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1. Plan Your Menu and Guest List
2. Prep During the Week
There are things that you can do in the 1-2 weeks leading up to the big event that can really help you when it’s crunch time:
- Put together a Master Shopping List, including produce, dry goods, decorations, beverages, flowers (for the centrepiece) and ice. You can’t forget ice!
- Clean out the fridge so there is more room for produce and prepared food.
- Find your linens and dig out your serving dishes. Pull out your slow cooker too.
- Do a final grocery run.
3. Use a Holiday Meal Cooking Schedule
Using the same format as My Online Holiday Planner, I created this Holiday Dinner Cooking Schedule. Working backwards, you can figure out what dishes to cook, what temperatures, things that you can make ahead, and what dishes to put them in. Pop this on your counter and if guests are helping you, they’ll know exactly what’s next.
Google Docs Version · Microsoft Word Version
And if something goes wrong, don’t panic. Serve up some appetizers, pop another bottle of wine and buy yourself some time.
4. Pick a Dessert That Can be Made Ahead
5. Set the Table the Night Before
Take the time to set the table the night before and it will be one less thing to worry about the next day. It also gives you a chance to notice things that you might not have thought of. Do the cloth napkins need ironing? Did you forget matches for the candles? You don’t want to find this out 30 minutes before your guests start arriving.
6. Use Your Slow Cookers
7. Prep as much food as you can ahead of time
8. Take the Time for Breakfast and Coffee
Starting the day off with some food (and caffeine!) will help you prepare to tackle your list. You’ll also be less likely to nibble on foods all day if you take the time to have a proper meal.
9. Set Up a Buffet
10. Have Containers on Hand for Leftovers
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I hope that you find these tips helpful for your next holiday meals. If you have any other tips, leave them below in the comments!