It’s the most wonderful time of the year for family and friends, and with Christmas right around corner, it’s time to plan out one epic holiday feast. From planning your menu and getting everything to the table piping hot to creating an awesome holiday playlist, we’re giving you everything you need except the food with these 10 easy steps. The best news: These simple tips and tricks will work for any holiday meal, so feel free to print them out to use all year round!
1. Check for food allergies and dietary restrictions
Roll this step into the invitation process to save time and gather any substitutions or restrictions before you plan the menu. That way you’ll be sure to offer something for everyone without the last-minute hustle.
2. Mix traditional recipes with modern ones
We love old-school, classic recipes more than the next guy, but sometimes a little innovation is key. When it comes to holiday supper, we suggest mixing up some of your grandma’s recipes with a few newbies. Where do we find em? Check out our 15 favorite food blogs!
3. Do a run through of new recipes
Practice makes perfect in life, and the same is true inside the kitchen. Test first-time recipes to make sure they cook at the same time and temperature as the recipe calls for and tweak and seasoning as necessary. Cook’s Illustrated is just one of my favorite recipe-testing resources
4. Say no to potluck offerings
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good potluck. When it comes to big holiday meals, however, it’s sometimes easier to keep everything in-house. One uncooked side or underheated dish will seriously rain on your party-planning-parade!
5. Plan out your service ware
I make good on my life-long love affair with Post-it’s every holiday season. Based on your color scheme and how much food you’re serving up, choose your service dishes ahead of time so you know exactly what food goes where to seriously cut down on day-of stress.
6. Decide on a theme/color pallette
Choosing the general feel and colors you want to deck the table with will help you choose your linens, flowers and maybe even your outfit. I recommend starting with the flatware (plates, bowls, etc.) then work your way to the linens and tablescape. Choosing the flowers first may just lead to $300 in brand new dishes you really don’t need just to match a color!
7. Create a dinner playlist
Every great party comes with it’s own playlist so your holiday meal should be no different! While it is a Christmas feast, don’t go crazy-town with the holiday hits. Mix in some classic jazz to break up the jingle tunes and be sure to add a mix of old and new artists. We love Spotify!
8. Plan and time your recipes
After you’ve done your due diligence and tested out any new recipes, figure out how much time each recipe needs and where you’ll need to cook it. This will help you avoid the ‘no-room-at-the-inn’ problem when there’s no space in the oven for that last casserole dish.
9. Stock up on ‘takeout’ boxes
Everybody loves leftovers…At least we think everybody should! Stock up on disposable takeout boxes you can fill up and pass on to your guests as they head out at the end of the night. The best part: No awkward phone tag to get your ‘good’ storage containers back.
10. Take a breath, relax!
Pour yourself a holiday cocktail, sit back and relish in the amazing feast you created…You deserve to enjoy this as much as everybody else!
Happy Holidays from the team here at Plated!
– Jared Levan