Holiday Dinner Party Menu

This post may contain affiliate links.

Plan a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve gathering with these tablescape ideas and this delicious Holiday Dinner Party Menu!

Holiday Dinner Party Menu with Snowflake Table Setting

The most important part of cooking a holiday dinner is organizing the menu, being prepared, and then of course for me—I love to set a pretty table! This table setting and menu is perfect for Christmas or New Year’s Eve or Day!

A tip I learned a long time ago was to set the table early, because it not only helps me get into a festive mood, but it gets me excited for our guests. Who doesn’t love to glance over a gorgeous holiday table while you’re preparing a feast for your guests?

Snowflake table setting.

Today I’m not only sharing a lovely holiday menu and tips, but some fun table decorating ideas!

Silver chargers, gray Dollar Store dinner plates, aqua blue Target salad plates.

Q Squared appetizer plates and Mikasa Regent Bead flatware.

Holiday Dinner Party Menu with Snowflake Table Setting

Beads and snowflakes purchased at Target, plus aqua blue water bottles.

Grocery store ($1.29) water glasses and Dollar Store wine goblets.

Snowflake ornaments for coasters (purchased at Target).

White linen napkins.

My philosophy on a centerpiece is to keep it short, so guests can look across the table at one another.

Holiday Dinner Party Menu with Snowflake Table Setting

Holiday preparation is a big job when it comes to planning the menu, preparing for guests, and cooking the food. Planning ahead by making a menu and a list–chipping away at the list a little each week–helps me be prepared as the big day approaches.

Planning Dinner Party Menu:

-Start with the guest list. Do you know who and how many are planning on attending? Do you plan to delegate some of the dishes or will you be cooking the entire meal? These questions will help you plan the number of dishes you will need to serve, and how much food you will be making.

-Decide if the meal will be formal or potluck. This will help determine whether you want more casserole style dishes, or one big turkey (or ham or lamb, or Cornish Game Hens!) with only a handful of side dishes.

-Plan the menu. Start by sorting out the “nonnegotiable” family recipes, and who will cook those. Think about what’s missing, such as do you need more sides, appetizers, or drinks? Fill in the gaps by asking guests to bring a dish!

-Take stock of your freezer and pantry. Make a list of items you are out of or running low on. Purchase non-perishable essentials. The earlier you shop the better, so you can avoid sold-out merchandise, crowded grocery stores and last minute shopping trips.

Personal touch to table.

Add a personal touch by placing a beloved family photo nearby, or on a music stand. This photo is of our boys years ago at a Christmas candlelight service. Instead of a photo you could add a piece of your child’s artwork, or your family’s holiday card photo. So many options!

Holiday Dinner Party Menu with Snowflake Table Setting

Holiday Dinner Party Menu.

It’s just not Christmas or New Year’s without fresh shrimp and homemade cocktail sauce! And you might as well add in cranberries and pears! This delightful Cranberry Pear Chutney is so easy to make (an awesome gift idea, too!) for delicious crostini bites. If you need to save time, go ahead and use any flavor of chutney, grill up the onions, and add a premium blue cheese. So flavorful!

Holiday Dinner Party Menu with Snowflake Table Setting


Homemade Cocktail Sauce with Fresh Shrimp (Lori and I recommend Anderson Seafoods for the freshest seafood, delivered to your front door:)

Cranberry Pear Chutney Appetizer


Kale Salad with Butternut Squash


Dinner Rolls.

Olive Oil and Rosemary Dinner Rolls

Main Dish.

Marinated Cornish Game Hens

Holiday Dinner Party Menu with Snowflake Table Setting

Side Dishes.

Asparagus with Bacon and Shallots

Cranberry Rice Pilaf

Holiday Dinner Party Menu with Snowflake Table Setting


Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

or a lighter dessert option would be a Holiday Poached Pear

Holiday Dinner Party Menu with Snowflake Table Setting

I hope you’ll enjoy these pairings and that you’ll be a relaxed hostess this holiday season! Remember to enjoy the people who are coming to your table; it’s an honor and privilege to cook for others!

Happy Holidays!

Looking for a signature drink? Try these:

Amaretto Cranberry Kisses {RecipeGirl}

Cranberry Mojitos {RecipeGirl}

Pomogrante Mojitos {RecipeGirl}

Spiced Red Beet Sangria {Reluctant Entertainer}

Pioneer Woman’s Mulled Apple Cider {non-alcoholic Reluctant Entertainer}

Sandy Coughlin

Meet The Author: Sandy Coughlin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • marcie wrote:

    That holiday table is gorgeous, and I love these tips!

  • Sandy @ RE wrote:

    Thanks for having me here on RecipeGirl! ::0

  • Barbara @ Barbara Bakes wrote:

    So many really fun tips. I’d especially love the centerpiece idea.