Monday, December 03, 2012

Holiday Entertaining

Thanks for stopping by for my first Christmas party in honor of the release of my Christmas book, Christmas at Holly Hill. Today the feature is Holiday Entertaining and menu ideas. Hope you will enjoy the article and the pictures. 

So many times when asked to host a party, luncheon or other social event, we may cringe and immediately worry that our house isn’t large enough or nice enough, or we may worry that we can’t pull it all together and be a gracious hostess.  Whether it is an ice cream or dessert party, a luncheon for class or department at church or home or a fancy dinner for hundreds at church, loving hearts and hands can make the difference.
Holiday entertaining can be the most stressful because of all the other responsibilities associated with Christmas and other holidays. The main problems of a luncheon or open house at Christmas are theme, decorations, and food. Christmas makes it easy to decide on those three elements.

First determine the number you can easily accommodate in the space you have available and make up your guest list. After you have the guest list and the type of party, the menu is selected. Because so many parties are taking place, your guests may be attending more than one open house, brunch, or luncheon. This means simple foods and a simple menu will keep you from spending more time in the kitchen than you do with your guests.

Decorations may be as elaborate or simple as you want to make them. Whatever decorations you use for your own family and holiday decorating will be fine. No need to go to extra trouble to make more elaborate decorations. Here, simple but festive can be as appealing as the other. The Christmas tree, a wreath on the door, a nativity scene or two and a few candles can go a long way to dressing your home for the holiday. One hostess I know always moved out extra furniture from her living room and family room, and stored it in a bedroom. That door was then closed and decorated with a nice sign that indicated the room was for storage. She then used folding chairs to replace the seating now stored away. Dollar type stores carry a plentiful supply of Christmas decorations, ornaments, plates, napkins, and cups or you can use your own Christmas dinnerware. 
Now it is time for you schedule your time to get things done before your guests arrive. Think about everything that needs to be done and make a list. Then prioritize the list by what has to be done first and what can be saved to the end. For example, cleaning the bathrooms should be last so that they are at their freshest for the guests. Also, scheduling things far enough in advance will keep you from last minute rushing to be finished.

Even the most laid back personality will benefit from a schedule. Once you have a schedule made, you will find it much easier to do the things that must be done to be ready for your guests without spending all of your time cleaning house and cooking.

A home doesn’t have to elaborate, expensive, or professionally decorated to be warm and inviting for guests. Let the things you enjoy express the warmth of your heart. Leave family photos on display as well as your favorite accessories. Your friends will be relaxed and in good spirits in a home that expresses the personality of its owners.

Here are a few Holiday Menu Ideas along with pictures of two set tables
                                                            Menu for Holiday Open House
Fresh Fruit Platter/Dip    Banana or Cranberry Bread/Cream Cheese Spread
Vegetable Tray/Ranch Dip or Spinach Dip 
Chicken Salad/Tuna Salad Tea Sandwiches   
Cranberry Holiday Punch 

      Trim the Tree Party
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Tortilla Chips/Salsa
Tossed Vegetable Salad with light dressing
Cheesecake  Iced Tea or Coffee

Christmas Luncheon
Almond Chicken Salad
Cranberry Relish Jell-O Salad
Layered Salad with Lettuce, Peas
Marinated Carrots
Fresh Fruit Tray
Assorted Crackers     Mini-muffins
Coffee        Peach Tea

Tell me about your favorite Christmas menu or foods and be entered in a drawing for a special Christmas gift of goodies. Names will be drawn on December 7. Check back for pictures of what the gifts will contain.
This is part of the gift box for this party. If you want an extra entry, follow me on my blog.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.


Cheri S. said...

My mother-in-law hosts Christmas Eve at her house every year and always has such a great spread. Some of my favorites on the menu are her homemade mac-n-cheese, lunchmeat on Hawaiian rolls, taco dip, a raspberry/strawberry cream cheese jello, and she always ends it with peppermint ice cream slathered in hot fudge. She does a sit down dinner before we open presents.

My mom always has the tradition of homemade sticky rolls and other finger foods. My mom just has the food out and people can eat or not eat as we open gifts.

Both are very different; both hold very special memories for me.

Thank you for this chance to win.

In Him,

Cheri :)

Anonymous said...

Our Christmas menu is pretty much the same as Thanksgiving except the desserts are different. Christmas Cookies, Fruitcake, Chocolate and More Chocolate.
Janet E.

Amy C said...

My favorite menu is:
Mac and Cheese
Green Beans
Mashed Potatoes
Banana Pudding
7 Layer Cookies
campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Jasmine A. said...

My favorite Christmas food item is Noder (a Scandanavian bread-like cookie) that my Great Grandma used to make before she died this fall. Her recipe was passed down from her Grandmother in the 1800's and I now have a copy so the tradition can continue... Of course I also enjoy the traditional dinner at my Grandma's house or at my own home.

Linda Kozar said...


We always favor a honey ham for Christmas along with homemade cheesy scalloped potatoes, green beans almondine and a three layer Christmas Jello for dessert. The bottom layer is lime with pineapple pieces, the middle is a mixture of cream cheese, whipped cream and mini-marshmallows, and the top is strawberry or cherry jello spooned on when almost set. It's a family favorite!

Anonymous said...

We do Christmas breakfast with cinnamon rolls, eggs, biscuits, fruit and a yummy orange drink my daughter makes. But my favorite food is cookies, either rosettes like my Scandinavian grandparents used to make or mint meringue cookies.

Sharon said...

We have such a big family, generally about 40 in attendance, we can't even have Christmas at anyone's house, we reserve the church fellowship hall. We've gone to a deli style Christmas menu. Sandwiches, soup/chili and salads. We do make all the traditional desserts though. Dessert should never be compromised!!

Judy said...

My favorite Christmas menu is:

Ham (Spiral)(Honey glazed)
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Dinner Rolls
Olive and relish tray
Veggie tray and dip
Whole Cranberry Sauce
Apple Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream
Cherry Pie with vanilla Ice Cream
Black Forest Cake

I just made myself hungry!


Unknown said...

Here's my Christmas menu:

Old fashion dressing
Potato salad
Green bean casserole
Mac & cheese
Stuffed eggs
Corn on the cob
Cranberry sauce

I gues you can see we eat on leftovers for three days after Christmas :)

Merry Christmas, Sweet Martha!


Martha W. Rogers said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone. All this good food is making me hungry. Ham is our meat of choice for Christmas. Side dishes depend on who is going to be there because I make sure I make at least one favorite thing for each son.

Megan Parsons said...

My favorite Christmas Dinner would be Cashew Chicken! It's my favorite meal ever and once growing up we made it for Xmas dinner and it was fun! makeighleekyleigh at

Unknown said...

Our family has a tradition of a hearty personal recipe of cheesy-potato soup,served with an assortment of sausages, grated cheese and croutons, etc; a salad made of greens, strawberries, mandarins, pineapple chunks, banana slices and walnuts with a rasberry or strawberry vinnegraite dressing; along with hot buttered, cheesy french bread. Dessert is always something light and fluffy - actually named Lemon Fluff - family recipe - and cookies. This is served after attending the earlier Christmas Eve service at our church. After supper is our major gift exchange. Christmas Day is something else altogether, but a much quieter and relaxed day to think on the true meaning of Christmas. We have cut down on extravagant gift giving, since it is not our birthday - but the birthday of our savior, and we trust on the talents and ideas given us to make and give our gifts. I won't even go into the Christmas Day menu....but it is delicious. LOL

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Unknown said...

We do a Christmas Tea but the children serve the tea and the meal to all of us parents. They have worked very hard to make the project that grandma has them making for the moms... They serve different things each year. This time it will be Ham and Scalloped Potato's, pineapple cake dinner rolls. It is just so much fun to see our children all dressed up in there finest.. And we moms in our christmas dress or christmas sweaters.

Joy said...

Our Christmas menu changes somewhat each year because we all bring a few dishes. But we have out regulars like ham, turkey and all of the fixings, coconut cake, jello salads. We lost our mom in 2010 so we miss her green beans, special recipe mac and cheese, mac salad, and her yummy dressing.

This is a wonderful giveaway Maratha. And I had the honor of reading Christmas at Holly Hill and it is wonderful! I love it! I am keeping it to read
again next christmas!

Merry Christmas!
Joy Hannabass