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Making Christmas easier next year
Old 12-28-2014, 07:55 AM
  #1

I cooked a big dinner on Christmas Eve and then another big dinner on Christmas Day. It was exhausting to do both and it also resulted in far too much food. Next year I want to change it up by keeping the big Christmas Eve dinner tradition but pare down Christmas Day food into less work. What would you do? Your advice is appreciated as always!


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Old 12-28-2014, 07:58 AM
  #2

Is it possible to make something on Christmas Eve that can be used in a different, easier way on Christmas Day? For instance, we do a prime rib on Christmas, and then we make French Dip sandwiches the next day. Or make a traditional dinner on Christmas Eve (turkey, roast beef, etc.) and then have a premade casserole like lasagna ready for the next day?
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:03 AM
  #3

We like to use the left over turkey and some sausage to make gumbo.
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:06 AM
  #4

We just do the basics for Christmas every year. Sandwiches, cheese/crackers/sausage, chips, dessert (cookies and pie) and a relish tray. This year we also had cheesy potatoes and hot dip. Sometimes my dad makes sloppy joes as well. We have more then enough and each group of family members is assigned something specific to bring, so it's not too much for any one person.
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if you can afford it...
Old 12-28-2014, 08:09 AM
  #5

I bought sides from Whole Foods (there are a zillion other places that do this too). There was no way I would have fixed all those fancy-ish sides and still have my sanity

I literally just picked up the box and warmed the sides in the oven.

The mashed potatos and turkey gravy..bliss!
Corn bread pudding with jalapeños and cheese...yum...

There were other items, and ready made food made it so much easier. It was a little more expensive, but I didn't want to be slave and not enjoy the company. You can't buy more time on the planet.

I would figure out the food you could "outsource", and home prepare the food you couldn't buy.

I cut down my kitchen slave time I half.


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Old 12-28-2014, 08:19 AM
  #6

My SO and I really enjoy cooking so for the last couple of years we've prepared a "fancy" dinner for our families. This year was venison roast, creamy potatoes and honey glazed carrots. No leftovers.
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:27 AM
  #7

I have always cooked a big Thanksgiving dinner that pleases everyone else, but Christmas is always my decision. Some years I did a big breakfast, some years hors d'oeuvres, some years a full dinner. It just kinda depends.

The last two years we've had Christmas dinner before or after Christmas, and have gone out for sushi and a movie on Christmas day.
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Left overs
Old 12-28-2014, 08:33 AM
  #8

We've always eaten the Xmas eve left overs the next day. Sometimes we set aside one dish and bring it out on Xmas day.
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Dinner
Old 12-28-2014, 08:34 AM
  #9

My family does something a little different:

Christmas Eve dinner: all the siblings bring taco fixings over. My parents who host, just provide drinks.

Christmas Day: my parents cook a big breakfast.
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:41 AM
  #10

This is such a tough topic for many of us. I honestly believe many teachers are perfectionists and serving a meal is a major stresser because there are so many components: I worry about the people, the food, the dishes/glassware/silverware, the table....and on and on until my DH tells me to stop. When I take a deep breath, I know people are here to see those they love and that the good meal is only a part of the day. Like some pp's, I have cut back and tried to find easier ways. I traditionally do prime rib on Christmas Eve, but have cut the sides to roasted potatoes and a veggie. One dessert. On Christmas I cook a turkey, but I think that's pretty easy and people are willing to help. This year we had a belated Christmas with DD and SIL and, as we rarely see them, I wanted time to visit--not time spent in the kitchen. So I made a lasagne ahead and everyone LOVED it. My DH was in heaven--and truly seemed to enjoy this simple meal more than the more elaborate ones. So my advice is to decide what's most important to you ("it has to be ham" or "Aunt Sheila will die without cranberry sauce" or "everyone will be here for hugs") and work around that--making it as simple as possible for yourself.

Final thought: for all the leftover meals and breakfasts/lunches, I use Christmas paper plates.


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Big dinner
Old 12-28-2014, 08:43 AM
  #11

On Christmas Eve then on Christmas day we go to the in laws and she has appetizers and we snack for hours. She does nachos, cheese and crackers, vegetable platter, bacon around a water chestnut, stuffed crescent rolls, deviled eggs etc., ya know guilty pleasures. I LOVE it!!!
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:46 AM
  #12

We made a ham. They're already cooked so it's easy to make. We had everyone who showed up bring a dish. That worked really well. We ended up making sautéed green beans too, but those take like 5 minutes. We did that because not enough people brought veggies.

We still ended up with too much food but at least we disng cook a bunch.

Maybe someone else hosts Christmas Eve? We went to my MILs.
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Chinese carry out
Old 12-28-2014, 08:54 AM
  #13

We have an amazing Chinese restaurant in our town so on Christmas Eve we get take out. I make desserts and we order our favorites. I can actually enjoy my guests and relax. Everyone loves it. I use my Christmas dishes and we eat family style. I do prepare the big meal on Christmas day.
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:21 AM
  #14

My family does a buffet on Christmas Eve, pretty much a bunch of snack foods, meat cheese, tamales, veggies, fruit, Mac and cheese, and sweets, etc...Each person brings a dish to share.
Christmas Day my sister makes an egg omelet roll for breakfast and then we have a big meal.
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:57 AM
  #15

We do appetizers on Christmas Eve and always try to do at least two new recipes (this year from Pinterest) and then a full dinner on Christmas day.
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:07 AM
  #16

Definitely get takeout or get catering services, so that you only have to cook one meal, if even that!
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:40 AM
  #17

For Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, depending on company and schedules, we do a finger food type meal, with breads, olives, cheeses, fruits, prosciutto , etc. This year we added caponata (eggplant type dip) and shrimp. Anyone can just nosh on whatever they want throughout the day.

In the past, I've also done a big breakfast on Christmas Day. I like that too.

(As long as I get my turkey fix on Thanksgiving, I'm okay with a smaller meal at Christmas.)
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:26 PM
  #18

We always have soup, crackers, cheese and summer sausage on Christmas Eve. Soups are not hard and can be prepped or made a head of time. Maybe find a "special" soup for this day. My grandpa always made oyster soup., so my brother made it this year for my parents. A second vegetable soup was available for those who don't like oysters. Just a thought.
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It's tough
Old 12-28-2014, 12:43 PM
  #19

We often get a Honeybaked ham for Christmas Eve dinner. I make popovers for Christmas breakfast. On Christmas we snack on ham and stuff when we're hungry. No real sit down meal.

The ham is huge, so we are on day 5.

If you are making a big dinner on Christmas Eve, there should be plenty of leftovers for the next day. Maybe other family can bring some new sides or something. Two big dinners in two days is too much.
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:45 PM
  #20

We used to do 2 big dinners, now we have a big dinner on Christmas Eve and sandwiches, cheese & crackers, and assorted snacks. Makes a much more relaxed Christmas day
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tamales
Old 12-28-2014, 01:51 PM
  #21

This might just be a Texas thing, but we have tamales on Christmas Eve. Some families make them by hand--which is time consuming--and others (like mine) purchase them ready made, then heat them up & serve with guacamole, rice, & beans. On Christmas day we usually have a crockpot roast or ham, with a couple of veggie sides and one desert. Anybody who shows up expecting lots of yummy food won't be disappointed, but anybody who shows up expecting fancy stuff won't be happy.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:42 PM
  #22

My mother moved away from the traditional Christmas dinner this year. Dad made a pot of chili and mom bought a small sliced ham and bought rolls for sandwiches. Each of the kids and adult grandkids brought stuff like drinks,, Christmas cookies, pepperoni and cheese tray, etc.

Having done my own holiday dinners, I understand the work. Most of the family thought the idea was weird, but everything was fine when it was all said and done. The best part is mom could rest that evening before working the next day.

If I were histing both days, I think I would make one day a pot luck or pick something simple.
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Old 12-28-2014, 04:27 PM
  #23

This year, we served ham sandwiches and cheddar potato soup for Christmas Eve (very easy and delicious) and the traditional turkey dinner Christmas Day.
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:17 PM
  #24

Christmas Day here is an all day buffet. I put out sliced ham, usually a nugget tray from Chick fil-A, maybe some lunch meat, chips, pretzels, bread, raw veggies and dip, cheese, crackers, fresh fruit, cookies and cake!

Nancy
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