We are having 50 people over for Christmas including snacks and a meal. Each family takes turns hosting, we have had sloppy joe's one year and the next we had lasagna which both worked out great but I want to make something unique that can be kept warm or served cold as there are so many people we all kind of eat when we feel like it. It definitely won't be a sit down meal. Any ideas for the menu and decorating would be much appreciated.
Jenn from Wisconsin
My family does the same thing. Last year I ordered a sandwich tray from the deli, then added chips, dip and pasta salad. It worked well for everyone.
How about trying sliced ham or baked ham. It is good hot or cold. Calico Beans or just plain baked beans are good hot or cold. Serve rolls so they can make sandwiches or not if they like. Then you could always have mac salad and potato salad to go along with these items. All are good together. Merry Christmas
We do tacos. You can put the meat in the crock-pot and eat whenever they choose. We all bring the "fixings" and desserts of our choosing. One year we just did the "bring what you want" and had a variety of some very interesting food! We have also done pizza which works out well. People like that hot or cold. Meatballs in the crock pot works well also and serve breads and potato salad or whatever side is your favorite. We have done just about everything. We had done bbq chicken, but that was when the family was much smaller. We always have so much food after everyone brings their "favorites" and "specialities" that we could just feast on those types of things! Another 4 months and we will be planning this years Christmas party!
We usually make up salads, and subs with different fillings of meats, veggies cheeses etc. Everyone gets what they like and enjoys it. Hope this helps. Enjoy.
How about borrowing a couple slow-cookers, and having some stews and chowders? Then add in other family favorites buffet style.
You also asked for decorating ideas. How about involving some of the children in helping you? They can go outside and find small branches which they can use a can of spray snow to make seasonal ( this can be done in the garage or carport w/ adult supervision) and then they can go on a scavenger hunt for nuts, berries , acorns, or pinecones that they can glue onto their branches. Add to that a festive colored bow that they tied themselves and you not only have created a decoration but a wonderful memory as well. It will also help keep them happily occupied for some time and the older ones get to feel grown-up when they help the younger children.
How about pulled pork? If you have it hot it can be a main course and serve with spuds or tater tots and coleslaw. When it is no longer hot, serve it on rolls with the coleslaw on the sandwich. We did this for an occasion and have been asked to do it over and over since that time. People just love it!
You could consider a potato bar. Foil wrapped baked potatoes can be baked in the oven or in a roaster, and for the toppings, you can include chili and/or barbeque, grated cheeses, onion, olives, bacon bits, mushrooms, sour cream, butter, and anything else that strikes your fancy. (And leftover potatoes will make great home fries during the holidays.)
Another possibility is a fajita bar. Precooked strips of seasoned beef and/or chicken, cooked onion and peppers, raw onion, pico de gallo, guacamole, grated cheeses, maybe some shredded lettuce, refried beans, and soft (flour) tortillas. (I would also put out peanut butter and jelly for the little ones. A pb "roll up" is a fun "sandwich", too.) On the side, you could have tortilla chips and appropriate dips.
In my husbands' family, we have a big "pizza party". After all, it is not about the food so much as the holiday and the family. It is nice that no one has to fuss overmuch, and all can enjoy.
Along the lines of borrowing the crock pots, I like to do chili at my Fall Bunko parties. Can cook all day and still be good! Then have cornbread, oyster crackers, Fritos, etc.
My family has done a potato and soup/chili bar and that worked well.
Also consider dips and chips along with crudites. Hummus is easy to make and healthy, marshmallow fluff and cream cheese blended are great for fresh fruits, and tomato or corn salsa could be used either for tortilla chips or the potatoes.
Veggie or fruit pizzas are delicious and easy to make (or buy at the deli!). Chicken satay can be made ahead of time and kept warm, and you could serve a crock of Tom Ga Kai (Thai chicken and coconut milk soup) alongside some pre-cooked rice.
For decorations, it might be fun to dig up some pictures from family gatherings past and use them as mementos or place some of the best ones in inexpensive holiday frames. Thrift stores or dollar stores are great places to buy these.
Red and white carnations arranged on the table are fragrant and durable. Gather items of like colors - both Christmas themed and not - and arrange similar things in groups, accenting with the non-holiday items that pull colors from them. For example, create groupings of snowmen or Santas or snowflakes.
Hey how about making a homemade chicken corn soup when my mother-in-law was alive she lived near the King Frost Parade in Hamburg and the family would all get together that is when we met the nieces and everybody else some body would bring stuff to eat and it was great. I always loves my husband's niece's homemake chicken corn soup and my sister in law would bring barbecue and the rolls and I make a homemade desert the one year I made a pumpkin cheese cake.
If anybody wants the recipes ask whats her name can't think and she will e-mail me and I will e-mail them to her. I loved her soup it was great. Also how about chicken corn pie. Hubby's family loves the corn pie but always put chicken in it like a whole meal.
As for decorations family photos like some body said and go to dollar store and just pick up a few things and if you have a big glass bowl or basket had pine cones and bulbs and if you want to you can spray the pine cones silver and gold and add green things and tie a red bowl and it will be cool or how about a glass bowl with water and floating candles that are lit cool too. Just a thought. Also remember somebody always brought the deer ring bologna that was great.
My Christmas open house always has the same menu:
Shrimp/ cocktail sauce
Oyster Stew/oyster crackers
Cheese Platter/French bread toasted
Creme de menthe anglique which is a cake with marshmallow whipped cream creme de menthe frosting drizz;ed with dark chocolate
This has always worked for crowds large or small
Good luck. If you need recipes, you can contact me at teddybear_maxwell AT hotmail.com
Thank you for all the great ideas. Crock pots are an awesome idea so i have time to get all the munchies ready. I appreciate everyones thoughts, ideas and input
My family has done several different things over the years from barbcue to pizza to deli trays and sandwiches. But, my favorite is snack foods as a meal. We do all kinds of snacks such as cheese sticks, meatballs, hot and cold dips, cakes and pies, mini sausages, sausage balls, ham spreads, cheese balls and crackers, and quiche. Last Thanksgiving, I actually made a cornicopia out of bread sticks and stuffed it with veggie sticks and dip. People also tore off pieces of the bread and dipped it into the dip too. Not really a Christmas item, but get creative. Do some internet searches and you will find some really cool recipes.
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