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Food Planning For The Festive Season

With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s safe to say that we’re well on our way towards the Holidays now. And when the festive season gets into full swing, we all tend to have our traditions that make it what it is. Whether you’re having a family Christmas at home or you’re hoping to do something different and go for a break away somewhere, it’s safe to say that a lot of your focus is going to be around food.

Because food brings us together. And there are definitely a lot of occasions that require some great food. From the main meals themselves to snacking and a few little treats in-between, if you want to be able to enjoy the festive season with some of the best food, you have to plan ahead. So we’re going to walk through some incredible menu options that could make your holidays this year.

Christmas Day

The Main Event

First of all, the kind of food you’re going to want to focus on the most is your Christmas meal. Although you won’t be able to buy most of the ingredients until close to the day itself for freshness reasons, you can definitely plan the meal itself. You’re going to want to pick out what meat you want to make this year, as well as the kind of sides and trimmings you’re going to serve too. Planning this in advance will also help with your grocery list nearer the time.

Evening Snacks

But you may also want to think ahead to what you’re going to serve as evening snacks this year too, and you’ve got two different approached to take. First, you could base this on what you’ll serve for dinner and use leftovers to make it happen. Or, you may want to go with a buffet style spread of cold meats, cheese, crackers, and rolls.

Christmas Eve

A Formal Dinner

If you’ve got a lot of people to see this holiday season, you may also be planning a formal sit down dinner for Christmas Eve too. And, of course, you’re not going to want to do a duplicate of what you’re doing for the next day. So why not think about doing something a little different, like a nice festive ham or lasagne? Just because you’re doing something formal doesn’t mean you have to go with a traditional option.

Simple Starters

You may still want to make a meal out of it. So you’re going to want to work with some simple starter options too, so it’s not too much work for you. Seafood options are always great, and you can see for more on what choices might work, but a classic prawn cocktail is always festive and goes with everything. You could also think to do this recipe for other holiday occasions too, not just Christmas Eve.



Next, you’re going to want to think about the desserts you might like to serve on either occasion, or across the holiday season altogether. And you might like to keep these quite traditional. Whether you choose to do a pound cake or fruit pie, it can be a really nice touch to make something that will complement your more traditional meal, and then opt for something creative when you’re mixing things up a bit.


For your more creative Christmas dessert options, you might want to play around with some favorite festive flavors and your most-loved desserts. From a gingerbread flavored pound cake to a cranberry cheesecake, there’s a lot of fun you can have with the sweet stuff, so do your research and plan ahead.

Sweet Snacks

Christmas Cookies

If you’re thinking of getting together some baked good for the holiday season in general, you have to work on getting some Christmas cookies together. And if you’re stuck for what to do, go to for recipes because they have a wide range! These can be great to serve guests and just to keep around for whenever anyone wants a little snack.

Cakes & Bakes

You might be thinking about doing these for some of your dessert options, but different cakes and bakes can be a lot of fun to pull together at weekends when you have people dropping in, or if you’re going to visit friends and family too. So plan ahead. And try to be creative with your recipe combinations. You might like to pick out some favorite festive flavoring like cinnamon and peppermint stick to classic recipes too.

Savory Favorites

Chips & Dip

That’s the thing about snacking at this time of year; you often have to cover both savory and sweet. Because you’re going to get guests with different palettes and you’re going to have different occasions too.So you’re going to want to whip up some classic savory Christmas snacks like chips and dip. But be creative with your planning and, of course, opt to go for a festive twist too, like a feta topping and cranberry dip.


And we all love rolls at this time of year. So get baking. Whether you choose to do cheese topped or pine nut dusted, or even a classic buttery option, the good thing about making a ton of rolls for different occasions throughout December is that you get some good practice in. Then, you can decide which is your favorite to serve on Christmas day.

Hosting Nibbles

Unexpected Guests

As a host, you can often feel the pressure to have food available should anyone choose to drop in. So, you’re going to want to stock your pantry and freezer up should the inevitable happen. By making treats like bacon wrapped sweet potatoes and freezing them, or keeping crackers and pretzels in the pantry, you can turn into the perfect host in just a few minutes when people drop by.

Pre-Meal Canapés

If you have people coming over to stay, then you may also want to think about doing some canapés. Again, some of these could be things you prepare ahead and freeze ready for the occasion. You’ll find that this list of Christmas canapés will give you some good inspiration. Because cute little puffs and toasts are great to serve and can easily come with a festive twist too.

Gathering Menus

Family Gatherings

If you have a large family, then it’s highly likely that you’re going to have a lot of events going on over the next few weeks. And if you’re hosting one, rather than hosting Christmas dinner this year, then you’re going to need a holiday party menu that you can work with. Again, the closer this is to Christmas, you need to make sure that you’re not duplicating meals. This is why the Martha Stewart holiday party menu will always go a treat and saves on too much planning for you.

Friends Popping Over

Sometimes, you’re also going to have friends coming over for a festive season catch up too. And you might want to put on a menu that suits. It can also be a lot of fun to keep this casual. You may even want to work with a holiday dinner theme, but break it down into a buffet-style service, like turkey and cranberry eggrolls, tater tot bites, and bite-sized pieces of pie.

New Year’s

Sit Down Dinner

And then, you’ve also got New Year’s to try and cover off too. For this, you might be planning a sit-down dinner. But with the holidays pretty much out of the way, you should try to stay away from too much of a festive theme. Instead, you might like to favor something creative and eclectic, perhaps working with more of a cuisine focus instead of classic to mix things up?

Light Bites

Or if you’re planning on having a gathering instead, you should definitely look to serve up small party bites. Appetizers can be much more appropriate when people are trying to talk and mingle. From pinwheels and crackers to little smokies and deep-fried cheese, you should definitely look to serve up a mix of different filling and light favorites.

Just Because

Neighborly Niceties

Then, you’ve always got the little items you could consider to have on hand, just because. Here on At The Fence, we know that nice neighbors like to pop by. And they may do more during the holidays. So why not have some festive food waiting for them? From a sweet pumpkin soup to spiced apple pie, think about a range of different options you could make each week to store in the fridge or freezer for exactly this reason.

Family Fun

And what about the things that you might like to make together as a family, just because? There are lots of different Christmas recipes that kids could easily make with you. Because that’s the beauty of the holiday season, it brings us all together. And if you do have a lot of planning to get through, making some pieces with your kids could be a lot of fun.


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