Planning a holiday meal can be overwhelming. Between trying to figure out what everyone likes and how much money you have left for the season, it’s easy to panic. But the stress isn’t necessary–and it’s something that everyone experiences at least once in their lives. Whether you’re a newbie or an old hand at family gatherings, planning your holiday meal is probably one of the most stressful events leading up to the big day. Luckily, you can do plenty before the big day to ease some of that tension and help make this holiday much less nerve-wracking than it might seem right now. So keep reading to learn more about planning your holiday menu!
Figure Out What You Want For Your Holiday Meal
For many, the most challenging part about planning a holiday meal is deciding precisely what you want. Once you’ve figured that part out, you’re on your way to a stress-free holiday! Start by thinking about what you and your family like to eat during the year. What are some of your favorite dishes? Next, consider what you’d like to have on display during the holidays. What are the holidays and times of year generally like for you? These questions can help you get more specific about what dishes you would like to have on display during your holiday meal. Next, start thinking about any dietary restrictions your family members might have. For example, suppose one member of the family is vegan. In that case, another is gluten-free, or another member has a specific food allergy, you’ll want to be aware of those restrictions and consider them when planning your menu.
Popular Holiday Dishes
Next, you’ll want to consider what some of your family’s and your guests’ favorites are regarding holiday meals. You can find plenty of ideas by looking through your generation’s top holiday recipes, browsing your family member’s favorite food blogs, or chit-chatting with your friends and family members about what they like to eat during the holidays. While you don’t want to go overboard and serve every dish people in your family might like, you can still find plenty of inspiration in popular holiday dishes. Main dishes such as holiday glazed ham, chicken roast, or herb-crusted lamb are big hits with crowds. Vegetarian dishes such as mushroom pot pies, vegan meatballs, and mashed potatoes are also great to add to your menu. If you’re on the hunt for a new potato recipe, check out this copycat Cracker Barrel hashbrown casserole.
Check-In With Guests For Dietary Restrictions and Allergies
Once you’ve figured out what you want for your holiday meal, you’ll want to ensure that all members of your family know your dietary restrictions and allergies. This can be particularly helpful if any of your guests happen to have dietary restrictions or allergies, as well. While you must let your family members know about any dietary restrictions or allergies, you must remember that not everyone understands or agrees with your decisions. Even if you’ve been living together for a long time, there will always be those who are not open-minded regarding food choices, even if they’re the ones in your family who aren’t on board with your lifestyle choices. A great way to handle this is to keep it civil and respectful while still being open and honest. Check-in with your family members to make sure they know your dietary restrictions and understand why you have those restrictions. You can also make it a point to let your family members know about any dietary restrictions or allergies you have in advance so there are no misunderstandings.
Decide On The Menu
Once you’ve figured out what you want for your holiday meal and your guests’ favorites, you can start thinking about what you’d like to serve. You can brainstorm some of your favorite dishes and see if they might work for your holiday meal. Make a list of dishes you want, and then start adding dishes that might work if money is a concern or if you know one or more of your guests are vegetarian. Once you’ve got a list of dishes you like, you can start to narrow down your list. What dishes might you remove if money is a concern? Are there any dishes on your list that you know won’t work with your menu? What dishes might you add if you know one or more of your guests are vegetarian?
Have An Organized Shopping List and Plan Out How to Cook in Advance
Next, you’ll want to make sure you have a shopping list for your meal. This can help you save time and money during your shopping trip and make sure that you don’t make any mistakes when you head to the grocery store. Once you have a shopping list ready, you can start to think about how you can use that list to help save money on your holiday meal. For example, what dishes can you substitute if you’re worried about money being an issue? What dishes might you skip if you plan to go to a friend’s house for dinner?
Decide How To Set The Table To Show Off Your Dishes
Finally, once you’ve figured out what dishes you’d like to serve and what you’re going to make from a cost perspective, you can start to think about how you will display your dishes. This can help you decide how you’re going to set the table for your holiday meal, as well as help you determine how you’re going to decorate your table for the season. You can set the table for your holiday meal in several ways, using bowls, platters, or plates you already have at home. You can also use platters and bowls from your holiday decorations or purchase new ones to help you celebrate the season. You can also use large decorative plates, such as wreaths or Christmas trees, as placeholders to help you decorate your table during the holidays.
What To Do Next
Now that you know what to do, it’s time to start your holiday meal planning. Whether you’re looking for some inspiration or have a specific menu, there are many great resources available to help you plan your holiday meal. You can check out your local library or bookstore for cookbooks or other holiday cookbooks, or you can use online resources such as Amazon or Goodreads. You can also check out your local farmer’s market or local grocery store for tips on how to save money, as well as seasonal ingredients. Lastly, keep your mind open to the possibilities and try something new. Whether you’re hosting a special holiday get-together or want to try something new for your holiday meal, there are many different ways to celebrate the season.