It is the most wonderful time of the year but it can be stressful!  Hosting a feast for your family can be quite nerve-wracking – unless you have a Christmas Day entertaining plan. Follow my Christmas countdown for a less stressful family gathering and easy Christmas dinner.

Here is my Countdown to Christmas Day Entertaining.

Countdown to Christmas Day Entertaining

christmas day entertaining

One week before

Set your menu. If you are doing a pot-luck, better for you but I like to spoil guests and have them just bring themselves.

Once you’ve decided what to cook, write up your shopping list. If you’re roasting a turkey, call the grocery store and order your fresh turkey. I prefer a fresh turkey but a frozen turkey is also fine. Just make sure to allow time for thawing. Try my easy turkey recipe.

Five Days Before

Go grocery shopping. Get everything you need that day so you’re not scrambling last minute, although you probably will end up forgetting something! Here are six apps that will help you get organized.

Three days before

If you have kids, they will probably prefer cookies over a cheesecake or pie so let them bake! There are so many varieties of cookies to choose from – a simple cookie recipe will do just fine. Let them go to town on the icing and decorations. Try my easy gingerbread recipe.

After the kids make a mess, clean the house. You’ll still need to do a quick tidy and vacuum before guests come but the deep cleaning will help.

Two days before

Prepare and/or bake your desserts. Depending on what you’re baking, for example, cheesecake can be baked two days before as it needs 12 hours to set in the refrigerator. A pecan pie tastes better the day after as well.

You can also prepare the cranberry sauce ahead and keep it in the fridge. Also, brine the turkey overnight (for 12 hours) – it will come out so tender!

One day before

If you don’t have more than one oven, you may want to prepare some side dishes the day before. You can prepare the mashed potatoes the day before and heat up if you’re worried about time.

Take out all the dishes, linens and bring up any extra chairs you may need. Check your cutlery, wine glasses and serving dishes and utensils. Make sure you have ice in the freezer and enough wine for your guests. Pour yourself a glass.

The big day

Remove the turkey from the brine and tie the turkey properly before popping the turkey in the oven. Cook for about five hours or more, depending on the size before you plan to eat. Start preparing the rest of the meal. Set the table and enjoy the smells emanating from your kitchen!

I hope this Countdown to Christmas Day Entertaining will help you have a less stressful and easy Christmas Day dinner.

Merry Christmas!


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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