The year is winding down, the snow is falling, and though all seems peaceful, you’ve been assigned to entertain your entire extended family for the annual holiday dinner. How can you keep your cool when everyone expects something different? Simple. Just stick to the classics and deviate as desired.

A holiday dinner doesn’t have to be as stressful as holiday shopping. Sure you have to plan the timing of each dish and listen to Great Aunt Beth’s stories about her dozen cats, but the actual creating of the dishes can truly be a time for peace. If you want it to be.

The main course of a holiday dinner comes typically down to two items, a turkey or a ham. Alternatively, some choose to offer both or neither. Try this simple Garlic & Parsley Roasted Turkey. Paired with this quick and easy Cranberry Orange Relish, most of the meal is already done! The rest of the dishes will come naturally and may be tailored around your main dish.

Fresh winter fruits and vegetables should be abundant on your table. This means perhaps individualized Twice Baked Potatoes, which put a fancy twist on the traditional mashed potatoes. Reminisce about past holidays as you take your time mashing the potatoes and chopping the green onion. This dish can be made hours ahead so there is no need to rush.

How about slicing up some oranges for the table? Yes, orange slices. The fruity mix of tart and sweet is a great palate cleanser and honestly, do we need many excuses to eat fruit this time of year? This can be done watching your favorite holiday movie the morning of.

Other fresh sides may include these Pesto Roasted Vegetables or this delightfully winter Pear & Gorgonzola Salad. Simple, healthy, and both add that splash of green the table needs so you can avoid your mother’s yearly lecture about not getting enough vegetables.

Don’t forget the rolls! Cheat with store-bough rolls to downgrade the stress and save oven space. Dazzle guests with this restaurant-quality Cinnamon-Honey-Butter which can be whipped up in a few minutes or prepared hours in advance.

But what to drink? Why this Classic Egg Nog of course. Spiced with nutmeg, this delightfully festive drink is just what the holidays require.

By keeping the number of dishes to a minimum, assigning to guests what you can, and making as many dishes in advance, you’ll be spending more time with family and friends, and less time in the kitchen.