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I’m excited to share 12 Ways of Simple Cooking for Christmas with you. This post is so full of delicious menus, gift giving ideas, and helpful planning tips that I’m ready to go to the tree farm as we speak to get started! Instead, I think I’ll take my own advice and begin planning my menus and making gifts.

Trimming the Tree

I love to begin trimming our tree and decorating our home for Christmas as soon as possible after Thanksgiving. A simple menu is perfect for kicking off the festivities while leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the day as well.


Southern Chicken and Corn Chowder

Black Bean Soup Bar

Southern Buttermilk Cornbread

Snow Cookies

Sweet Tea


Giving as Gifts

There is absolutely no gift greater to give during the Christmas season than one made with your own loving hands. Maybe it is a handmade card from your children, a popsicle stick ornament made for the tree, or a delicious food gift that lets the receiver know how very much you care.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Peppermint Bark

Homemade Jam

Christmas Cookies

Homemade Granola

Apple Pie Spice Mix

Homemade Fudge

Homemade Vanilla Extract



Fun with the Kids

Memories of Christmas always include time in the kitchen for me as a child. Sharing that those memories while making new ones with my son is a definite highlight of my holiday.

Salt Dough Ornaments

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

Gingerbread Family Cookies

Gingerbread House

Peanut Butter Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Caramel Corn

Cookie Dough Dip


See the Lights

A tradition in my family has always been to climb into the car with little treats packed away to see the Christmas lights and decorations. Mama would always pack a basket full of things we could easily eat in the car for our supper as we’d ride through neighborhood after neighborhood to see trees, wreaths, Santa waving in the bank lobby, and more twinkling lights each year. Now, my family continues the tradition with the addition of going to nearby gardens to drive through their over-the-top winter wonderland. Now, we’re able to grab a funnel cake as we enjoy the Nativity by the lake.


Pimento Cheese Sandwich

Turkey Wraps


Chips and pretzels


Hot Chocolate




Supper with Friends

We love to invite friends over for a simple supper where the focus isn’t on the food, but on the company and catching up with one another during the rush of the holidays. An easy, make-ahead menu is perfect for our supper where we leave the hustle and bustle at the door.

Pimento Cheese

Caprese Salad Skewers

Deviled Eggs

Southern Ham Biscuits with Baked Ham

Green Beans

Waldorf Salad

Sweet Tea


Holiday Drinks

Along with our sweet tea, we love to bring out special drinks during the Christmas holiday. From homemade hot chocolate to warm apple cider, Christmas usually finds us with a warm mug in hand after a day of making crafts, trimming the tree, or while addressing our Christmas cards. These also make a great addition to any menu for holiday entertaining.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

White Chocolate Mocha

Warm Apple Cider


Christmas Morning PJs and Breakfast

Christmas morning is full of excitement as we wake up to celebrate the day together. Preparation for our breakfast usually begins during the week ahead to keep me able to enjoy the day with the rest of the family and not miss a single moment. I have to admit, the morning just wouldn’t be the same without my husband’s Cinnamon Rolls. I think we could have those cinnamon rolls, a glass of milk or coffee and be perfectly happy on Christmas morning! However, we generally have a buffet to allow everyone to choose their favorite.



Breakfast Casserole

Cinnamon Rolls

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Homemade Granola



Coffee and Hot Chocolate


Gluten-Free Brunch

I always like to have a gluten-free menu in mind that I can use whenever family and friends visit who do not eat gluten. This brunch menu is one of my favorite gluten-free menus that we all love.

Salmon Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce

Wild Mushroom Saute






Mama’s Traditional Christmas Lunch

After a big breakfast or brunch, a light lunch is all we need, if we even eat lunch. But, I remember as a child my mother would prepare a huge Christmas lunch for our family with all the trimmings. This was also my Grandmother’s traditional Christmas menu. She would make each of these with the addition of everyone’s favorite dish to make the meal even more special for each of us. The menu was very similar to our Thanksgiving menu with the addition of Christmas desserts and no pumpkin pie.



Southern Cornbread Dressing

Giblet Gravy

Cranberry Sauce

Green Beans

Roasted Beets

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Tea


Beef Tenderloin Christmas Supper

Christmas supper has always been a special meal. Whether this menu is served on Christmas Day or another, you’ll enjoy the ease of this impressive menu for your family and guests. I enjoy preparing it as my additional gift to those I love.


Beef Tenderloin with Horsey Sauce


Twice Baked Potatoes

Maytag Wedge Salad

Sliced Tomatoes

Dessert buffet from favorites below

Sweet Tea

Sweet Dreams and Desserts

Desserts. Desserts. Desserts. Sweets and Christmas go hand in hand with delicious nibbles, gifts that you can’t resist, and desserts at every meal. These are a few of my favorites for the holidays.

Southern Caramel Cake

Cinnamon Rolls

Red Velvet Cake

Coconut Cake



Planning Tips

I love to do most of my Christmas cooking and present making early so that I can enjoy the holiday with my family knowing that the bulk of the work has been done. I knew I wanted to share a few of my planning and make-ahead tips with you.

1. Keep it simple. It is always better to do a few items really well than to make yourself and your family crazy by doing a million things and only getting a few of them right. Simplify your menu, your gift-giving recipes, and your cooking schedule.

2. Plan ahead. Plan your menus and gift-giving recipes as far in advance as possible. Make a master listing of everything you need to allow yourself ample time to stock up on items you’ll need in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. Shop as early as possible to avoid the rush for items that will not spoil. If giving homemade gifts, think about those that keep well, such as spices and mixes, in your planning.

3. Delegate. If you invite other families into your home during the holidays, consider asking them to bring one of their favorite dishes with them. Have your menu in-hand to discuss ideas and adjust. Your family and friends will enjoy the get-together knowing they have contributed to the meal.

4. Make ahead. Go ahead and make your homemade spice and mix gifts and have those ready wrapped and ready to go for neighbors, teachers, and friend gifts. You’ll be so far ahead in your Christmas schedule from one afternoon spent invested in getting these ready. Also, take a look at your menus with a keen eye for those dishes that can be made ahead. For example, southern cornbread dressing is actually better in my mind if it has been mixed up a day or two before baking and serving. Cranberry sauce, cakes, and pies also lend well to making in advance. Grab your calendar and plan backwards for cooking and table-setting days.

5. Relax and have fun. It sure is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays feeling like you’ve just got to do it all and everything you do is never enough. Take a deep breath before the holidays even begin! You’re determined to keep it simple, you have your plan made and ready, you’ve made many of your gifts and have begun stocking your pantry with needed cooking supplies, and now it’s time to enjoy it all! Bake cookies with the kids, spend a day in your PJs with your family watching Christmas movies, or make handmade cards for your local nursing home!



Collections Recipes

Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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  1. oh my goodness – look at all of this !! What great suggestions. We gave peppermint bark away last year (I think I ate more of it than gave away).

    thanks for all the ideas.

  2. SO many yummy ideas! Thanks for taking the time to gather all these recipes πŸ™‚ When I was growing up we always ate a big Christmas breakfast that my grandma had made including homemade sticky buns, egg casserole, and oyster stew (kind of a weird family tradition, no one was too sad when that one died out).

    1. Okay, that breakfast tradition had me drooling – until the oyster stew! But I do have to admit that my parents, aunt and uncle used to make salt fish on Christmas morning. THAT was never my favorite part of the morning! I’m so happy to replace it with my own Christmas morning menu. πŸ™‚

  3. Since my twin and I are the youngest (at 22) within the side of the family that exchanges gifts, I’ve taken to making candy every Christmas for everyone. This works out SO much better than store bought gifts since they’re just absolutely thrilled with homemade candy and we’re all old enough to actually go out and *buy* stuff that we want when we want it.

    Because, really, it IS about spending time with each other not about who is getting what.

    1. I bet those candies are something that y’all look forward to!!! I know I would. I love homemade gifts like that. They are so special! What are some of your favorites to make?

    2. Every year I make: peppermint bark, truffles, caramel chocolate covered and plain, york peppermint patties. I know I’m missing some, but each year is a slightly different variety because I can’t always remember what I made the year before and I like trying new things. Pinterest has been awesome with new ideas for candy; although I’m still looking for a copycat recipe of See’s Molasses Chips. I’ve blogged about a bunch of them so recipes are over there! πŸ™‚

  4. You have me in the holiday spirit already! Everything looks so yummy, but I have to admit the Salt Dough Ornaments took me back about 20 years! I never would have thought to find the “how to..” thank you so much!!

    1. We love making those salt dough ornaments each year. They are always so much fun to do with our son!

  5. Wow, your post has absolutely put me in the spirit of Christmas (and the spirit of eating). I want all of my family in my house enjoying all of these delicious looking goodies and we huddle around the table and fireplace. Thank you so much for all of these just wonderful things you shared.

  6. Do all of your 12 ways of Christmas links work? Do they lead directly to those exact posts or just to that person’s website.

    1. Hey Kelli, All of the links lead directly to the post or recipe that it references and as of this past weekend, they were all working perfectly! Let me know if you find any that don’t work for you and I’ll help you out!

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