You want to host a dinner party for friends before holiday travel mayhem ensues, but with holiday carols playing everywhere and a growing list of cookies to make, you may already feel like avoiding the kitchen entirely. This time of year—when there are more parties than you can keep track of, and everyone is in the mood to celebrate—the only problem is time and expendable energy.
But if you do decide to have some friends over for dinner, you'll want a meal that's festive, but not too complicated or fraught with holiday pressure. Think hearty dishes that can be made ahead of time, keep well, and taste even better after sitting overnight. This menu is laidback, low stress, and won't overwhelm your holiday agenda. Reuse your beautiful seasonal centerpiece, throw in a few pretty glasses, and gather good friends—your low-key, holiday-safe evening is set.