Holiday Party Planning – Time-Saving Christmas Meal Ideas

Published Date: December 4th, 2009
Category: Holiday Fun

By Hanna Johanson Platinum Quality Author

Man, I can’t believe Thanksgiving is over already, and Christmas is just around the corner. It seems like this happens to me every year. I’ll have thoughts of a terrific Christmas meal at some point in August, with all of the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, etc. But for some reason I forget about it again until a few days before the holiday, which is weird because I’m on top of every other holiday and event throughout the year.

Party planning when your life is busy with work and kids can be extremely difficult. Just keep in mind that almost any holiday party is entirely doable at the last minute if you break it down into small, manageable components. You also have to be willing to go with simple ideas, because anything too elaborate probably can’t be accomplished if your time is short.

Here are some quick and easy Christmas meal ideas that you can put together at the last minute that will still give you and your guests a traditional holiday feel.

The first thing I think about when planning a Christmas meal is turkey. When people think of cooking a turkey for this holiday, they think of cooking a whole turkey. That’s fine when you have days to let it thaw out in your refrigerator, but what if you don’t have that kind of time?

A turkey breast is the perfect solution. Depending on how many you have coming to your Christmas feast, you may need to invest in more than one breast. The great thing about a turkey breast as opposed to the whole turkey is the cooking and prep time; both are greatly reduced. Another great thing about it is a turkey breast doesn’t take up as much room in your refrigerator or freezer.

The next item on the menu is mashed potatoes. It is a tradition in my house to clean, peel, and boil the potatoes before mashing them. When I don’t have time to go through all of that, I used ready-mashed potatoes. They eliminate all of your prep time, as well as free up stove burners for other things you might need to cook because these potatoes are microwavable.

Now, before you turn up your nose at them, you really need to try them. I used to have the same thoughts about them until one year when I burned the mashed potatoes when cooking dinner one night. I called my husband and asked him to pick up some potatoes I could microwave in a couple of minutes. What he brought home changed my mind about ready-mashed potatoes forever; they are just as good as the real thing, so your guests will never know the difference.

I generally like to get fresh vegetables and prepare them to go with our meal. I get fresh beans that I have to clean and snap of the ends. I buy corn on the cob, shuck it, boil it, and then cut the corn off. I could go on, but you already think I’m crazy for putting that much into my vegetables.

For any of you out there who do the same thing, there are pre-bagged vegetable available that taste just as good as fresh. All you do is throw them in the microwave and they steam to a nice crunchy finish. Your family will not be able to tell the difference.

As for the pies, you can always buy them at a local store. I know it’s not the same as a fresh-baked pie, but by the time everyone gets done eating all of your other food, they aren’t as concerned with the pie being homemade as much as they are figuring out how they are going to fit it in their stomach.

Hopefully these holiday party planning tips will help you to enjoy your Christmas more because it should leave you more time to spend with your family, which is what it’s all about. Happy Holidays!

Hanna Johanson is a party planning enthusiast and author. She lives in Chicago and spends her time teaching others how to plan the perfect party. To learn more about holiday party planning, and to sign up for her free Party Planning Secrets mini-course, visit

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