Christmas Dinner Ideas + Menu

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Who’s up for some Christmas Dinner Ideas and a little Menu planning? We’ve got a little over a week so let’s get into it! Below is a complete menu that includes appetizers, salad, sides, a main course (plus some vegetarian options) and obviously dessert! There’s also a timeline so your day is low stress…. AND a grocery shopping printable list.


The most easy and impressive appetizers!

Baked Brie
Marinated Olives and Feta

Soup and Salad

This delicious soup and festive salad are sure to jazz up your Christmas dinner.

Winter Greens Salad
Butternut Squash Carrot Soup

Veggie Side Dishes

Bring on all the best veggie side dishes!

Spicy Garlic Green Beans
Potato Gratin
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Main Courses

This Peppercorn Crusted Tenderloin is my go to!! And what the shopping list below features. But if you’re not wanting to rock a whole tenderloin, below are 2 more Christmas dinner ideas that are my favorite impressive mains!

Peppercorn Crusted Tenderloin
Perfect Italian Meatballs
Three Meat Lasagna
Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Ideas Caramelized Onion Risotto from (@whatsgabycookin)

Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Ideas

If you’re looking for vegetarian Christmas dinner ideas, you should absolutely make this as a main!

Caramelized Onion Risotto
Mom's Famous Apple Crisp from (@whatsgabycookin)


What is Christmas dinner without dessert? This apple crisp is easily my favorite holiday dessert!

Apple Crisp with vanilla ice cream!

Let’s Talk Prep:

  • Marinated Olives: These can be prepped 2 days ahead of time. If you do that, just add the feta right before serving.
  • Baked Brie: This can be made a few days ahead of time too. Take it all the way up to step 3, then wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until ready to bake. Then right before serving, start at step 4 and finish.
  • Butternut Squash Soup: This can be prepped entirely ahead of time. If you’re doing garlic bread on the side, best to do that day of. But the soup can be made a week prior and frozen. Then re-heat in a non-stick skillet until warmed.
  • Winter Greens Salad: this is best made day of! But the dressing can be prepped easily the day before to take a little bit off your plate.
  • Sautéed Brussels Sprouts: Best made day of!! You can trim and slice them the day prior to save prep time.
  • Green Beans: this recipe is super simple and best done day of! No need to prep anything in the upcoming days.
  • Potato Gratin: this is easy to prep ahead. If it were me, I would make it through step 4. Bake it for 30 minutes so it’s par-baked, then remove from the oven, let cool and wrap before placing in the fridge. Then, day of, remove from wrap and continue baking until fully cooked and bubbling hot.
  • Tenderloin: you can prep the Chimichurri ahead of time, but the steak has to be done day of, right before dinner time for optimum results!
  • Apple Crisp: You can make the crisp part of the topping a few days ahead. Keep chilled in the fridge. Morning of the feast, prep the apples, cover them with the crisp topping, wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until ready to bake. I usually pop this into the oven as we sit down for the salad portion of dinner so it’s bubbling hot by the time dessert rolls around.

Christmas Dinner Prep Schedule:

Day Before:

  • Prep the olives and store in the fridge
  • Make the butternut squash soup. Let cool and the refrigerate.
  • Make the salad dressing for the salad
  • Trim the Brussels Sprouts and then store in a bowl in the fridge.
  • Assemble the Potato Gratin as listed above. Par bake and then let cool to room temp before covering with foil and transferring to the fridge.
  • Make the Chimichurri for the Tenderloin. Store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Morning Of:

  • Blanch the Green Beans. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Store in the fridge.

Right before Guests arrive:

  • Add the feta to the olives, transfer to a serving container and enjoy.
  • Bake the Brie and serve with crostini or crackers
  • Place the soup in a non-stick pot and warm over medium heat.
  • Pop the Potato Grain back into the oven and finish cooking.
  • Cook off the tenderloin right as guests are walking in (your house will smell amazing). Don’t slice and serve until right before dinner. The meat needs to rest.

Right before Dinner:

  • Prep the Greens for the salad, toss into a bowl with the dressing and serve.
  • Sauté the Brussels Sprouts and transfer to a serving bowl
  • Sauté the Green Beans and transfer to a serving bowl
  • As you’re sitting down to dinner, pop the apple crisp into the oven and let it bake for an hour!


  1. Cooking for one. My freezer is going to be filled with multiple meals as I start cooking again. Thank you for sharing!!

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