Prepping For Christmas Dinner In Your Apartment
Stay organized this Christmas with some great planning and decor ideas for Christmas dinner in your apartment. Decide ahead of time what dishes you will make, how you will involve your guests, and find some great ideas for table decor, all in today’s post.
Decide What To Cook
Christmas dinner can look a thousand different ways to a thousand different people, so the first thing on your to-do list is deciding what you want it to look like in your Hampton Court home this year. Do you want to keep things casual with a buffet and paper plates and plastic utensils? Make it formal with a plated dinner using your finest china and crystal? Perhaps take a page from the Swedes and serve open faced sandwiches in a smorgasbord style, while your guests mix and mingle? Keep things simple and order in from your favorite restaurant? Do you want a “traditional” Christmas turkey/ham/roast (traditions vary by family), or maybe do something completely different and focus on a specific cuisine that goes against the “traditional” Christmas dinner (tacos and margaritas sound good to anyone else?)
Once you have your style and theme down, make your menu. Crack open those cookbooks, bring out those dog-eared family recipe cards, peruse your favorite cooking blogs, or maybe even troll Instagram for a little inspiration! Next, make your grocery list and get to shopping! Don’t forget about grocery delivery services such as FreshDirect or Instacart to make things easier.
Insider Tip: Christmas dinner is one of those yearly meals that can very easily morph into everyone’s favorite holiday memory. Perhaps start a “hosting” journal this year, where you jot down the theme of your Christmas dinner, who attended, special decorations you used, games you played, and any memorable anecdotes that happened. You can keep this going for Christmases to come, and before you know it have a wonderful little memory book which will be so fun to reflect on!
Involve Your Guests
While half the fun of hosting folks for a special Christmas dinner is obviously the planning and cooking piece, the truly enjoyable part is having a dedicated evening to spend with those you love before the year comes to a close. Find a way to involve your guests that will really play to their skills. Does Cousin Mia talk constantly about her vegan lifestyle? Ask her to prepare a vegan dessert to share with everyone! Maybe your neighbor is known for always being the life of the party? Ask if she can come prepared with some of her favorite party games to teach everyone after the meal is complete. Did your son recently take up playing the guitar? Ask him to strum along to classic Christmas songs, leading everyone in a round of caroling during coffee and dessert! And of course, don’t discount if someone’s special skill happens to be on the clean-up committee…think how grateful you will be once everyone leaves that the dishwasher is already loaded!
Insider Tip: Try to have as much of the cooking complete as you can by the time your guests arrive, as the real treat of this dinner is spending quality time with them. Don’t deny yourself that by being in the kitchen the entire night.
Once the menu has been sorted and guests have been invited, it’s time to think about decor. By this point in the season, you most likely have your Glenwood home all decked out for the holidays. Focus your energy now on the table settings. Perhaps stop by Central Park on your way to the Upper East Side homes like The Cambridge and The Stratford, gathering sticks to bundle together with twine for the table. There’s plenty of holly to be found in the park this time of year, as well as beautiful greenery. Forage for these and add them to a vase for a natural vibe. Or, if you decide it’s too cold outside for a winter walk, stop by your local florist or bodega and pick up a bushel of beautiful winter blooms, creating easy and beautiful table decor. Add a table runner (even on round tables!) to anchor your centerpiece materials. Votive or tealight candles in holders add atmosphere to a more informal table, while pillars or tapers can dress up a more formal table. And if you have Christmas-themed dinnerware, it automatically takes the table up a notch!
Insider Tip: If you’re looking for a way to minimize clean up, consider stocking up on sturdy white paper products to eat with. They even make plastic disposable wine glasses nowadays, so besides your serving dishes this won’t leave you a thing to worry about for cleanup. How’s that for focusing your energy on loved ones this season?