Holiday meal time is my favorite meal all year that I get to cook. There are two special times more than any other — Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I don't just halfheartedly prepare on these days. I spend a few days planning the perfect holiday meal, and that requires some serious menu planning for the holidays.
There are some steps that you can take that will help you create THE perfect holiday menu for your family. The planning process is simple and will not stress you out as long as you plan — so here are my tips and how I always prepare a fabulous holiday dinner.
One Month Ahead of Time
One month before the big day — I always sit down and write out my menu. This includes every single thing I want to cook. I scour the internet finding new ideas, I plan to fix family favorites. That is the first step — getting the menu written down.
Also during that time, I create a Holiday Menu Folder. Inside I keep all the recipes that I am going to be using so that I don't have to track them down. I use this folder religiously as it becomes my Holiday Menu Planning Hub!
3 Weeks before the big day
Prepare your shopping list and GET THE SHOPPING DONE! Do not wait until the week of your big holiday meal. If you do, you will likely forget something and cause yourself tons of stress. Prepare, prepare, prepare!!
2 weeks before the big day
Spend some time getting your house in order. Now that you have the menu made out, and the shopping done, you can now get your home in order. Purge, sell, and donate anything that seems to be in your way.
The week of your holiday meal
Spend some time going back over your menu. Make sure you have everything you need. Layout times that you are going to cook everything. I cannot tell you how much this has helped me keep everything in order and allow me to get everything on the table at the right time. There is nothing like forgetting the green beans, or forgetting to put the rolls in and then having to wait on things while the food cools.
Plan with timers and cook times!
- Turkey: put on at 8am – should be done by 12pm
- Dressing: put in the oven at 11:30
- Dessert: put in oven at 11:00
Last but not least, enjoy your day! If you love cooking this will not be a stressful day, but a very fun time for all! If you don't like cooking all that much, enlist the help of your family members! That is what they are there for!