Christmas Eve Candlelight Dinner
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Every year I serve a Christmas Eve Candlelight Dinner in our home. It’s a special way to spend this wondrous evening with family after a candlelight service at our church. Sometimes I prepare a large meal, while other times, it’s just a simple soup with bread and a yummy dessert. But always it’s a special dinner with candles, decorations, nice dishes, and glasses.
When planning your own Christmas Eve dinner, consider how many guests you’ll be hosting. Once you have your guest list, it’s time to go through your linens and dishes. Maybe you have a special holiday dinnerware tucked away in a closet. If so, it’s time to get it out! And it’s okay if you don’t have special dishes, because you can always dress up your table with a colorful tablecloth, napkins, chargers, or decorations.
For many years, I used my Blue Willow dishes and decorated the table with accents in ivory and green. This has been one of my favorite table settings, and I always enjoy coming back to it from year to year.
You might also dress your table in holiday colors of red or green with ivory or white dishes, which always looks spectacular. Many tableware items may be purchased on sale at stores such as Hobby Lobby. And don’t forget to check your local thrift stores or Dollar Stores for dishes and decorations. Sometimes you can find real treasures for a few dollars, which is always a good thing!
Next consider your candles and stands. You could go with simple jars with tea lights in them. (The jars in the photo above are actually yogurt jars, which make great tea candleholders.) If you have one, use a candle stand with taper candles. Votives, pillars, or Hurricane-type candlelight would also be very pretty. Go through your house and see what you have. And then go buy a few candles at a Dollar store. When shopping, keep in mind the colors you will have on your table and do your best to match them.
Once you have your table decorations figured out, it’s time to start planning your menu. Below are a few ideas for appetizers and desserts, with a handful of suggestions for your main meal, both simple and more elaborate. Maybe some of these will help you create your own menu!
Appetizers for a Christmas Eve Candlelight Dinner
Start your guests out with mulled drinks and appetizers served on a side table or in the kitchen while you’re finishing the dinner preparations. Browse all of my Appetizers Here.
Christmas Wassail with Pomegranate Juice is a delicious mulled drink to enjoy during the holiday season. Sweetened with pomegranate, apple, and pineapple juice and flavored with cinnamon sticks, it’s good served hot or over ice.
Every winter, my grandma made Addicting Munchies Holiday Snack. The name is accurate as this is very addicting, and it’s the perfect snack to put out in a bowl when you have company come over during the holidays.
Crescent Lined Baked Brie is perfect when you want to serve guests a little something special. I love how the cheese oozes once you slice into this yummy goodness.
Holiday Cheese Ball is a favorite family recipe that is so delicious and easy to put together. It uses two kinds of cheese (cream cheese, and cheddar) and is flavored with Worcestershire sauce and onion, and then coated in chopped pecans.
Candies to Munch On
Easy Chocolate Covered Toffee is a delightful recipe to make for your family during the holidays. It’s delicious and so very easy to make!
We enjoy making Chocolate Nut Clusters with Peanuts for the holidays. They are very easy to make and tasty too! Plus, this recipe can be adapted to make Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters, which are simply heavenly.
Here’s my Mom’s famous Pecan Brittle recipe that she makes every Christmas. Thin and crunchy sweetness, loaded with freshly picked Kansas pecans.
Christmas Eve Main Course Options
Dinner Option #1 – Soup and Meat Pie
Broccoli Cheese Soup with Christmas Chicken Pie and Onion Crescent Rolls makes for a lovely Christmas Eve dinner. I used to prepare the menu for our family when the girls were young. It was one of our favorite meals to enjoy following our Christmas Eve candlelight service. I always prepared as much of the meal as possible earlier in the day, then kept it warm in a crockpot or in a warm oven. This made preparation for the meal quite easy and quick once we returned home.
This Broccoli Cheese Soup is perfect for a cool autumn night when you need a little comfort food. Creamy, cheesy, and seasoned with onion and carrot with small bites of tender broccoli. Add a crusty loaf of sourdough bread and it becomes a heavenly weeknight dinner.
Christmas Sausage Chicken Pie takes some time to prepare, but it’s very good and has become a Christmas tradition at our house. Filled with tender chicken and mildly spiced sausage in a seasoned herb sauce, it goes well with a creamy soup and crescent or dinner rolls.
Onion Crescent Rolls are amazingly easy to prepare. So light and soft–like little fluffy pillows! I hope you’ll take the time to try these and that you’ll love them as much as we do!
Dinner Option #2 – A Traditional Holiday Dinner
This is my dad’s favorite meal, which I’ve made for him a time or two on Christmas Eve. Ham and all the Fixin’s, Complete with Sides, Salads, and Oat Rolls.
If you want a tender and juicy ham this Christmas, look no further than this Slow Cooker Holiday Ham recipe. It’s especially nice when you want to free up oven space for other dinner items. The pineapple, cloves, and brown sugar all lend extra flavor to the dish.
Easy Company Potatoes makes a lot and goes well with Country-Style Ribs or Holiday Ham. And it’s one of those “dump” recipes, so it’s easy to put together.
Serve Fresh Green Bean Casserole at your next potluck dinner or family gathering. Perfect for holiday dinners. Fresh Green Beans and mushrooms in a homemade gravy.
Candied Sweet Potatoes is an old family favorite for the holidays. Tender sweet potatoes covered in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon and topped with pecans and marshmallows. Yum!
Glorified Rice Salad goes great with ham or turkey and is a light and festive salad to put on the table.
Oat Rolls are easy to make and so delicious. Soft, tender, with oatmeal goodness that turns it into a slightly sweet, hearty bread.
Dinner Option #3 – An Old-World Dinner
My mother-in-law first made this dinner for us one Christmas and I was enchanted by it’s old-world charm. Cornish Hens with Stuffing, Brussels Sprouts, Creamed Corn, Ambrosia Salad, and Braided Bread.
I love to serve Cornish Hens with Grand Marnier Stuffing during the holidays. Apricot-glazed Cornish hens, with a cornbread stuffing flavored with dried apricots, pine nuts, and orange-flavored Grand Marnier liqueur.
Slow-Cooked Creamed Corn is so delicious, you will want seconds and will secretly hope for leftovers! Creamy, lightly sweetened corn, perfect for a holiday dinner.
I adore serving Roasted Brussels Sprouts as they are so delicious and also have an old-world charm about them.
Ambrosia – Five Cup Salad is an easy dish to make for a family gathering or church dinner. Full of fruit and mixed together with simple sour cream that melds together in a delicious fruity and refreshing salad.
Braided Squash Bread is a lovely recipe that is moist and has just a touch of earthy vegetable flavor made even better when slathered with butter.
Dinner Option #4 – Soup in a Bread Bowl
My final dinner option is another simple meal of Potato Soup in a Bread Bowl, served with Spinach Artichoke Dip. Again, the items can be prepared in advance to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.
Baked Potato Soup is perfect for a weeknight meal for your family or as an intimate holiday meal served in Sourdough Bread Bowls, which is what I did one Christmas Eve for our family dinner.
Sourdough Bread Bowls are so delicious and can turn a basic soup into a celebratory meal.
Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip is a yummy appetizer when you want something a little salty and warm. This dip is perfect with crackers or toasted bread.
Many years ago, when I was first married, my mother-in-law served Frog Eye Pasta Salad at one of our family gatherings. I had never seen or tasted it before and thought it was quite wonderful.
Fantastic Desserts to End your Christmas Dinner
When preparing your dinner menu, be sure to include a fabulous dessert. I’ve listed candy above for munching on, but bring out one of these lovely desserts to end the meal. No matter how full your guests are, they will be unable to resist having at least a bite of one of these. See all of my Dessert Recipes Here.
Christmas Yule Log is a delicious chocolate sponge cake rolled up in a creamy filling and covered in a rich ganache icing. So yummy!
New York-Style Cheesecake is pretty amazing, and ranks high on our dessert scale. This will be my holiday go-to recipe for Cheesecake. It’s rich and creamy and oh so dreamy. Really, folks, it’s pretty amazing.
Elderberry Wine-Poached Pears with Chantilly Cream is an excellent choice when you want a simple, yet elegant dessert worthy of Christmas, an anniversary, or a celebratory birthday.
Make this delicious Vanilla Pound Cake recipe during this year’s Holiday Season–or any time, really! The sugar topping sends this cake right over the top!
So there you have it, four of my favorite meals deserving of a Candlelight Dinner. I hope you’ll choose one of these meals for your holiday dinner, or that they give you ideas for other recipes. May this Christmas fill your hearts with love and peace that will last all the year through.
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