We may not be traveling home this year, but with good cheer, a little creativity and an internet connection, we can celebrate Christmas from wherever we are. And the key to prepping, cooking and serving a stress-free Christmas dinner is planning ahead. However you decide to celebrate, our timeline will help you stay organized and on track for a very merry holiday!
4 Weeks Before Christmas
- Decide how many virtual get-togethers you want to organize. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or both? Dinner with family? Cocktails and cheese tasting? Pre-gift-opening breakfast? Post-gift-opening brunch? (Check out our themed gift crates for easy party-in-a-box solutions to virtual entertaining.)
- Decide which technology to use. Make sure you understand the app and confirm it will support the size of your group.
- What’s the dress code: Formal? Casual? Ugly sweaters? Matching PJs?
- Draw up your guest lists.
- Send out Paperless Post invites for your gatherings – be sure to include all details, plus Zoom or GoogleMeet info.
- For a totally relaxed feast, order a pre-cooked turkey and ready-to-heat sides. Order by December 13th for delivery on or before December 24th, though it’s always best to place your order early!
3 Weeks Before Christmas
- Decide how you want to run things. For example, is everybody making the same menu?
- Simplify your own feast or send food gifts to family and friends. We have everything from roasts and hams to cakes, cookies and an array of confections. Order now for Christmas delivery.
- Organize your activities. Give guests a supply list or send them whatever they’ll need.
- Create a friends/family photo slideshow you can share on-screen during your event.
2 Weeks Before Christmas
- Send guidelines for the technology you’re using and confirm that everyone knows how to use it.
- People with less experience using the chosen app will appreciate basic tips or a link to a tutorial.
- Send out a link with holiday Zoom backgrounds.
- Create a holiday playlist that everyone can access on Spotify.
- If you’re shopping online, make sure you’ve ordered foods for delivery.
- Plan your table setting, serving dishes and decorations.
- Read through all your recipes to determine the food and cooking equipment you’ll need.
- Make your shopping and to-do lists.
- Shop for nonperishable food items plus any cooks’ tools, cooking equipment and tableware you need.
1 Week Before Christmas
- Set up your login, send out links, passwords – and reconfirm basic tech instructions.
- Do a quick practice run on your chosen app to be sure older folks won’t have problems on the big day.
- Choose some playful table topics and sent them to your guests – it’s a great way to get conversations going.
- Send guests fun ideas for holiday activities – here are a few of our favorites.
A Few Days Before Christmas
- Prep any food that can be done ahead of time, such as cookies, pastry, croutons and some fresh vegetables.
- Check defrost times on frozen meats and sides, and schedule the dates and times you want to begin defrosting.
The Day Before Christmas
- Set up your Zoom spot on Dec. 23 so that you’re ready to go by Christmas Eve – and free to take care of any last-minute errands and tasks. Make sure you’ve got all your backgrounds, table settings and other Insta-worthy details ready to go.
- Complete your food shopping.
- If you ordered fresh meat, pick it up or have it delivered.
- Brine, marinade or otherwise prep meats as needed.
- Prepare any dishes that can be made in advance, such as soups and desserts.
- If you’re serving hors d’oeuvres or cheeses, gather the serving platters, plates and linens.
- Chop vegetables for salads and side dishes; refrigerate in covered bowls or sealable plastic bags.
- Set the table.
- Set out the serving bowls, platters, baskets and utensils you’ll need for all the foods you have planned – including cheeses and hors d’oeuvres.
Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
- Refrigerate any wines that need chilling.
- Arrange cheese platters, hors d’oeuvres, dips and cocktail snacks.
- Put meats or main courses in the oven at the determined time.
- While the meat is cooking, make your sides, gravies and salads.
- Celebrate and enjoy a wonderful meal! Make the most of your gatherings by staying relaxed, having fun and remembering what’s most important – sharing the joy of Christmas with family and friends. For more inspiration, visit us!