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Santa Came Early! 20 Magical Recipes for Your Gluten-Free Christmas Menu (And Extra Thoughtful Hosting Tips!)

Want Santa’s secret to a stress-free (and gluten-free!) Christmas dinner?

Actually, there are two secrets:

  1. All is calm and bright with deliciously simple gluten-free food. 
  2. Believe in the magic of planning

If you can master healthy Christmas appetizers, side dishes, main meals, 

even holiday desserts and drinks, you’re officially the best host of all time. 

If only there was a way to do it without the overwhelm...

Oh, wait.

There is!

Just use this article as a guide to the perfect gluten-free holiday evening– worry-free! 

Grab a Christmas drink and let’s get to it! 

Table of Contents:

Thoughtful Hostess Alert! 7 In-Person Holiday Hosting Tips

Easiest Christmas Ever: The Ultimate Host Timeline/Checklist

There’s Snow Place Like Home: 4 Virtual Holiday Hosting Tips

‘Tis the Season to Be Gluten-Free: 20 Christmas Dinner Recipes

  • 5 Magical Christmas Appetizers
  • 5 Flavorfully Festive Side Dishes
  • 5 Heavenly Holiday Main Courses
  • 5 Delicious Christmas Desserts

Thoughtful Hostess Alert! 7 In-Person Holiday Hosting Tips

You’re about to have the most wonderful party for the most wonderful time of the year.

Stick to these tips!

1. Pick a Theme & Roll With It

Setting the overall tone is a fabulous place to start because it gives you some direction. 

Now as for what theme to pick...the options are endless!

  • Holiday movie night
  • Elegant dinner party
  • Winter wonderland cookie decorating
  • Fireside hangout
  • Ugly Christmas sweater party
  • White elephant gift exchange
  • Gingerbread house contest
  • Christmas cocktail taste test
  • Christmas Cookie exchange

2. Set the Ground Rules

The new normal means parties will look a little different this year-- 

especially if you’re going for an in-person gathering. 

To make sure everyone is safe and comfortable, lay out the ground rules beforehand. 

Here’s what the CDC says about Christmas celebrations. 

Remember:

You’re the host.

It’s okay to set clear boundaries.

This might mean a smaller, virtual or socially distanced gathering!  

3. Stick to a Budget

It’s beginning to cost a lot like Christmas!

From decor to food and drinks, before you know it, you’re knee-deep in one expensive event. 

As you choose your theme, create a budget spreadsheet, detailing the amount you’re okay with spending, what supplies you need, and a total estimate of expenses.

Keep the peace between you and your bank account! 

4. Batch Cook Ahead

The best party tip of all time:

Plan, prepare, and plan some more!

Assemble your casseroles and dishes beforehand so all you have to do is bake!

Don’t forget to peel, cut, and chop all ingredients that go into dishes ahead of time (maybe even the night before).

5. It’s the Little, Festive Things

Yes, the food is extremely important.

But you know what will knock your guests out of the park?

The little things. 

Holiday decorations like fresh flowers, candles, welcome notes, guest gifts, even music and plenty of beverages will help your visitors feel right at home. 

You might also consider using real plates for a more elegant effect. 

And make use of your kitchen island (if you have one)!

That’s where people tend to migrate, so make sure it’s stocked with either food or entertaining games. 

6. Rely On a To-Do List

The better organized you are, the more smoothly your gathering will run.

For instance:

Use a to-do list to keep track of things you need to buy, recipes to collect, and housework to do. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about when to get things done, no worries!

Check out the timeline in the next section as a guide. 

7. Deep Santa Belly Breaths!

The holidays are supposed to be fun.

But with the mounds of to-dos, budgets, and party drama, stress can easily seep into your favorite time of the year.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

You can delegate tasks by making your party more of a potluck, and don’t forget to take deep breaths!

As the host, you set the tone for the party.

If you’re easy-going and relaxed, everyone else can be, too! 

You got this!

Easiest Christmas Ever: The Ultimate Host Timeline/Checklist

All I want for Christmas is as little stress as possible…

And the best way to make your dreams come true?

Plan out the ultimate host timeline, like this one!

3 Weeks Before:

  • Set the theme. 
  • Send out invites.
  • Take stock of your tables, chairs, plates, cups, napkins, utensils, and holiday decor. Make a plan to rent, borrow, or purchase extra items.
  • Plan your budget.

2 Weeks Before:

  • Follow up with guests who haven’t RSVP’d and those with food allergies.
  • Plan your menu.
  • Order your turkey, ham, or roast if needed.
  • Sketch your initial grocery list.

1 Week Before:

  • Double-check your grocery list and add any missing items.
  • Grocery shop for non-perishable items and drinks.
  • Begin holiday party decorating.
  • Create a Christmas party playlist.
  • Clear out your fridge and freezer to make room for holiday food prep.

5 Days Before:

  • Vacuum, dust, and organize your living spaces.
  • Check your poultry or ham to see how long it needs to thaw. 

3 Days Before:

  • Buy any remaining groceries -- It’s best  to shop at least a few days before the actual holiday - fewer crowds!
  • Iron out table linens if using them.
  • Brainstorm a warming plan to keep the food hot and ready to serve at the same time. Maybe use extra appliances like your crockpot or instant pot! 

2 Days Before:

  • Get out your serving dishes and create little notecards for each dish with its name, so people know what’s what!
  • Set the table and assemble the buffet.
  • Spot-clean your home.
  • Put away any items you won’t be using for the party (especially check the kitchen) to make more room for food and supplies.

1 Day Before:

  • Make as many dishes as you can ahead of time.
  • Put out the flower arrangements.
  • Place your beverages in the fridge (or even the garage if you don’t have room) to chill. 
  • Measure, peel, or chop any ingredients for meals you can’t make ahead.
  • Start thawing the meat if necessary.  

Morning Of:

  • Place your poultry or pork in the oven.
  • Finish up the dishes you weren’t able to make the day before.
  • Complete any last-minute shopping
  • Do some self-care to mentally prepare! 

2 Hours Before:

  • Set up the bar/beverage buffet.
  • Make sure there are fresh towels in the bathroom.
  • Add any other finishing touches

30 Minutes Before:

  • Put on your Christmas playlist.
  • Set out the appetizers.
  • Turn on holiday lights/Light any candles.
  • Pour yourself a Christmas cocktail and enjoy the party!

There’s Snow Place Like Home: 4 Virtual Holiday Hosting Tips

If you can’t visit your friends and family this year, it doesn’t mean you have to ditch the party altogether. 

Go virtual!

And use these tips for a rockin’ Christmas evening. 

1. The Smaller the Better

Remember:

Most online video platforms only allow for one person to speak at a time, which doesn’t work well for larger groups. 

Keep it at a max of 10 people, so no one feels left out!

2. Set Up a Delivery Service

Instead of catering or cooking yourself, deliver!

You can have everyone agree upon a specific restaurant or pick and choose what they want the day of.

Food right at your doorstep?

Easiest Christmas ever!

3. Prepare Fun Activities

No one likes a boring party. 

And while it won’t be the same as in-person, you can still prepare a slew of fun, virtual activities like the ones below!

  • Virtual games: bingo, pictionary, charades, trivia, etc. 
  • Dance parties
  • Crafting projects
  • Cookie decorating
  • Virtual photo booth

You can even send holiday gift boxes ahead of time to surprise your guests!

‘Tis the Season to Be Gluten-Free: 20 Christmas Dinner Recipes

Watch out!

Gluten-free Santa Clause is coming to town.

And he’s bringing loads of gluten-free recipe gifts for your holiday gathering.

Merry Christmas! 

5 Magical Christmas Appetizers

Appetizers set the night off on a good note, which means they have to be insanely delicious!

But don’t worry.

I’ve already done the dirty work research.

Use any of these recipes! 

1. Spinach Artichoke Cauliflower Casserole

Low carb and comfort food shouldn’t even be in the same sentence…

But low and behold!

This spinach artichoke cauliflower casserole collides the best of both worlds in a magical way. 

Picture lots of cheese and heavy cream alongside spinach, artichoke, and cauliflower goodness, and since it’s a casserole, you save at least 10 minutes of prep! 

2. Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Let’s take sweet and salty up a gourmet notch with bacon-wrapped dates.

They’re the perfect little Christmas delights– just waiting to be popped in your mouth!

Careful!

One date easily turns into six before you know it.

But honestly, it’s Christmas, so who cares!  

3. Gluten-Free Chip & Guacamole Bites 

You can’t go wrong with gluten-free chips and guacamole. 

And who knew you could turn chips and dips into such a festive experience?

The red tomatoes and green guac make this appetizer a go-to for holiday parties.

It’s as simple as scooping and topping– 

Exactly what you need as a busy host.  

Sweet Potato Casserole Bites from Megan of a Dash of Megnut

4. Sweet Potato Casserole Bites 

It’s not the holidays without a sweet potato casserole topped with brown sugar, pecans, and marshmallows.

Just thinking about it makes me drool!

However, this recipe comes with a twist:

Mini bites of sweet potato casserole that are almost too cute to enjoy.

Bonus!

This recipe also comes with dairy-free and vegan options.  

5. Gluten-Free Baked Brie

When rich brie and puff pastry come together, sparks fly!

Baked brie is such a classic holiday appetizer.

But everyone who’s gluten-free knows the struggle of finding a ready-to-bake version.

Nevertheless!

This gluten-free baked brie recipe is here to take your holiday troubles away with an easy homemade pastry.

Dig in!   

5 Flavorfully Festive Side Dishes

Let’s be honest.

Side dishes are the best part of the holidays.

You always have the traditional options, like mashed potatoes, casseroles, and mac n’ cheese. 

But let’s take it a step farther with more Christmas-y options. 

6. Roasted Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese & Pecans

Goat cheese and pecans just don’t get enough credit. 

And when you try this recipe, you’ll understand why.

The buttery, savory, and decadent flavors will blow everyone away.

And the timing!

It only takes 10 minutes to prep, while the baking does the rest. 

Twice-Baked Spinach Potatoes from Carrie of Deliciously Organic

7. Twice-Baked Spinach Potatoes 

With more Christmas sweets come a little less nutrition, 

but this potato recipe helps you amp up your healthy cheer with spinach!

Since it’s baked into the potatoes alongside cheese and fresh dill, you don’t even notice it!

Which means the kids will gobble it up, too.

Win! 

8. Apple Walnut Green Salad

The other, more obvious way, to get your greens?

Eat a salad!

But no one wants to eat a boring salad on Christmas; you have to make it stunningly flavorful. 

This apple walnut green salad is just that with lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, feta cheese, and more. 

9. Holiday Oven-Roasted Vegetables

Veggies on veggies on veggies!

...But not in a boring way.

After a while, all the cookies, cakes, and casseroles don’t seem as fun anymore. 

Your body is craving nutritious foods!

If this is ever you, whip up some of these holiday oven-roasted veggies. 

Your body will thank you! 

10. Gluten-Free Stuffing with Green Chile

Stuffing with a twist!

All you need is gluten-free bread, veggies, seasonings, broth, and green chiles. 

And if you’re scared of the spice, don’t be!

It creates an epically flavorful side dish everyone will be swooning over. 

5 Heavenly Holiday Main Courses

Here come the runway stars!

Main course holiday recipes will seal the deal for a super yummy and festive meal. 

So if you knock it out of the park, you can go ahead and call your party a smashing success.

Thankfully, these gluten-free main courses are guaranteed to make some moves!

11. Pineapple Glazed Ham

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love a good ham.

And you would think this glazed ham is covered in pineapple juice or slices, but nope!

Instead, you’re using actual pineapple puree. 

The taste! The yum! 

Sign me up. 

12. Vegan Mushroom Wellington

A good ‘ole beef wellington does wonders for a Christmas party, but you know what’s even better?

A vegan mushroom wellington.

Not only is it lighter, full of veggies, and wrapped in puff pastry... 

but it’s also incredibly good. 

13. Classic Roast Chicken

Turkey can be complicated.

But chicken?

Chicken is easy peasy. 

So if you’re looking for a simple roast chicken to perfectly pair with your side dishes, this recipe is it! 

14. Vegetarian Meatballs

Veggie meatballs, anyone?

You’re not going to want to skip out on this taste-just-like-the-real-thing recipe.

Plus, this recipe is a two-for-one-deal:

Come for the meatballs, then stay for the saffron and ginger rib recipe right below! 

P.S. make sure to use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce if you’re gluten-free!

Orange Glazed Salmon from Carrie of Deliciously Organic

15. Orange-Glazed Salmon

There’s something about fruity flavored dishes around the holidays...

You just gotta have them!

This orange-glazed salmon definitely makes the cut with a delicious orange marmalade.

Need some more amazing Christmas food ideas? 

Read 41 Gluten-Free Party Food Recipes for the Holidays!

5 Delicious Christmas Desserts

Warm pie on a cold winter’s night?

Yes, please!

Except pie is just the tip of dessert iceberg. 

Use these fantastic Christmas dessert ideas!

16. Paleo Pecan Pie Bars

Delicate maple syrup, buttery pecans, sweet dates, and a delicious almond shortbread crust:

If heaven made a healthy pie, this recipe would be it!

It tastes just like the real deal and is so easy to assemble and bake!

17. Dairy-Free S’mores Dip

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never roasted chestnuts on an open fire.

But you know what I have roasted?

Marshmallows!

Winter s’mores are a super underappreciated Christmas dessert, and this dairy-free s’mores dip is the perfect example of a stellar s’mores approach.

All you need are chocolate chips, coconut cream, and mini marshmallows!

18. Dairy-Free Peppermint Bark

Peppermint bark is an iconic Christmas treat.

But it’s not every day you see a healthified version.

So make your own with this dairy-free peppermint bark recipe!

Your guests won’t even be able to tell a difference. 

19. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

If you don’t have a pumpkin pie on Christmas, you’re not doing Christmas right!

This recipe uses a gluten-free butter crust, which means it’s crazy good and guaranteed to be a party hit.

I can’t believe it’s gluten-free!

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Christmas Tree from Paola of Gnom Gnom

20. Gluten-Free Pull-Apart Christmas Tree 

Talk about a show-stopper holiday dessert!

This cinnamon pull-apart Christmas tree is dairy-free, gluten-free, and keto– if you can believe it!

Just make the dough, roll up the filling, bake, and top with glaze!

Everyone will be absolutely amazed.

I know I just rounded off this list of Christmas recipes, but there’s one more thing I missed:

Drinks!

Be sure to read up on these 25 Gluten-Free Winter Cocktails for a Spirited Holiday Evening!

May Your Christmas Dinner Be Merry, Calm, & Bright!

Christmas dinner doesn’t have to be so stressful, especially with the above recipes and tips.

Say hello to smooth-sailing hosting and don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Happy holidays!

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