Holiday dinner 101 for novices

So you’ve bought all the presents, the Xbox Ones and iPads for your closest friends and family, and maybe a Rolex Cosmograph for someone really special. You’ve sent out Christmas cards to everyone else, and it would seem like your holiday obligations are done.

That said, Christmas isn’t about “obligations” at all, but rather about spending time with the people you care about. One of the best ways to do that is to hold an intimate Christmas dinner party for you and your loved ones.


Throwing a dinner party isn’t as daunting as some people make it out to be. Even if you’re a beginner, as long as you have things all planned out, and as long as you keep preparations within realistic expectations, hosting a great yuletide meal shouldn’t prove too hard a task.

The first – and probably most important – thing to do is to know who you want to invite and what their food preferences are; this information will be the basis of your dinner. Take note of which things your guests love to eat, and more importantly, which things they can’t eat due to health or dieting reasons. As far as the number of guests goes, a good rule of thumb is to keep it at five people or less, otherwise the intimate atmosphere might get lost.

Next comes the menu planning. Using the information gathered from the step above, plan out the courses of the evening, from appetizers to the main dish to desert. For the novice host, try and keep the meal simple. Also, make sure that the recipes are ones that can be made easily, and if possible, prepared ahead of time so you won’t have to worry much when the set date arrives.

Lastly, atmosphere counts for a lot, so deck the halls (so to speak) with Christmas decors and dinner accoutrements appropriate for the occasion. You should be able to find some great stuff from many top retailers. M&S’s Decoration Ideas video even gives you a few tips on how to set up your Christmas tree that also lets you add your personal touch. As for the dinner table, since this is a once-a-year event, you can go ahead and get classy; that means bringing out your 1985 Dom Perignon with matching silverware wine set.

Christmas is a time of giving, and what better gift to give your loved ones than something which you’ve prepared fully especially for them? Good food, great company, and holiday cheers all around are the ingredients for that special Christmas Eve.