Everyone knows that the holidays are as much about the food as the presents. Or is that just me?!!
Seriously, as much as I love to get carried away with the baking and entertaining this season, I’ve been working really hard to give myself the gift of ease this Hanukkah and Christmas. Holiday meal prep is my answer to simplifying things without giving up the indulgent spreads and beautiful meals that I look forward to this time of year.
With a little planning, holiday cooking and entertaining can be easy breezy (with a glass of bubbly in hand!). And this year Christmas Eve is on a Monday, which means we have the weekend to spread out our holiday meal prep. Happy holidays to us!
My regular weekly meal planning routine is in full effect for the week of Christmas, but I’m adding a few extra tips to tackle the additional cooking this time of year.
Holiday Meal Prep Tips:
1. Finalize your for Christmas Eve / Day menu, along with your family’s meal plan for the rest of the week of Christmas
With all the attention to the big day (s), don’t forget about the rest of the week. Or else, instead of sitting in your pajamas with a cuppa cocoa the day after Christmas, you’ll be heading back to the store to figure out what to feed your family the rest of the week! Get it all done at the same time. Print out my free meal planner and plot out the rest of the week. I look at my calendar to get a “lay of the land” of the daily activity and plan meals around meetings, appointments and my kids’ activities accordingly.
2. Do your grocery shopping for the week, not just Christmas day.
When you do your shopping, don’t just stock up for Christmas. Get it all done at once while you’re there. Use the extra time you saved from extra shopping trips to relax on your holiday break!
3. Plan takeout or leftovers into your meal plan the day after Christmas.
Do your future self a favor and take it easy on the meal prep the day after Christmas. You will have earned it after all the shopping, wrapping, entertaining and eating you’ve done earlier in the month!
4. Bring one show stopping dish + make the rest homemade-ish
When it comes to your actual Christmas Eve or Day menu, go all out with one show stopper and get a little help with the rest. I’m in charge of snacks this year for Christmas Eve Day so I’m going all out with this appetizer Christmas Tree and making a homemade cheese ball (shaped into presents) to put under it. We do a cold cut and salad spread for the day so I’m ordering vegan meats and cheeses from the Herbivorous Butcher and buying pre-made salads at the store.
How can you scale back some of your holiday dishes or get a little help from the store? For example, there is a Brussels Sprouts Salad I’m making for Christmas. Instead of doing the laborious task of peeling and shredding the Brussels myself, I’ll buy a bag of pre-shredded sprouts from the store.
5. Prep a breakfast casserole for the morning of Christmas
This is a great tip for New Year’s Eve too! No one wants to have to wake up and make breakfast the day after Christmas, when you’ve been up late celebrating. I pay myself forward by making one of my scrambles or breakfast casseroles the night before. All I have to do is reheat it the next morning while my husband pours me a mimosa!
How do you like those holiday meal prep tips?! To see how I put it all together in action, below is my schedule for this week to get it all done.
- Finalize my holiday menu and make my grocery list for the week.
- Grocery shop.
Sunday (the day before Christmas Eve)
- Make the cheese presents for my Appetizer Christmas Trees.
- Make the fillings for Gaby and my won ton entry. (My family has an annual Won Ton “Wars” competition each year-complete with trophies! We order in Chinese takeout for dinner.
Christmas Eve morning
- Prep a casserole or scramble for Christmas Day.
- Prep any ingredients for the dishes I’m bringing to my mom’s on Christmas Day, such as salad dressings or sauces. (My parents are divorced so we celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my dad and stepmom, and Christmas day and evening with my mom.)
- Spend the day relaxing after Christmas breakfast at my parents’ house. Then, assemble and complete my Christmas Day dishes.
I’m super lucky that I don’t have to host for Christmas Eve and Christmas but I always bring lots of dishes and food to contribute to the feast! How are your prepping for your holiday meals?
Cover Photo by Canva