The Easter Bunny is coming soon and although you don’t have a lot of gifts to buy as you do at Christmastime, there still could be a good deal of preparation, especially if you are hosting Easter dinner and/or out-of-town guests. If it is your first time hosting, it can be incredibly stressful. Enjoying the holiday becomes almost impossible if you are not organized and don’t plan ahead. Procrastinating can cause a lot of stress! This detailed Easter Dinner Planner will help you be prepared and less stressed out!
The Less Stress Easter Dinner Planner Checklist (click on the link to download free printable planner checklist with menu ideas) with sample menu allows you to start planning your Easter Dinner up to four weeks in advance. Reading this Easter Dinner Planner will get you thinking as to what you need to do so you can start planning your menu, making lists, setting up and being ready rather than trying to keep up with a ticking clock, thereby reducing your stress levels in an already busy life.
TIP: Print the Easter Dinner Planner checklist and attach it to your refrigerator until Easter!
The Less Stress Easter Dinner Planner
3-4 weeks before
- If your carpets need cleaning, now is the time to make the appointment.
- Think about how many people you’ll be hosting, if you will have a sit down dinner or buffet, what food your guests will like to eat and make a budget.
- Invite guests, keep track of RSVPs and what guests are bringing with Evite, Facebook Event, or Sign Up Genius which, is especially helpful if you are hosting a large crowd.
- Find out how many kids are coming so you can be prepared with juice, toys, activities, and a kids’ table, and possibly a kids’ menu if applicable.
- Plan your menu around what your guests have offered to bring, if you know yet. Keep in mind how much oven space you have and that it may be helpful if someone brings a side dish made in their own oven.
- Think about a delicious menu that is all encompassing one or two meats, three or four sides (two starches and two non-starch vegetables) brown gravy, appetizers, dinner rolls, dessert variety, beverages, condiments, etc.
- Decide what beverages you’ll serve-both alcoholic , non-alcoholic (include coffee, tea, creamer) and kids’ drinks.
- If you will be hosting out-of-town guests, make a list of what you’ll be serving them for breakfast and lunch on Easter Day and add it to your grocery list.
- Write out a first draft menu including beverages.
- Order your lamb or ham if you wish to have a specific fresh Honey Baked Ham or similar.
- Decide what tableware you’ll use-table cloths, napkins, centerpieces, candles.
- Make a grocery list categorized by grocery section i.e. dairy, produce, meat, bakery, etc.
- Make a list of supplies for other retail stores i.e. Party City, Target, Costco Inc.
2-3 weeks before
- Confirm RSVPs and contact people from which you have not received an RSVP.
- Peruse the recipes you will be making, check your pantry and add the ingredients you need to your grocery list.
- Wash table cloths, your good dishes, serving platters, wine glasses, coolers, if needed.
- Think about table set up and your tablescape. If you need to rent/borrow tables and chairs, do it now.
- If you are having a buffet-style dinner, think about where and how you’ll set up the food. If you are also hosting an Easter Egg Hunt, find out how many kids are participating for each age group. Add candy, plastic eggs, plastic bags for collecting eggs to store lists or delegate this task.
- Finalize menu and store lists.
1 week before
- Any planning items that have not been done prior to now, do it!
- Peruse your recipes and make sure you have all of the ingredients you need.
- Buy non-perishable groceries, candy and plastic eggs for Easter Egg Hunt, and beverages.
- Fill plastic eggs with candy and hide them from your kids and yourself!
Thursday before Easter
- Ensure you have all ingredients (perishable and non-perishable) for your menu, including all beverages.
- Clean your house and set up bedrooms (clean sheets, make room in closets and/or dresser drawers, activities for kids) for out-of-town guests if applicable.
- Clean any coolers, tables, chairs that you’ll be using.
Friday before Easter
- Think about any ingredients you forgot and buy what you still need.
- Make the desserts.
- Clean your powder room, vacuum and dust any rooms where most of your guests will be congregating.
- If there is anything else you can do on Friday that will alleviate the work for you on Saturday or Sunday, do it. Don’t procrastinate.
Saturday before Easter
- If you are planning to brine meat or need to prepare/marinate the main course meat, now is the time.
- Make or prepare appetizers, cover, and store them in a second refrigerator, if you have one.
- Wash and cut up vegetables you’ll be using for side dishes.
- Prepare and cook side dishes if they can be made ahead.
- Move furniture out of high traffic areas
- Set up tables and chairs
- Remove extraneous small appliances and kitchen items from your counter tops to make extra space.
- Ask a family member to decorate and help set the tables.
- If you are holding an Easter Egg Hunt, ask someone to hide the eggs and give bags to kids.
- Have someone buy or bring ice if you need it.
- Chill white wine and/or beer and set up your bar.
- Set the table(s) with table cloths, silverware, napkins, centerpieces, and light candles.
- Bake or cook the main dish and side dishes .
- Make the gravy from the meat pan drippings, if you are making your own gravy.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help setting up, cooking, cleaning up afterward. Your closest family members will not mind helping a gracious host. Smile, take breaks and have a wonderful Easter!
Sample Easter Dinner Menu
Veggie tray, Chips and dips, Cheese and crackers, Bacon & Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Leg of Lamb, Baked Ham, Slow Cooker Italian Pork Prime Rib Roast
Herb Stuffing, Italian Easter Pie
Mashed Potatoes w/gravy, Scalloped Potatoes or Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole, Sweet corn, Glazed Carrots, or Broccoli
Wine, cocktails and/or beer
Sweet Tea, Lemonade, Soft Drinks, Water
Fresh fruit, fruit salad or fruit mold
Easter Sunday is a time to celebrate the holiday and enjoy being with treasured family and friends. If you would rather be socializing instead of stressing about last-minute hosting tasks, then use this The Less Stress Easter Dinner Planner Checklist each week and the days preceding Easter so you can enjoy your family time with less stress!