Christmas Dinner Ideas

With tips for planning and preparation, as well as ideas for every course, this collection of Christmas Dinner ideas has it all to pull off a fabulous Christmas dinner!

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 Christmas menu). 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 differently, but today I’ve gathered together some of our traditional holiday recipes, along with helpful dinner planning tips to help you out this season.

Christmas Fruits and Vegetables

Using produce is a great way to incorporate the textures and flavors of the season. Some favorite winter produce: 

  • Fruits: Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Pear, Pumpkin, Apple, Cranberry, Raisin, Pomegranate, Pineapple, Persimmon, Kiwi, Banana, and Date.
  • Vegetables: Onion, Broccoli, Beet, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Green or Red Onion, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Leek, Mushroom, Parsnip, Potato, Turnip, Rutabaga, and Radish.
  • Leafy Greens: Arugula, Kale, Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, Red Cabbage, and Baby Spinach.
  • Herbs and Spices: Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Sage, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, and Ginger.
Christmas dinner ideas - a sliced ham dinner on a white platter.

Christmas Dinner Tips

I’ve included some of our top tips to help things go as smoothly as possible!

PLAN YOUR HOLIDAY MENU IN ADVANCE. First, ask yourself these questions:

  • How many courses do I want to serve? 
  • How many dishes in each course will I need?
  • Which dishes would I appreciate guests bringing, should they offer?
  • What can be cooked on the stove or crock pot, and how many dishes can I realistically cook in the oven? 

Keep these tips in mind:

  • Think about what dishes can be made ahead of time.
  • Mix store-bought with homemade items.
  • Don’t try NEW recipes the day of. Practice making them a couple of weeks before to work out any kinks. 
Garlic prime rib sliced and served with fresh herbs - Christmas dinner idea.

Calculating how much you’ll need

When family dinner consists of those who live in your home, you probably mastered exactly how much your family will eat, but when you start adding extended family it can be a bit harder to estimate.

Appetizers. Plan to serve 3-5 appetizer pieces per person. If you only have 5-10 people coming, plan to serve 1-2 different appetizer dishes. Add another appetizer dish for every 5-8 people in attendance.

Sides. Plan about 6 oz of potatoes per person and 4 oz of veggies per person. For every 5-8 people attending add another dish to the menu. Plan to serve 1.5 rolls per person. Salads, plan for 4-6 oz per person. 

Meat dish. Plan on serving each adult 6 to 8 ounces of meat. Children will only need 3-4 oz. If serving breaded meats, reduce the amount of meat by 2-3 oz.

Remember the meat will lose about 25% of its weight during the cooking process. Fattier pieces of meat will lose more mass so be sure to account for the loss. 

Desserts. For 8 or fewer guests plan for 1 type of dessert. For every 8-10 more people, add another dessert option. No matter how many options there are, you only need to have enough for people to have 2 total servings of dessert.

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 out the recipes in advance to help 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 in the middle of a recipe.

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

  • In 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 stovetop? Crockpot?
  • 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, and centerpieces in one place.

If you can, go the extra step and set up your Christmas dinner table the day before. 

Christmas dinner ideas - swedish meatballs topped with gravy.

more Christmas dinner tips

For easier clean up use disposable baking dishes, or line pans with parchment paper or aluminum foil when possible. 

Keep your food warm. Use a crock pot set to low/warm, chafing dishes, or an insulated cooler with a hot pad.

Play area. Have a designated space for children to play. 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. 

Don’t stress! Try not to stress when something doesn’t go right. Just remember the REASON for the party, whether it is religious or not, time with family and friends is a blessing. Also, having a secret stash of your favorite chocolate won’t hurt.

Here are some of our favorite Christmas Dinner dishes! 

Each of our easy Christmas dinner recipes has helpful information such as different cooking methods, how to make ahead of time, variations, and storing methods.

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 and a festive Christmas Tree Veggie Platter. 😉

Just pick from these popular recipes to make your complete Christmas Ham Dinner Menu!

Crockpot Brown Sugar Ham – This crock pot ham is made entirely in the slow cooker, which makes for quick prep time and minimal effort. With a deliciously sweet brown sugar glaze, it’s our favorite way to make a holiday ham!

Honey Glazed Ham – Tender and juicy Honey Glazed Ham is smothered in our simple 5-ingredient glaze. It’s our favorite recipe for holiday ham!

Deviled Eggs – Nothing better than a smooth deviled egg appetizer! You’ll be surprised with how easy these are to make. Tons of flavor, super delicious and perfect for parties and holidays.

Spinach Artichoke Dip – This is the BEST Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe, and the ultimate dip for any get together! Filled with spinach, artichoke hearts, cheese, and more – this dip is sooo cheesy and perfect for any gathering!

Tortellini Salad – Super YUMMY and easy Tortellini Salad filled with tortellini, salad, ranch, tomatoes and bacon bits – perfect for summer time!

Cranberry Brie Bites – These Yummy Little Cranberry Brie Bites Are Perfect For Holiday Entertaining, And Simple To Make. With Buttery Crescent Dough, Melty Brie, And Sweet Cranberry Sauce All In One Bite, They Won’t Last Long Around Hungry Family And Friends!

Baked Potato Soup – This Disney copycat Baked Potato Soup is loaded with flavor and is filled with Russet and Red potatoes, carrots, bacon, cheese and more.

Tomato Basil Soup – With garlic, basil, and other delicious seasonings, this creamy tomato basil soup has a bold flavor that you’ll quickly fall in love with.

Caesar Salad Dressing – Delicious Homemade Caesar Salad dressing with crispy Homemade Croutons. This simple salad dressing will become your new go-to for salads!

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots – Tender + Tasty Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots are a perfect go-to side dish. Best of all, they only require 4 ingredients!!

Best Mashed Potatoes – These Buttery smooth mashed potatoes are our Go-To potato side dish recipe for every dinner and holiday get together. They’re everyone’s favorite potatoes!

Homemade Dinner Rolls – Soft, Butter-y Homemade Dinner Rolls are one of our best-loved recipes. Perfect for holidays, or anytime, it’s so hard to eat just one!

Easy Twice Baked Potatoes – After having these Twice Baked Potatoes, you’ll never want regular baked potatoes again! These super easy potatoes are loaded with sour cream, cheese, bacon, and seasonings! For being such a delicious side, they are SO simple!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese – Baked Macaroni and Cheese is a deliciously cheesy meal, perfect any night and one that the whole family will love and devour in no time!

Peppermint Ice Cream Dessert – Peppermint Ice Cream Dessert is a cool and refreshing holiday dessert stuffed with candy cane bits, all atop an Oreo crust.

Pistachio Dessert – A delicious Pistachio pudding dessert with layers of crushed Sandies Cookies, cream cheese/cheesecake layer, pistachio pudding layer and topped with whipped cream!

MORE CHRISTMAS Main Dishes

We love all of these recipes for the main dish for Christmas, and we think you will too! Whether turkey breast, beef tenderloin, roast beef, or pork roast, there is sure to be a delicious centerpiece.

Christmas Ham {RECIPE BELOW} – is a delicious and popular holiday dish, but really anything your family loves can be used. Here are some other common main dishes served for Christmas Eve or day dinner.

Pot Roast – This Crock Pot Roast Recipe is one of our favorite Sunday dinners. It takes only 3 minutes of prep time and then the slow cooker does the rest! The chuck roast ends up being SO tender and full of flavor from the brown gravy, Italian, and ranch dressing mix! 

Swiss Chicken Bake – Delicious Creamy Swiss Chicken Bake – a simple and delicious dinner recipe that includes Swiss and Parmesan cheese.

Roast Chicken – Simple and delicious roast chicken tastes like you spent all day cooking it! It is the the perfect go-to dinner recipe.

Smothered Pork Chops – This creamy Lemon & Thyme Smothered Pork Chops recipe always gets rave reviews. It’s flavorful and ready in 35 minutes or less.

Parmesan Crusted Porkchops – Fry up the most delicious Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops with less than 10 minutes of prep work!! They are perfectly juicy.

Easy Swedish Meatballs – Swedish meatballs made from both pork and beef, cooked to perfection, and smothered in a creamy gravy.

Oven Roast Turkey – How to Roast a Turkey – All the tips and tricks you’ll need to make a turkey full of flavor. It’s great for Thanksgiving but really for any holiday.

Best Steak Marinade – This is Our All-Time Favorite Steak Marinade. It requires only four ingredients, and makes our steak taste SO amazing!

Garlic Prime Rib – Perfect prime rib, seasoned with garlic and cooked in the oven. A secret trick will give you the most tender and juicy meat you’ve ever made!

MORE Soups + Salad options

It’s great to have a few side dish recipes on hand to fill in when you are quickly adding more guests, or to complete your dinner spread! These are some of our favorites.

Waldorf Salad – Waldorf Salad is filled with texture and flavor. Tossed in a homemade poppyseed dressing, it’s perfect for any lunch, dinner or appetizer.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad – Fresh, light, and healthy tomato mozzarella salad! Perfect for lunches with friends or a side salad to dinner!

Arugula Salad – Fresh Arugula salad is loaded with healthy greens, juicy tomatoes, and parmesan shavings with pine nuts and creamy avocado on top!

Brussel Sprout Salad – Full of shredded Brussel sprouts, pomegranate seeds, sliced almonds, and a little bit of shaved parmesan, this colorful salad has the perfect amount of crunch!

Asparagus Salad – Filled with mozzarella cheese, and cherry tomatoes, seasoned with basil, and covered in a light balsamic vinaigrette, this asparagus salad is bursting with flavor! Best of all, it comes together in less than 10 minutes!

Butternut Squash Soup – Buttery smooth butternut squash soup with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg makes for one delicious cozy bowl of soup!

Chicken Dumpling Soup – Our all-time favorite version of one of the most classic soup recipes – Chicken and Dumplings! This simple, delicious soup is filled with chunks of chicken and pieces of biscuit, along with your favorite veggies!

Wedge Salad – This fresh wedge salad is a classic. It’s crisp and refreshing, smothered in creamy dressing and topped with crumbles of cheese and bacon.

Cheesy Potato Soup – You won’t find an easier Cheesy Potato Soup Recipe anywhere else! Just throw a small handful of ingredients in the crockpot, and a few hours later, you’ll have a creamy, delicious, CHEESY soup.

Spinach and Tortellini Salad – This cold tortellini salad is the ultimate side dish for bbq and potlucks! With tortellini, spinach, tomatoes, olives, and parmesan tossed in Italian dressing, this Tortellini Spinach Salad is packed with all the best flavors!


Our Go-To Christmas Ham

If you’re anything like us then you have a ham on Christmas Day.

It’s great because it’s typically simple, feeds a lot, and is delicious!

We are sharing our go-to Honey Glazed Christmas Ham recipe because it’s a favorite, and is the perfect dinner for the 25th. We hope you love it as much as we do.

BEST Christmas Dinner Ideas + Christmas Ham Recipe

No ratings yet
Simply place a spiral cut ham in the crock pot, cover with a 5-ingredient glaze, and 4 hours later you'll have a tender and juicy Honey Glazed Ham!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 172 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TB Dijon mustard
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 4-5 pound Sam’s Choice spiral cut ham (cooked)

Instructions
 

  • Place cut ham slices into your crock pot.
  • Add brown sugar, honey, water, Dijon mustard and cloves to a small pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove cloves from the glaze and pour over ham. Cook on LOW for 4 hours making sure to baste ham with the glaze every hour or so.
  • Serve warm with the glaze poured over the top.

The Complete List

Here are the picture cards of ALL of the Christmas Dinner Recipes listed above.

Hopefully this list helps you plan a delicious meal this holiday season! Just remember, as long as you’re with the ones you love, anything you make will be perfect.

Main Course Crockpot Brown Sugar Ham Recipe
Crockpot Brown Sugar Ham has a quick prep, and requires minimal effort. It's our favorite way to make a holiday ham!
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
5 from 25 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Honey Glazed Ham Recipe
Tender and juicy Honey Glazed Ham is smothered in our simple 5-ingredient glaze. It's our favorite recipe for holiday ham!
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
5 from 17 votes
Check out this recipe
Appetizer Deviled Eggs Recipe
Nothing better than a smooth deviled egg appetizer! You’ll be surprised with how easy these are to make. Tons of flavor, super delicious and perfect for parties and holidays.
Total Time: 35 minutes
5 from 40 votes
Check out this recipe
Appetizer Cranberry Brie Appetizer
With buttery crescent dough, melty brie, and sweet cranberry sauce all in one bite, these won't last long around hungry family and friends!
Total Time: 35 minutes
5 from 14 votes
Check out this recipe
Appetizer Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe
This is the BEST Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe, and the ultimate dip for any get together! Filled with spinach, artichoke hearts, cheese, and more – this dip is sooo cheesy and perfect for any gathering!
Total Time: 35 minutes
5 from 109 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Tortellini Salad Recipe
Fresh and filling Tortellini Salad whips up in minutes for a delicious summer salad topped with creamy ranch dressing.
Total Time: 20 minutes
4.91 from 11 votes
Check out this recipe
Dressing, Salad Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe
Delicious Homemade Caesar Salad dressing with crispy Homemade Croutons. This simple salad dressing will become your new go-to for salads!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 14 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course, Soup Baked Potato Soup Recipe
This Disney copycat Baked Potato Soup is loaded with flavor and is filled with Russet and Red potatoes, carrots, bacon, cheese and more.
Total Time: 40 minutes
5 from 3 votes
Check out this recipe
Soup Tomato Basil Soup Recipe
With garlic, basil, and other delicious seasonings, this creamy tomato basil soup has a bold flavor that you’ll quickly fall in love with.
Total Time: 55 minutes
4.82 from 22 votes
Check out this recipe
Side Dish Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots Recipe
Tender + Tasty Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots are a perfect go-to side dish. Best of all, they only require 4 ingredients!!
Total Time: 20 minutes
5 from 522 votes
Check out this recipe
Side Dish Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe
My FAVORITE mashed potatoes recipe! These Buttery smooth mashed potatoes are our Go-To potato side dish recipe for every dinner and holiday get together.
5 from 98 votes
Check out this recipe
Side Dish Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe
Easy Twice Baked Potatoes are loaded with sour cream, cheese, bacon, and seasonings for the perfect savory side or main dish!
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Bread Homemade Dinner Rolls Recipe
Soft, Butter-y Homemade Dinner Rolls are one of our best-loved recipes. Perfect for holidays, or anytime, it's so hard to eat just one!
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
5 from 233 votes
Check out this recipe
Dessert Peppermint Ice Cream Dessert Recipe
Peppermint Ice Cream Dessert is a cool and refreshing holiday dessert stuffed with candy cane bits, all atop an Oreo crust.
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
4.95 from 19 votes
Check out this recipe
Dessert Pistachio Dessert Recipe
Delicious Pistachio Dessert has a crunchy shortbread cookie base for the perfect combination of crunchy, creamy, sweet + salty.
Total Time: 18 minutes
4.98 from 39 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Pasta Bake Recipe
Pasta Bake is a deliciously cheesy meal, perfect for any night, and one that the whole family will love and devour in no time!
Total Time: 25 minutes
5 from 10 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Pot Roast & Gravy Recipe
This Crock Pot Roast Recipe is one of our favorite Sunday dinners. It takes only 3 minutes of prep time and then the slow cooker does the rest! The chuck roast ends up being SO tender and full of flavor from the brown gravy, Italian, and ranch dressing mix! 
Total Time: 7 hours 5 minutes
4.96 from 44 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Best Roast Chicken Recipe
Simple and delicious roast chicken tastes like you spent all day cooking it! It is the the perfect go-to dinner recipe.
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
5 from 11 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Swiss Chicken Bake Recipe
Delicious Creamy Swiss Chicken Bake – a simple and delicious dinner recipe that includes Swiss and Parmesan cheese.
Total Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
4.92 from 267 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Smothered Pork Chops Recipe
This creamy Lemon & Thyme Smothered Pork Chops recipe always gets rave reviews. It's flavorful and ready in 35 minutes or less.
Total Time: 35 minutes
5 from 11 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Parmesan Crusted Pork Chop Recipe
Fry up the most delicious Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops with less than 10 minutes of prep work!! They are perfectly juicy.
Total Time: 40 minutes
4.98 from 312 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Steak Marinade Recipe
This is our all-time favorite Steak Marinade. It requires only four ingredients, and makes steak taste SO amazing!
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
4.91 from 33 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Prime Rib Recipe
Perfect prime rib, seasoned with garlic and cooked in the oven. A secret trick will give you the most tender and juicy meat you've ever made!
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
5 from 19 votes
Check out this recipe
Perfect Roast Turkey
Main Course Oven Roast Turkey Recipe
How to Roast the Perfect Turkey – so full of flavor and a hit any holiday or day of the year, but especially Thanksgiving!!
Total Time: 3 hours
5 from 20 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course Easy Swedish Meatballs Recipe
Easy Swedish Meatballs made from both pork and beef, are smothered in a creamy gravy. It's the perfect dish for holiday entertaining!
Total Time: 1 hour
5 from 14 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Waldorf Salad Recipe
Waldorf Salad is filled with texture and flavor. Tossed in a homemade poppyseed dressing, it's perfect for any lunch, dinner or appetizer.
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 21 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Tomato Mozzarella Salad Recipe
Fresh, light, and healthy tomato mozzarella salad! Perfect for lunches with friends or a side salad to dinner!
Total Time: 8 minutes
5 from 6 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course, Salad, Side Dish Arugula Salad Recipe
Fresh Arugula salad is loaded with healthy greens, juicy tomatoes, and parmesan shavings with pine nuts and creamy avocado on top!
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 4 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Brussel Sprout Salad Recipe
Full of shredded Brussel sprouts, pomegranate seeds, sliced almonds, and a little bit of shaved parmesan, this colorful salad has the perfect amount of crunch!
Total Time: 25 minutes
5 from 9 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Asparagus Salad Recipe
Filled with mozzarella cheese, and cherry tomatoes, seasoned with basil, and covered in a light balsamic vinaigrette, this asparagus salad is bursting with flavor! Best of all, it comes together in less than 10 minutes!
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 9 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Spinach Tortellini Salad Recipe
This cold tortellini salad is the ultimate side dish for bbq and potlucks! With tortellini, spinach, tomatoes, olives, and parmesan tossed in Italian dressing, this Tortellini Spinach Salad is packed with all the best flavors!
Total Time: 20 minutes
4.82 from 16 votes
Check out this recipe
Soup Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Buttery smooth butternut squash soup with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg makes for one delicious cozy bowl of soup!
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
5 from 5 votes
Check out this recipe
Main Course, Soup Chicken Dumpling Soup Recipe
Our all-time favorite version of one of the most classic soup recipes – Chicken and Dumplings! This simple, delicious soup is filled with chunks of chicken and pieces of biscuit, along with your favorite veggies!
Total Time: 30 minutes
4.88 from 24 votes
Check out this recipe
Soup Cheesy Potato Soup Recipe
Creamy Cheesy Potato Soup is the easiest you'll ever make. You only need a handful of ingredients and a crockpot!!
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
5 from 52 votes
Check out this recipe
Salad Wedge Salad Recipe
This fresh wedge salad is a classic. It's crisp and refreshing, smothered in creamy dressing and topped with crumbles of cheese and bacon.
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
5 from 4 votes
Check out this recipe

Be sure to check out all of our Christmas Recipes.

More Collections: Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas, New Years Appetizers, Christmas Drink Recipes

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!