Christmas Dinner Plans

Christmas dinner plans

Last weekend, in our delicate hungover states, we watched Home Alone and that was it – the Christmas cog turned and the part of my brain which deals with planning went into overdrive. I’m almost sure my head made a noise with all the activity whizzing around it. I can’t say for the certain the noise came in the form of festive bells but if it happens again I’ll let you or a medically trained professional know.

I’ve dug out all of my Christmas magazines from years ago (honestly, if you buy a heap of Christmas magazines one year then you never need to buy them again BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL EXACTLY THE SAME EVERY YEAR – THERE IS NO POINT, see A THRIFTY MRS, INNIT), I’m scouring through the web, newspapers and cookbooks, my copy of Nigella Lawson’s Christmas permanently has its pages spread. Ooh eer. I’m inspired to the point of over inspired and yet I still crave more.

Even though the proper time for buying fresh ingredients is far off in the distance I’m still over excited. I love food (have you seen the size of me?) but Christmas food carries so much more excitement and meaning. This year will be the first year we have family coming to stay with us for an extended period over Christmas and I want to get it just right. Not sickingly perfect but tasty treats and hearty meals to keep everyone happy. Having the fridge groaning with food seems distasteful but having just enough for a good and easy celebration whilst keeping to a budget is what I’m aiming for. And after Christmas Eve, with the exception of throwing a bird in the direction of the oven, I don’t want to lift a finger.

planning Christmas meals
I’ve been cutting out pictures, recipes and ideas and sticking them in my Christmas scrapbook/survival* which I was sent by GettingPersonal, so hopefully year after year I can turn to my self made book for new ideas and traditions. It seems this year I’m favouring the idea of goose but I’m not so sure if it is great for leftovers and what is Christmas food without leftovers stuffed in a sandwich on Boxing Day huh? It’s nothing, that’s jolly well what it is.

I find if I know how many people are staying and how long they are staying for well in advance of an event I can have it planned nicely. I don’t go in for army like precision planning but if I know what we’re eating for each meal and I’ve planned it far enough in advance it means I can start making and freezing early on. I can have stuff chopped and ready to go and pretty much put my feet up and enjoy the company of friends and family. Planning like this keeps me in control of my budget too. Tick lists, spreadsheets, scrapbooks – oh they are all my friends come Christmas.

What are your favourite Christmas dinner recipes? I’m catering for veggies too so if you can point me in that direction I’ll love you forever – not a deep intense love but at the very least a mild tolerance.
Have you started thinking about Christmas food yet?


P.S. You can find more of my Christmas posts here.

P.P.S. Despite all of the Christmas magazines being exactly the same year in year out, Mr Thrifty was not privy this information and bought me a 2012 Christmas magazine to cheer me up when I was feeling particularly weepy. Gotta love him.



  1. omg. now I’m just too excited. just too!


  2. This is a lovely post and I have a feeling that there will be many more Christmas posts to come. I’m vegetarian and my suggestion would be to avoid ‘fake’ ‘vegetarian’ meats. Basically the ‘sausages’ that taste like rubber. Most vegetarians will be happy with a few different choices of salad (with one being a pasta salad or something substantial). Also, make sure you cook their roast veges separate xx

  3. Make your own cranberry sauce, so easy and you can slosh in as much port as u like. Perfect for Christmas Day and leftovers

  4. My husband cook Christmas dinner, but I take care of the baked goods. Last year that meant 12 different types of cookies! I’ll probably bake them this year over two different weekends because I’m working now.

  5. Glad to see you getting back to your blog again xx Christmas day in our house this year is just me, the hubby and our 2 boys who are 3 and 5. The boys will be our main focus so we are keeping it simple with roast beef, ham, roasted vegetables and a fabulous pudding. All I really have to think about is what pudding to make!

  6. Ok, so it turns out I like to hoard note books, but I think I am actually in love with your Christmas book, I will be following the link in a moment, but first I thought you might like this recipe (or some of the others on this site), I have tried this one and we loved it.

    I made my Christmas cake 3 weeks ago (and I am topping it up with cointreau every so often, and I have started my Christmas shelf in the kitchen (2 jars of cranberry and 2 jars of seafood sauce, so far lol).
    Frickin love Christmas haha.

  7. I use my (many) recipe books old and new- combining modern easy/sophisticated with olde worlde and farmer’s wife style recipes from the 1940s. I use bookmarks and pile the books up (usually ending up as the door prop for the living room haha) dipping in and out over November.

  8. My favourite thing about christmas is the stuffing that we have with christmas dinner… not just your regular paxo sage and onion, but homemade too, and sausagemeat, and walnut and something, cranberry and something else…it really is stuffing heaven! I help my gran prepare a lot of the stuff, christmas puddings will be done in the next week or so using a old Mrs Beetons recipe book, with great grandmas additions penciled down the margins :)

  9. Mrs Thrifty I am now most definitely craving a roast dinner with those gorgeous roast potatoes all crispy from the goose fat mmmmmm! I do exactly the same as you, I am constantly cutting out different recipes and putting them into my little scrap book, it’s the best way to do. And you will be pleased to know that I am following your lead with creating my christmas budgets (its on my to do list for next week). I’m also going to be doing some Christmas treats recipes soon, so keep an eye on my blog, i’m sure your love them :)

    Love Becky xx

  10. Depending on your veggie guests, you have several options. As a full-on vegetarian (no meat or fish), I tend to have a stuffed roasted pepper along with the roast potatoes and other veg while my piscatarian parents (no meat, but do eat fish) have salmon. If you make extra rice stuffing for the peppers, you can then serve that the next day possibly as a side or in another vegetable :)

    Love your blog and can’t waaaaaait for Christmas!

  11. I love that survival guide! Such a great idea.
    I’m VERY lucky, as my other half loves to cook, and creates a feast every year. Including game pie, roast with all the trimmings, and homemade sausage rolls for the morning. Yum (my thighs are screaming in horror!)
    When I was a veggie, tons of veg dishes always went down well, including red cabbage and little post of nut roast are quite a good idea, and great for keeping for the next day if not eaten.

  12. Ooh this is exciting! Great that you’ve got a scrapbook so you can refer to specific pages year after year.

    And God love Mr Thrifty for getting you a 2012 Christmas magazine – good man!

  13. It’s all in the preparation! Thing is not to let Christmas stress you out, especially when it comes to the cooking. Think of it as just a Sunday roast with a few extras and you will be fine. I think you will be better off with a turkey rather than a goose. We had turkey last year, and with the left overs we made a curry and a chilli. I think Delia has some veggie options in her Christmas book…off to check. :-)

  14. Country Kitchen magazine (sadly no longer with us) had a really yum recipe that I make for myself when having a meat free day. Big old mushrooms, filled with blue cheese and dried cranberries. the cranberries could have a tooth out, but it’s festive and really rather yum.
    I tend to cook chicken for christmas dinner, just because I find it easier, we all like the taste better, it’s cheaper, and we don’t end up with a mountain of leftover meat that we’ll never get through. As long as I have enough for a leftover sarnie, I’m happy.

    You are totally and utterly right about the Chrismtas mags each year. I didn’t buy a single one last year for the exact reason, and, call me a snoot if you will, some of the ‘same old’ ideas looked really dated and boring. There. I said it.

    So want to watch Home Alone now. Think I might do that this very eve.


  15. I used to be veggie and had a few disastrous Xmas dinners!
    Although I hit on a winner with Stilton and spinach filo parcels, omg heavenly! They are now a Xmas tradition in this house!!

    Kim xx

  16. I’m veggie and I really like the Quorn pies and ‘roast’ thingy. I think a nut roast is the traditional ‘veggie’ option but to be honest I think it’s a bit boring and not everyone loves nuts!

  17. Oooh You’ve just got me even more excited for Christmas! We usually have Turkey (boring) but I’ve never tried goose before! Veggiewise nut roast is nice, we just got a premade one from tesco :)
    Rachelle xx

  18. I have veggy friends and we have them over every Christmas Eve for a special dinner. Last year I made vegetarian beef wellingtons and they went down a STORM. You can make them in adavance, cook, freeze and then pop in the oven from frozen for 1/2 hour on the day. They are SCRUMMY!

    Ooooohh.. planning… christmas….oooooh….

  19. I’m a veggie & the “main” instead of turkey tends to be a nut roast (M&S do a nice one as do Abel & Cole) but a pie will do just as well. I had a veggie wellington last year from Waitrose which was also fab! x

  20. You are making me feel SO christmassy! I was a veggie for years and the best christmas dinners I always ha were nut roasts. Although shop bought ones are fine, you can’t beat homemade and they are easy to make. I would steer clear of meat copies, I don’t think they are special enough for Christmas! Plus, nuts are so christmassy and warming and go so well with all the other trimmings.

    I keep meaning to post about the Christmas scrapbook you’ve inspired me to start this year…

    • Woo hoo Chrismassy is on it’s way yeee ha. Last year I made a whole load of shortbread, fudge, peppermint creams, biscotti and millionaire shortbread, packaged them up in pretty cellophane bags (Lakeland – you get loads for a couple of nicker), tied them with those bits of ribbon that are on the neckline of jumpers to stop them falling off the hangers and ta da – lovely, lovely presents for family and friends. Last year I knitted warm hats for brother and his lot, much appreciated by nephews as they both now live ‘oop noorth’. Thinking maybe fingerless mitts for everyone this year as have lots of wool left in stash. Recipes for edibles curtesy of BBC Good Food website and Good to Know web pages.

  21. I’m a vegetarian and always have been, and still manage to have a yummy christmas dinner. Usually it’s nut roast (homemade or M&S) or stuffed mushrooms. There are lots of nice recipes on the BBC website. Thanks for getting me into the christmas spirit :) x

  22. Whoop Whoop Chrissymas is on it’s way yee ha!! Last year I made a whole load of fudge, biscotti, peppermint creams and millionaire shortbread packaged up in some lovely cellophone bags (found them in Lakeland – you get loads for a couple of nicker)tied with pretty ribbons which are actually those bits attached to jumpers to stop them coming off the hanger, and ta da lovely lovely homemade presents for family and friends. Year before I knitted hats from my stash of wool for brother and his lot, so thinking maybe fingerless mitts for them all this year. One nephew in Liverpool and one in Sheffield so as it gets pretty cold ‘up nooorth’ they might appreciate something knitted and therefore relatively cheap as I already have wool. By the way, found great recipes for edible presents on BBC Good Food website and Good to Know webpage.

  23. wow you’re prepping already! i usually leave everything until last minute! i don’t really play a big part when it comes to the xmas meal..that is usually left to the elder chinese ladies. although we don’t really have a bird with all the trimmings, we usually have lobster or hotpot (which doesn’t really require any prep at all except buying all the things going into the hotpot)….but when i’m older and the preparations fall onto me i’m definitely going to follow in your footsteps and be organised!

  24. I’m veggie and for the past few years I’ve had mushroom wellington, my mum does the cooking and makes it in advance and freezes it so that on Christmas day all she has to do is put it in the oven. I did one year have cheese pies with filo pastry but they’re not as great as the mushroom wellington.

    I love reading your posts about Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year and i’m well prepared with most of my present buying almost complete. I’ll hopefully be able to just enjoy December for wrapping presents and spending time with family and friends, rather than rushing round trying to find presents for people amongst all the other shoopers.


  25. Thrifty, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and this post really made my day!
    I LOVE. L.O.V.E that you’re christmas prepping….it makes me feel so normal!

    Your scrap book – Gods love it! I want one :)

    Recipe ideas – one of my favourites is home made mince pies. ready rolled shortcrust or puff pastry, home made mincemeat and boom – personalise away:)

    On an aside, have I said how much I love your blog – you regularly inspire me

  26. My goodness i’m so excited for christmas now… xx

  27. started Christmas shopping (presents) here as well,


  28. Lorraine the tv chef who used to be a model (you know??) has a recipe for a vegetarian Christmas nut pie with cranberries on that is AMAZING. most of my family love meat but they all liked it, even my pre-teen cousin. It’s so good. I’m definitely doing it again this year.

  29. I’m a vegetarian and my mum does an amazing mushroom wellington. Either that or a good nut roast is my fave Christmas meal :) xx

  30. Ahh you’ve made me all excited for christmas after reading this post, It’s my first one this year for me and my partner in our place so I’m really excited to do the cooking ! My stepmum mde the most amazing plum stuffing last year so that recipes going straight into my book ! xx

  31. I’m so excited for Christmas, i’ve been planning it since boxing day! I love your blog Thrifty.

    I would love it if you could check out my blog.
    It is

    Thank you

  32. Hopefully we shall be celebrating our first christmas in our new home this year and I am hoping that my father and stepmother will be coming for a feast. It will be the first Christmas in about 5 years since I have spent it with my father and I can’t WAIT to feed him. I spent my sick days last week drooling over my christmas food mags…
    I shall be making Nigella’s Venetian Carrot Cake again this year, paired with brandy butter to cater for my gluten-free Mother-in-Law. It is lush!

  33. My brother is vegetarian and the first year I made him a brie and leek filo parcel to have with the side dishes everyone was having with the turkey. This was ok but since he couldn’t have the gravy it was a bit dry. Then the next year I made Antonio Carlucci’s stuffing to go with the goose and he loved that so much that I gave up on the filo parcel and make extra stuffing for him. Oh, and I make sure the side dishes work without gravy (a gratin, or a dressing). Enjoy the planning.

  34. I cant wait for Christmas! :) xxx

  35. I like to do my carrots with a honey mustard glaze. I use this Tesco recipe:

    Claire x

  36. Just discovered your blog and I love it. I’m so pleased someone else is as excited as I am about Christmas.

    Lau –

  37. I cooked Christmas dinner for the first time last year I cooked it in my own kitchen for 8 people 3 of which were under 10. This year I will be cooking for 16 at my mums house because she’s working a night shift and won’t be home until 2pm Christmas day. I’m soooo worried, I’ve cooked hundreds of roasts but never for so many people eeeek! X

  38. My husband was vegetarian for a few years (he has fully recovered now!) and he was perfectly happy just to skip the turkey and the pigs in blankets and eat the rest, as long as there was a generous dollop of vegetarian stuffing.

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