If people are retired, or there’s only a few of them, what do they have for  Christmas Dinner? I can’t speak for all retirees, just what works for me. What works for me is a day of appetizers. 

Appetizers, you ask? Yes, appetizers. I guess you need to understand how Christmas Day works for us. We like to get up and see what Santa stuffed in our stockings. Then we have a nice big breakfast. And that’s the last meal of the day I will cook. 

Our family is scattered all over the country. Christmas Day has evolved into a National Telephone Call Holiday. Here’s how the math of that works: If I have four people to talk to and I talk to them for only 15 minutes each (unlikely) and then my husband talks for 15 minutes each, that’s two hours for only four people. Now multiply that by the total number of people we want to visit with that day and you get the picture. I love being with everybody but it’s not possible every year. So the second best thing is talking to them on the phone.

Being on and off the phone all day means I don’t have time to fix a big Christmas dinner. Hence we have Appetizer For Christmas Dinner. Since I know I’m not going to cook, I try to plan ahead and have things ready to pull from the refrigerator. Everything listed below can be made ahead of time or purchased at your local supermarket. Here’s my list of possibilities:

  1. A tray of raw veggies with or without a dip or Ranch dressing (carrot and celery sticks, radishes, snow peas, broccoli and cauliflower florets, etc.)
  2. Deviled eggs
  3. Stuffed Mushrooms
  4. Spinach Artichoke Dip with crackers (nice ones, not saltines) or baguette
  5. A brick of cream cheese covered with salsa, served with tortilla chips
  6. Pimento Cheese with crackers or baguette
  7. A Cheese Ball or Baked Brie with crackers or baguette
  8. A tray of sliced cheeses, meats (thin ham, beef or turkey), salami
  9. Cold, cooked shrimp with cocktail sauce
  10. Crockpot with mini meatballs and sauce (could be barbeque or sweet sour or teriyaki or whatever you like)
  11. Crockpot with baby ribs in sauce (could also be microwaved)
  12. Crockpot with chicken nuggets  with dipping sauces like Honey Mustard (could also be microwaved) 
  13. Crockpot of a fancy soup like Clam Chowder or French Onion
  14. Salads such as Waldorf or Mixed Fruit or Broccoli Raisin or Pea Salad or Three Bean (check Deli area)
  15. Dessert: those great Christmas cookies
  16. Drink: your choice of wine, tea, coffee, eggnog, Diet Coke?

Now isn’t that a festive feast? Just because there’s only a couple of you doesn’t mean you can’t have a party. Pick whatever will work for you. I don’t use the whole list at once but pick and choose what we feel like this year. I have literally purchased every single one of these items at the store so I didn’t have to cook if I didn’t want to. You can also use this list for an open-house type celebration or for a potluck party. I hope you’ll let me know your favorite appetizers or what you do for an unusual Christmas dinner. Merry Christmas.