Christmas morning is an exciting time for anyone who celebrates the holiday. Kids wake up at the crack of dawn to see if Santa has arrived and many adults still feel a tingle of excitement when they see the tree surrounded by gifts in the morning. Once everyone has opened their presents and settled down, why not enjoy a delicious brunch?
I like to make a nice meal on Christmas morning. However, I don’t like to fuss too much because who wants to be slaving in the kitchen when everyone else is having fun? (plus, I have a turkey dinner to cook later in the day!). The key is to do as much as possible the night before so Christmas can be enjoyed with your family.
Here are a few ideas for a relatively simple brunch. I have included some helpful tips for prepping in advance to make things easier.
Spiced Cranberry-Apple Cider – On Christmas morning, I like to get up before everyone and put on a pot of mulled cider so when everyone wakes up, the house smells wonderful and there is something warm to drink while we’re opening gifts. Prepare the spice packet the night before. To make cranberry-apple cider, mix equal parts non-alcoholic apple cider and unsweetened cranberry juice in a saucepan and add the spice packet. Let simmer for 10 minutes and serve. Garnish mugs with cinnamon sticks if desired.
Crustless Quiche – Leaving out the crust makes things much simpler. Of course, asparagus isn’t in season during Christmas but you can substitute chopped spinach, sautéed leeks, diced red peppers or sautéed mushrooms. Bake the pie the night before and serve at room temperature or briefly warmed in the oven.
Spicy Breakfast Potatoes – The potatoes can be peeled and cubed the night before. Place the cubes in a bowl, add enough cold water to just cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Drain well and pat dry before cooking. The spices can be pre-mixed in a small bowl so they’re ready to go in the morning. You can let the potatoes cook while you’re preparing other dishes.
Cheddar-Herb Biscuits – The biscuits can be rolled, cut and placed in the baking dish the night before. Refrigerate overnight and let them come to room temperature before baking.
Ham with Spicy Maple-Dijon Glaze – I buy a ham that has been pre-cooked, which makes things much simpler. It can be sliced and served cold or heated briefly in the oven while other things are baking. Prepare the mustard glaze the night before and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Baked French Toast – This entire dish can be assembled the night before and baked in the morning.
Morning Glory (Orange and Pomegranate Mimosas) – In a pitcher, add orange and pomegranate juices the night before and refrigerate. Add the sparkling wine just before serving (the wine can be added to the pitcher or to individual glasses.) Use club soda for guests who don’t drink.
Pancakes – Mix all of the dry ingredients the night before in a large bowl. Measure out the wet ingredients (except the egg) into small bowls and refrigerate. In the morning, combine everything and cook the pancakes. Serve with pre-made fruit syrup or maple syrup.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins – Like pancakes, the dry ingredients can all be measured and added to a large bowl the night before. Measure the wet ingredients into small bowls and refrigerate. In the morning, you can mix and bake everything quickly.
Banana-Rum Bread – Banana bread and other sweet breads can be made in advance and frozen. Remove from the freezer the night before to defrost in time for brunch.
Yogurt, cereal, bagels with cream cheese, smoked salmon, granola and fruit don’t require much prep work!
Coffee and Tea – Set up the coffee maker/espresso machine/french press with coffee and water the night before. Fill a kettle with water for tea.
A Final Tip: You will be very happy in the morning if you take the time to set the table before you go to bed (and tell Santa not to mess it up with crumbs while he’s enjoying his milk and cookies on Christmas Eve!)
Bon Appétit and Happy Holidays!