10 Warm and Festive Holiday Dinner Ideas

by | Oct 2, 2023 | Events, Holiday | 0 comments

Holiday dinners can be fun and full of good times with people you love, provided you plan them well, but it can be tough to come up with holiday dining ideas. That’s what this article is for. No more frantically googling “New Year’s Eve Dinner Near Me” or “Recipes for Thanksgiving” and praying that your turkey defrosts. With these warm, festive holiday dinner ideas, you’ll be passing the potatoes and dishing up dessert in no time at all.

1. Make It Easy With A Catered Meal

You know what’s easier than cooking a huge meal for your holiday party? Getting somebody else to do it for you! Having the food at your family celebrations taken care of by catering means that you can focus on having a fun party and not worrying about the food options. And many of your favorite restaurants are more than happy to meet your catering needs! The Refuge is more than happy to bring our best to your family holiday parties, your Christmas office party, your New Year’s Eve dinner, your Thanksgiving dinner, or any other events or parties you may be planning. Our dynamic catering menu is easy to serve and will please the whole crowd.

2. Have A Potluck Party

Potlucks are great for holiday dinners. They make it easier on you, and they require way less planning. No more arguing about the best Thanksgiving sides or Christmas party appetizers– with a potluck, you can have them all! For the easiest family potluck, assign people categories of food to bring. That way you don’t end up with seven green bean casseroles and no desserts.

Potlucks are one of our favorite Christmas party ideas for the office, because they guarantee that everybody has something there they enjoy eating.

3. Eat Out

Who says your holiday dinner has to be at home? While it might be hard to find a restaurant open on Thanksgiving Day, many fine dining establishments are open for Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinner. Eating out means that you don’t have to clean up the dishes before opening presents, or before the cocktails kick off at your New Year’s Eve party. You can even eat out with the whole family at restaurants that offer group holiday dining! Just google “family Thanksgiving dinner near me” (or whatever holiday you’re looking for) to find out what restaurants can help you out. And if you’re looking for great Christmas gift ideas, restaurant gift cards are always appreciated.

4. Explore Traditional Recipes

In many cultures, it’s considered good luck to have a traditional New Year’s dinner. Ideas about luck and fortune stemming from what you eat on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day exist all over the world, from Hoppin’ John in the southern US’s to Greece’s traditional smashing of pomegranates. Find out what New Year’s Eve dinner recipes exist in your family’s heritage, and give them a try– or choose a new tradition for a breath of fresh air this year.

5. Put A Twist on Old Favorites

Some people really love their family’s holiday traditions, and that includes the food. If the traditional roast and sides are sacrosanct, then keep it up! But if you want to put a new spin on old classics, holiday dinners are a great place to do that. If you’re looking for Thanksgiving party ideas, why not try turkey sliders instead of the big bird, or have a baked potato bar with lots of toppings instead of the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy?

6. Try Something New for New Year’s Eve

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to try something new, why not get a head start? Look some brand-new New Year’s Eve dinner recipes before the big night, and then serve them for supper! Pick a new cuisine that you’ve never made before, or a recipe that uses different techniques and ingredients than you’re used to. This is one of our favorite New Year’s Eve dinner ideas, because it’s the perfect time to try something new.

7. Partying Around the World

Another spin on the idea of trying something new, a global dessert bar will delight your guests and make your party a feast to remember. Focus your holiday celebration on indulgent desserts from around the world. For example:

  • Italian: Tiramisu and cannoli
  • French: Crème brûlée and macarons
  • Japanese: Red bean mochi and matcha sweets
  • Mexican: Churros with chocolate dipping sauce and tres leches cake
  • Greek: Baklava and loukoumades (honey puffs)

Allow your guests to sample these sweet delights and learn about different culinary traditions while satisfying their sweet tooth.

8. Can’t Beat Brunch

Switch up the holiday mealtime tradition by hosting a festive brunch gathering. Offer an array of breakfast and brunch favorites like fluffy pancakes, Belgian waffles, and a colorful fruit salad bar. A holiday brunch is a delightful way to kick off the day and allows for more relaxed celebrations throughout the afternoon. Or, if you really want to have fun with it, have brunch/breakfast for dinner! Make everyone feel like a kid again at your holiday party with fun breakfast-time faves. For an extra touch of fun, have everyone change into their comfiest pajamas. Bonus points if you match.

9. Celebrate the Season

Seasonal food is always a good idea. It’s fresh and flavorful– but what’s in season in winter? Winter produce includes root veggies, squashes, dark leafy greens, alliums, citrus fruits, and apples. Use these flavors as the centerpiece of your holiday dinner. Try to find options that are as local as possible, and that includes your protein centerpiece, too!

10. DIY Holiday Dinner

Turn your holiday meal into an interactive experience by setting up DIY stations where guests can customize their dishes. For instance:

  • Pizza Party: Provide pizza dough, various sauces, cheeses, and other toppings.
  • Taco Bar: Offer a variety of taco fillings, salsas, and toppings.
  • Build-Your-Own Pasta: Cook different types of pasta and provide a selection of sauces, proteins, and vegetables.

This approach not only adds a fun element to your holiday gathering but also accommodates various dietary preferences and restrictions. It’s another of our favorite ideas for Christmas parties.

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, try to keep a relaxed attitude towards holiday dinner. It doesn’t have to be perfect– all that matters is that love is there. If you want to host your holiday dinner away from home, why not hold a catered event in our space at The Refuge, or join us for holiday group dining? We’d love to have you as part of our family.