Christmas for Beginners

Getting ready for a beautiful holiday season? We’ll get you set up with our 30 favorite Christmas recipes, plus stories to help you feel inspired and organized. May your Christmas be merry and bright!

If you sit down with a group of friends and ask them what they’re doing for Christmas, I guarantee that you’ll hear completely different answers from each of them.

My large, loud Sicilian family meets up at least three different times between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We also go to the home of our family friends (who are Russian) and drink vodka. We drive for hours. We eat ravioli.

On the flip side, my friend spends Christmas quietly with her small family. They exchange gifts and play the piano and sing. They eat ham. They stay in one place. It is peaceful.

These experiences are all wonderful. They remind us that there’s no “right” way to celebrate a holiday, as long as you have the basics covered: People you love nearby, a warm place to gather, and good food on the table.

So, if you’re hosting the holiday for the first time and feel a little lost on what to serve, don’t fret. There’s no wrong answer! You take care of the friends and the location, and I hope these five, simple Christmas-friendly recipes help with the rest:

Appetizer: Shrimp Cocktail with Rach’s Quick Remoulade

Shrimp cocktail is a classic for fancy parties, but this recipe brings an unexpected twist with Southern flair. Plus, it’s ready in a flash!

Side: Scuderi Family Tradition – Christmas Star-Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed artichokes always look impressive, but they’re much easier than they appear. All you need is a little time and some anchovies (trust me, they’re good!) to add some Italian flair to your festivities.

Main: Fennel-Stuffed Roast Chicken Dinner

The beauty of this preparation is you get big results for less effort: a meal and a side in one! These chickens also look beautiful on the table and are delicious with the seasonal flavors of fennel and thyme.

Drink: Gaspare’s Winter Punch

Rather than shaking up individual cocktails, punch is great for entertaining because you can put it out and let guests serve themselves. This punch‘s warm, winter flavors and bright fruits make it an instant crowd-pleaser.

Dessert: Fabulous Five-Minute Fudge Wreath

Who doesn’t love fudge over the holidays? Rich. Indulgent. Divine. This easy and delish fudge wreath is ready in a flash and looks impressive, to boot!

Brunch: Quick and Easy French Toast Casserole

Casseroles are perfect crowd-pleasers: They’re hearty and warm, and always filling. This casserole incorporates the flavors of French toast, without having to make individual slices for all your guests. Perfect!

[Top image via Flickr/ Roxanne Ready]

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