Are your holiday plans feeling less like something fun to anticipate and more like an overwhelming undertaking? Have the stress triggers of hosting a long, festive meal crept up and tapped you on the shoulder? Well, don’t freak out just yet! With some simple planning and by using these proven tips, you can have a delicious and stress-free holiday meal that your special humans will rave about. So take a deep breath. I gotcha! 

  • Make a plan: Plan out your menu and create a shopping list. This will help you stay organized and avoid last-minute trips back to the store. And get your shopping done as soon as possible! Have you been to Market Street two days before the holidays? Don’t do it, sis. Just don’t. 
  • Delegate: Ask family or guests to help set the table, bring side dishes, or wash dishes after the meal. There’s no reason to juggle everything by yourself. 
  • Set the mood: If your atmosphere is festive, you and your guests will be too. Light Christmas candles, fashion a fabulous centerpiece, and create that Christmas playlist, boo! Enjoy being in the moment while you eat together. Slow down and appreciate the flavors and textures of the food rather than rushing through the meal. 

For those of you who truly love to cook and feel like being adventurous, why not have an unconventional holiday meal? This year, instead of having the same dish that your family has been eating every December 25th since forever ever, why not mix things up and create something truly unique that’ll wow everyone! Here are some tips on how to have an extraordinary—and delicious—feast this Christmas. 

  • A lavish vegetarian or vegan array, featuring dishes like roasted veggies, walnut and rice stuffed mushrooms, or a lentil loaf. 
  • A seafood-focused meal with dishes like salmon en croute, crab-stuffed ravioli with a sage butter sauce, and shrimp cocktail. 
  • An international-themed dinner with dishes inspired by flavors from around the world, such as Moroccan-spiced lamb, Chinese-style roast duck, or a Mexican-themed spread of enchiladas, tamales, and corn pudding with poblano cream sauce. 
  • A “breakfast for dinner” theme with dishes like eggs Benedict, waffles with fruit and whipped cream, and bacon-wrapped sausage. 
  • You can also try other dishes that are similar to the traditional Christmas dinner but with a twist. Tired of roasted turkey? Try roasting a spatchcock chicken or clove-studded ham. 

No matter what you decide to make, the important part is to have fun and enjoy the adventure of creating a unique and delicious holiday feast for you and your family. Happy cooking!


  • Ruthie Martinez

    Ruthie owns Black Fig Food catering and is proprietor of the online cooking platform Elevated Plant Plate. Learn more at and

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