Christmas Dinner Survival Tips

Christmas is a much-anticipated holiday, but it can also be a stress-induced day for a variety of reasons. Today I’m sharing 15 Christmas dinner survival tips to help ease some of the anxiety and frustration surrounding Christmas dinner. Hopefully you can use some of these tips to make your holiday meal and celebration more enjoyable!  And I hope you enjoy the pretty table settings I’m featuring at the same time. Some are mine, and some are graciously shared by my blogging friends.

Deer Table Setting for Christmas Dinner

Deer Table Setting


Make-Ahead Christmas Dinner Survival Tips

1. Make gravy ahead of time. You can make your base sauce and refrigerate it. Then on Christmas Day, add your turkey drippings to the gravy and heat before serving. This avoids that last-minute rush to get the gravy done quickly. You can use this gravy recipe to get you started.

2. Prepare potatoes the day before. Peel and chop your potatoes day before Christmas. Store in water to keep them from becoming brown. By doing this in advance, you cut out a lot of time spent peeling and chopping on Christmas Day.

Christmas Tablescape by So Much Better with Age

Christmas Tablescape by So Much Better with Age


3. Make dessert ahead of time. You’ll find a wide variety of desserts that you can make up to a month in advance and then store in the freezer. When I make pumpkin pie, I usually make the pie filling the day before and then put the pie in the oven while we’re eating dinner. That way it’s nice and warm and tastes great with whipped topping.

4. Brine your turkey 24 hours in advance. Brining a turkey creates a moist, flavorful turkey that your guests won’t forget. It’s easy to do and you can follow my turkey brine recipe that I’ll be making this year.

How to Brine Turkey for Moist and Flavorful Meat

How to Brine a Turkey


Honor Your Guests

Sometimes it’s hard not to let relatives push your buttons during the holiday season, but you can remove the fuel from the fire by following a few Christmas dinner survival tips.

5. Show love and respect for your spouse. This tip is most important! It’s easy to take your frustration out on your spouse, but try to stop yourself before doing so. My mother always told me that feelings follow actions … in other words, don’t wait to feel amicable before showing a little love to your spouse. When you’re in the kitchen together, give a kiss on the cheek or provide a heart-felt compliment. When you act in a loving manner, your feelings will follow and both of you will enjoy the day more.

Holiday Entertaining Survival Tips

6. Honor your guests’ holiday traditions. While you might not share the same beliefs, you can probably find some common ground and a way to honor traditions that are near and dear to your loved ones’ hearts.

7. Mind your manners.  This Christmas Day survival tip is simple and easy. Remember to say please and thank you. A little can go a long way!

Christmas Table Setting by Ella Claire

Christmas Table Setting by Ella Claire


8. Never discuss politics or religion at the dinner table. It’s never a good idea to talk about either of these subjects during the holidays, unless you all completely agree on every point. If someone brings up the subject, simply tell them you no longer discuss those topics and then respectfully change the subject.

Christmas Dinner Survival Tips

Christmas Brunch Table Setting


9. Set the table the day before. This is one of many Christmas dinner survival tips that I learned from my mother. She always set the table a day in advance so she wouldn’t have to fuss with it while cooking dinner and getting ready for guests. Not to mention it always takes longer to set the table than you think it will and you don’t want to be left scrambling!

Christmas Dinner Survival Tips. Set Your Table the Day Before!

Gilded Tablescape


10. Make a little time for yourself. It’s okay to excuse yourself from holiday festivities for a few minutes of relaxation and solitude. A few minutes to de-stress can work wonders to improve your patience and make festivities more enjoyable.

11. Remember, Christmas is never perfect. We sometimes create great expectations for holiday gatherings and it can often be a let-down. Keep in mind that no one has the perfect Christmas. I think most families are more like the Kranks or the Griswolds than they are the Clevers or the Brady Bunch.

Coastal Christmas at Finding Silver Pennies

Winter Coastal Table by Finding Silver Pennies


I truly hope your Christmas celebration is joyous and that you don’t experience a lot of stress. I do plan to share a charming home tour on Sunday, which is Christmas Day. Implement tip number 10 by taking a short break from your guests to come back and enjoy Sunday’s tour!

And finally, here’s a short video with step-by-step instructions for carving your turkey on Christmas Day!



Christmas Dinner Survival Tips

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  1. Yep, I’ll be making the carrot cake tomorrow, setting the table tomorrow night, marinating the pork loin as well,
    and boiling the eggs for the dressing.

    I may mix up the dressing mix tomorrow night, and with your suggestion, make the gravy as well.
    Merry Christmas!