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Christmas Dinner Ideas for a Crowd

by Aya Pauli

cranberry sauce makes a foolproof side dish

Sarsmis/iStock/Getty Images

The best Christmas dinner ideas for a crowd include dishes that are easy to prepare and serve in large quantities. The selections must hold up well from the first to the last person served. For example, a large side of cranberry sauce is easy to create in a single bowl and tastes delicious regardless if it’s been sitting on the table for five or 55 minutes. However, serving individual souffles will require hours of cooking, and they may fall before you are able serve them all.

Appetizers

Christmas dinner appetizers for a crowd need to be quick to prepare, or you’ll spend a whole day creating just the snacks. Easy appetizers include port wine cheese with fancy crackers, artichoke hearts and walnut stuffed celery, toasted pumpkin and sunflower seed mix and veggie sticks with ranch dip.

Main Course

Most Christmas dinners use some sort of meat for the main course, especially if the feast is for a crowd. Consider stuffed turkey, glazed ham or roasted chicken, and you can add a custom touch to a variety of popular dishes. Rosemary turkey with apple, walnut and onion stuffing provides a traditional entree. Spiral-cut, honey-glazed ham with spiced sweet potato gravy provides a rich entree. Cranberry-stuffed chicken breasts take a little time, but as long as you use small breasts, you can create enough to serve a crowd.

Side Dishes

The best side dishes for a large Christmas dinner are ones you can prepare the day or morning before the event. You may need to cook some dishes before serving, and some you can serve straight from the fridge. General side dishes that taste great with any entree include cranberry sauce, garden salad, mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cheesy scalloped potatoes, buttermilk biscuits and green bean almandine.

Think about serving unusual side dishes with gourmet flair if your Christmas dinner is a fancy affair for foodie adults. Using hearty entrees and gourmet side dishes will keep the main menu budget friendly while still adding a fancy twist. Dishes can include chilled apple and beet salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, twice-baked sweet potatoes, rosemary butter rolls and chardonnay-glazed portobello mushrooms with green peas.

Desserts

There is an endless supply of simple and delicious desserts possible for a large Christmas dinner. Small desserts can include peppermint bark, frosted reindeer sugar cookies, rum balls, chocolate-covered cherries and chocolate-covered candy canes. Indulgent desserts can include cherry-chocolate cake bars, fruitcake with rum sauce, cranberry-apple cobbler, pumpkin cheesecake bars and mocha creme-filled peppermint cake rolls

Beverages

A combination of traditional and unusual beverages provides an indulgent touch to a large Christmas dinner. The large drink selection is also budget friendly and simple to provide. Traditional drinks can include lemon water, soda pop, coffee, tea, wine, eggnog, apple cider and hot chocolate. Unusual beverages can include chilled cranberry juice and lemon/lime soda punch and warm orange juice and apple cider punch.

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Photo Credits

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About the Author

A writer since 2000, Aya Pauli has covered a variety of topics including food, fashion, beauty, health, parenting, education, decor and crafts. Her award-winning recipes have been published in food magazines such as "Taste of Home," and she is also the author of a salad cookbook. Pauli's craft projects appear in major manufacturer websites, including Dow Styrofoam. She also holds a CDA in early childhood education and works as a preschool teacher in Wyoming.