Do I need a large Christmas Eve dinner menu? The short — and long — answer is no

·3 min read

Q. We have always had Christmas on Christmas Day with our grown kids, along with a big meal, etc. Well, this year, it looks like my husband and I are going to get to host our grown kids and their families after church on Christmas Eve because they want to have Christmas at their own homes on Christmas morning. We understand (or at least I do). My question is what kind of meal should I have since they want to open presents first (after they get to our house) because the little ones will be too excited to wait until after we eat. My husband thinks it should be a hot meal with turkey and dressing, or ham, etc.

That means I probably wouldn’t be able to go to church because I would need to be home cooking. I also want to be able to watch them open their presents instead of being in the kitchen trying to get everything ready. Do you think it is a must to have a full hot meal? Or, what do you think about this: A fruit tray, vegetable tray, cheese tray, cold cut tray, with an assortment of crackers and breads, and a tray of homemade cookies, and a couple of pies? I would still use my dining room table for seating with my china and silver, but I would have the food in the kitchen on the center island. I know what I want to do but if my husband hears it from you, maybe he will be more agreeable to what I want to do.

Thumbs up on your meal idea

A. There definitely is not a written rule dictating you have a large meal on Christmas Eve. I think your meal menu is totally appropriate, not only for the reasons you mentioned, but because:

  • Eating a heavy meal later in the evening is not conducive to a good night’s sleep, regardless of age.

  • Getting smaller children interested in sitting down for a big meal after opening their presents, is wishful thinking. They are going to balk and their parents will feel like they have to force them to sit down to eat a big meal in order to not hurt your feelings;

  • Small children are more likely to sit down long enough to eat some of their favorite fresh fruits and vegetables, etc,. rather than being forced to sit through a big heavy meal. They can then go play with their presents before it is time to go home.

  • It is much easier for you to have everything ready before church with all you have to do is get the trays out of the refrigerator; remove the coverings and hit the button on the coffee maker.

  • No one will have to wait until you get a big meal ready before eating and you can eat at a much earlier time.

  • You can consider allowing the parents to take their pie and coffee into the tree area which would probably be more enjoyable for them.

  • It will be a much easier and faster “clean up” for you after everyone has gone home.

  • You get to go to church and are less likely to be worn out on Christmas Day.

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