil soup seasoned with garlic, basil, and other delicious seasonings.
  • Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots – A quick and easy side dish made with carrots, butter, and brown sugar.
  • Homemade Mac and Cheese – Macaroni pasta covered in sharp cheddar cheese, melted into a warm cream sauce, and topped with a perfect panko crust.
  • Dinner Rolls – This recipe makes 30 soft and tender traditional style dinner rolls. Great for feeding a crowd!
  • Frozen Peppermint Delight – A cool holiday dessert with Oreo crust, peppermint ice cream filling, and whipped cream drizzled with chocolate syrup and sprinkled with crushed candy canes.
  • Pistachio Dessert – layers of goodness, including shortbread, a cheesecake layer, pistachio pudding layer and whipped cream.

Just pick from these popular recipes to make your complete Christmas ham dinner menu!

Christmas main dishes - roast chicken on a platter

MORE CHRISTMAS Main Dishes

Christmas Ham is a delicious and popular holiday dish, but really anything your family loves can be used. Just plan to serve 8-12 oz per person. Here are some other common main dishes served for Christmas Eve or day dinner.

  • Easy Slow Cooker Roast – Tender and juicy roast made with only 3 ingredients. Just place everything in the crockpot and let it do all the work!
  • Simple Roast Chicken – A whole chicken prepared with butter and a few seasonings. It only takes a few minutes to prepare, but tastes amazing!
  • Creamy Swiss Chicken Bake – Chicken breasts covered with Swiss cheese, a creamy mixture, and topped with parmesan cheese and other seasonings.
  • Lemon and Thyme Smothered Pork Chop – It’s just like it sounds! Your favorite kind of pork chops (boneless or bone-in) smothered in several delicious sauces and seasonings.
  • Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops – Seared in parmesan and baked to perfection. They’re so simple and yummy.
  • Favorite Steak – Our go-to steak recipe with minimal ingredients for the marinade but always so good!
  • Garlic Prime Rib – Juicy, delicious prime rib with garlic.
  • Roasted Turkey – This post contains everything you need to know about cooking the perfect holiday turkey!
  • Swedish Meatballs – A tradition that we serve every year! Meatballs made from both pork and beef, cooked to perfection, and smothered in a creamy gravy.

We love all of these recipes for a main dish for Christmas and we think you will too!

Christmas salads - asparagus salad with tomatoes and mozzarella

MORE Soups + Salad options

When a soup or salad precedes a meal plan for about 1 cup per person.

  • Waldorf Salad – Filled with so many great ingredients and a homemade poppyseed dressing.
  • Tomato Mozzarella Salad – Just a few ingredients but a delicious and simple salad to add to your holiday meal.
  • Arugula Salad – Filled with greens, shaved Parmesan, pine nuts, avocado and more.
  • Brussel Sprout Salad – A colorful salad with shredded brussel sprouts, pomegranate seeds, sliced almonds, and shaved parmesan.
  • Asparagus Salad – This salad only takes 10 minutes to throw together with asparagus, mozzarella cheese, and cherry tomatoes, seasoned with basil, and covered in a light balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Tortellini Spinach Soup – Just 5 minutes to prep and filled with so many amazing ingredients.
  • Butternut Squash Soup – Silky smooth butternut squash soup with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Chicken Dumpling Soup – In other countries, this is actually a traditional Christmas soup! A creamy soup with chicken chunks, pieces of biscuit, and lots of vegetables.
  • Chessy Potato Soup – A family favorite – just 10 minutes to prep and made in the crock pot.

Author

Kristi Ritchey