A guide for How to Host a Wonderful Christmas Eve Dinner! Christmas dinner, traditions and setting a charming table!
There’s something magical about Christmas Eve. I’ve always loved it even more than Christmas day! It’s a time to spend with friends and family, many who share the same holiday traditions that last year after year.
Some families make it a practice to open one gift on Christmas Eve and some stay up late and attend a candlelit, midnight service at their church.
Other families host yummy Christmas Eve dinners, starting the festivities early with a warm meal surrounded by warm people. If it’s your turn to host a Christmas Eve meal at your house, don’t fret!
We’ve teamed up with Bed Bath & Beyond to offer a few guidelines that’ll help you prepare a stress-free night, and a beautiful table setting so your only concentration will be enjoying the holiday.
A Christmas Eve Table Setting
This year we chose all of our items for our table setting at Bed Bath & Beyond!
For holidays I like to add a charger to the table to anchor each place setting. It adds texture and depth. We used Noritake wood chargers that went perfect with the dinnerware.
What is the purpose of a charger?
Originally, chargers were placed under the plates to catch spills and messes that would stain the tablecloth. Now, they are still used for that purpose, but also for decorative reasons too. They add to a formal table setting.
Why do they call if a charger plate?
This is a very old name that originated from “chargeour”.
I found the most beautiful Noritake Colorwave dinnerware. It’s a more casual and modern look for Noritake and we fell in love with the matte green finish! I also served dinner on the matching platter.
I have been a fan of Fortessa for years. I used these super sleek and classic utensils that went perfect with our holiday table setting.
My color theme for this table setting was green, teal, blue and neutral. When I saw these classic French striped napkins I knew they would be perfect!
Hands down our favorite wine glasses are Wine Enthusiast. A friend told me about them recently and they are like air, but sturdy! And if one breaks, well… they replace them for up to 10 years! See our guide to serving wine here!
Name Place Cards
Instead of traditional place cards, we made mini gingerbread houses using this kit! I wrote each of our names on the gingerbread house with a tiny Wilton circle tip and thick sugared frosting. I made extra frosting for our gingerbread houses to decorate with. It’s a simple recipe you can see below!
Quick tip – Sifting powdered sugar over the houses also makes it look like snow!
We always add flowers to our table settings. It adds instant decor and just makes a setting complete in my opinion.
What’s the Traditional Christmas Eve Meal?
The great thing about Christmas Eve dinner is that many families have their own traditions when it comes to the meal.
Christmas Eve dinner has some wiggle room to be more casual and fun. And, depending on your family’s style, you can scale up or down with the fanciness.
Traditions play a big part in what a family makes for Christmas Eve dinner. My husband’s family is from Italy and they serve seafood pasta and seafood dishes for Christmas Eve dinner. We have several friends who make tamales and a warm pot of posole soup, which is a traditional Mexican Christmas dinner.
Growing up, we would usually do a similar meal to Thanksgiving but with ham. However, I truly like the Mexican tradition of homemade tamales and soup and then add in some cornbread muffins or a cornbread chorizo stuffing. It’s so flavorful and special!
Christmas Eve meals must be hearty, filling, and easy to prepare (and clean up).
A Christmas Eve meal benefits from being straightforward, suitable for all ages and tastebuds, and relatively simple.
Some more great ideas are:
- A classic lasagne with homemade butter rolls and your favorite salad. If no one is a vegetarian, make it a meat lasagne
- Glazed ham with garlic mashed potatoes and crispy green beans. If you prefer, sub mashed potatoes with a sweet potato casserole
- A pot roast with potatoes, steamed carrots, and fresh bread
The great thing above the dishes mentioned above is that most only require one large dish to serve in.
Lasagne can be made in one pan and frozen, then thawed overnight the day before, making it the most comfortable option on our list. A glazed ham is roasted in one large container with all your favorite seasonings. And a pot roast is the perfect ‘set it and forget it’ meal that tastes way more complex than it is.
Try any of the above for an all-around well-liked meal.
And of course, don’t forget dessert. . .
It’s not dinner without dessert! We’re all about the sweetness after a savory meal. There are so many incredible options for Christmas desserts!
A classic southern dessert is coconut cake. We make it in this Lodge Legacy cast iron fluted cake pan. Top it with boiled frosting topped with coconut! It’s delicious and festive for Christmas. We served it on a footed cake stand and it looked like a centerpiece for the table!
Another classic Christmas Eve tradition is making Christmas cookies. These are perfectly soft, buttery sugar cookies decorated with colorful icing. Make sure you’ve got a variety of cookie cutters shaped in fun designs — top cookies with sprinkles.
Also, our spicy gingerbread cookies are very good too!
There’s something about Christmastime that calls for ginger, clove, and cinnamon. If you have any extras leftover (we doubt it), bring them to your Christmas gathering.
Holiday drinks are also very important for Christmas eve dinner! From eggnog to festive holiday punches. Here are some delicious recipes to try!
Your family and friends are bound to enjoy your home-cooked, love-filled meal and a gorgeous table setting to go with it! Don’t forget the Christmas music either!
Start early to reduce some of the stress, choose entrees that require minimal dish-ware, and set the tone with your table settings. You can make it snazzier with Christmas-themed placemats and ornament bowls, or keep it casual with napkins folded into Christmas trees and some candles.
And don’t get so busy you forget to sit down and enjoy your homemade Christmas Eve dinner yourself!
Thick Frosting for Gingerbread Houses
- 3 egg whites
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until whipped.
- Slowly add in powdered sugar until the mixture is thick.
- Add to piping bags and use it to assemble and decorate the gingerbread houses.
For more fantastic Christmas-related articles, check out this section of the blog. We give decoration tips, punch recipes, wreath ideas, and more!