Our Traditional Christmas Eve Dinner

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Photo Courtesy of Southern Living

I really debated about sharing our traditional Christmas Eve Dinner Menu. I thought it would be boring and no one would care but then I thought about why people come to “Living Large in a Small House”. They come here because they want to know what’s going on in our lives.

So this week I have two important things to do. 1) Get prepared for Annie & Kenny to come home and stay for 5 days and 2) Put my grocery list together for the big week ahead.

I already have my weekly menu planned which includes Christmas Eve. That is when we go all out with the food. We do switch things up from time to time but basically, it’s very always very similar. I’ve added my grocery shopping list to my FREE Printables Resource Library. If you want access to all of the wonderful printables that I have available, you need to share your email address with me. Let’s be Friends!

Christmas Eve Menu

A printed menu of our Christmas Eve Dinner on white paper overlaid on a picture of a charcuterie board

Dinner Details

We are going to start with individual charcuterie boards. I first made these for my harvest dinner that you can read about HERE.

individual wooden charcuterie boards with parmesan cheese slices, prosciutto, figs, grapes, chocolate covered nuts and crackers with fig jam for starters of our Christmas Eve dinner

We always have beef, either a whole beef tenderloin or a prime rib roast and I always make my version of Julia Child’s French Onion Soup. A make-ahead Cheesy Potato Casserole is our go-to potato choice.

My vegetable has been asparagus, bean bundles, or Brussel sprouts. However this year, we are making green bean casserole because it’s Annie’s favorite and she hasn’t been home for Christmas Eve in a very long time. I’m also adding crab legs to the menu because Annie doesn’t eat beef. I’m rounding out the meal with my classic Chicken Caesar salad, minus the chicken.

We also typically have Swedish Potato Sausage which you can read about HERE. This year will be an exception because we haven’t been able to get together with my family to make it because of Covid concerns.

For dessert, I’m making a simple GF cheesecake topped with sugared berries. I’m also going to make a specialty cocktail. The one that I’m making is one that Emma and I created for our Podcast with Nathan & Philip Etters @happilyeveretter

If you want some more festive holiday cocktail ideas, you can find them by clicking the button below!

Spicy Beef Tenderloin

The Very Best Beef Tenderloin Roast Recipe – It's not really very spicy, it's just crazy tasty
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Marinade8 hours
Total Time9 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings
Author: The Southern Living Cookbook


  • 2 Gallon Ziplock Bags
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Roasting Pan with Rack
  • Digital Meat Thermometer
  • large cutting board
  • sharp knife


  • 1 cup port wine, (see note)
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried whole thyme
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 5-6 pound whole beef tenderloin, trimmed


  • We order our beef tenderloin from a butcher but you can also get it from your local grocery store. If you order ahead of time, ask the butcher to trim the fat and membrane off of the tenderloin.
    Typically there is a tail on the tenderloin, you should wrap that under and tie it with kitchen twine so that the roast has a more consistent size throughout.
  • Combine the first 8 ingredients; mix well. Place tenderloin in a large shallow dish; or 2-gallon ziplock bag. Pour the wine mixture over top, and cover tightly. Refrigerate for 8 hours, turning occasionally.
    Take out of refrigerator a few hours before your going to cook to bring up to room temperature.
  • Uncover tenderloin; drain off and reserve marinade. Place tenderloin on a rack in a pan; insert a meat thermometer, making sure it does not touch fat. Pour reserved marinade into the bottom of the pan. Bake at 425° for 45 to 60 minutes or until the thermometer registers 140° (rare). Bake until the internal temperature is 150° for medium-rare or 160° for medium. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting. SEE Notes


Handy” always cooks large pieces of meat on the grill with indirect heat.  If you would like more information about how he does this, please comment and we will be happy to help you.
We also buy a really good port wine.  We think it makes a very big difference.  If you’re going to spend a good amount of money on a whole tenderloin, it’s worth it to splurge on the port.  Our favorite is Frontenac Port from Galena Cellars.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheesy mashed potatoes, mashed potato casserole
Servings: 18 servings


  • 10 lbs large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 pkg 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • Place potatoes in a large saucepot; cover with water. Bring to a boil and cover. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until very tender; drain well – I used a colander
  • In a mixing bowl, mash potatoes. Add remainder of ingredients; beat until fluffy.
  • Transfer to a greased 2-qt., baking dish. Cover and refrigerate at this point if you're not going to bake right away.
  • Bring to room temperature if the potatoes have been refrigerated prior to baking
  • Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired.


This is not a low-calorie dish and I only make it for special occasions.

Lynn’s Mexican 75

This is my twist on the Mexican 75
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: hibiscus flower, tequila and champagne
Servings: 1 drink


  • 1 oz. juice from hibiscus flower jar
  • 1 oz. tequila
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. dry sparkling rosé
  • raspberry sorbet
  • hibiscus flower


  • Combine hibiscus juice tequila and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice, cover and shake until outside of shaker is frosty.
  • Pour into champagne flutes and gradually add rosé. Slip a hibiscus flower into the glass and top with a small scoop of raspberry sorbet.
  • Enjoy!

If you want more Holiday Cocktails ideas, you can find them HERE.

Christmas Eve Table Setting

I really love to style my Christmas Eve table and it’s never the same twice. My theme is always inspired by what I do with my tree. This year I’m using vintage blue and white china with the ribbon from the tree tied around my napkins.

I’m layering my table with clear beaded chargers, white dinner plates, and Johnson Brothers Vintage “Coaching Scenes” Salad and Dessert plate. I’m using the simple “Sterling” China with two green banded plates as my bread plates. My silver is similar to Wallace Queen but it’s a little different and I can’t find the exact match anywhere. The footed goblet is vintage Fostoria “Meadow Rose”. My “Kincora” Waterford Crystal wine glasses are also part of my table setting.

Why Cloth Napkins?

I always use cloth napkins even if we are just having grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. It psychologically elevates the meal while also being environmentally friendly. I throw the cloth napkins in with my towels each week to wash. It’s just so easy

I will iron them when we are having company or I’m setting a special table but typically they don’t really need to be ironed if you take them out of the dryer as soon as they are done and fold them.

Christmas Day Meal Plans

Christmas Day is a lazy day for us. We watch Christmas Vacation for the 10th time and hang around a fire in our Christmas PJ’s. I wish for snow on Christmas Day but we rarely get it. It seems to wait until January and then we get dumped on.

For breakfast, I usually make an egg bake if Kenny isn’t with us but he’ll be here this year. He eats Gluten-Free so I’m going to make a frittata with fresh fruit on the side. We usually don’t eat until around 11 so it’s really Brunch. Then we have an early grazing dinner of heavy appetizers. This is what I have planned

  • Hot Buffalo Wings
  • Dumplings
  • Cheese & Crackers
  • Beef, cream cheese & pickle rolls
  • Swedish Meatballs
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My wish for you this holiday season is to have a beautiful day. If you’re celebrating alone or with friends and family. Take out the good dishes, use a cloth napkin and enjoy the holiday meals that you have prepared.


Simple christmas planner on desk
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If you make a turkey for Christmas and are looking for some ideas for leftovers, you can find them HERE

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  1. We use cloth napkins to and we have for years! I don’t even buy paper napkins unless we are having a large gathering. Merry Christmas Lynn!! You must be excited to have everyone home!

  2. Your Christmas Eve dinner sounds lovely! I use cloth napkins too – they are cheaper in the long run, I never run out and they make the meal special. Thanks for sharing and I hope you had a nice Christmas! 🙂

    1. Once again! Great minds…. Our Christmas Eve dinner was lovely even tho it was just us and Grandma.