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My first Christmas party at home- lots of family comming! Any advice on planning ???

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone! I need some help! This year my family is comming to our house for Christmas day. We plan to have lots of food, a gift exchange for the children and one for the adults as well as a Dirty Santa for the adults. (we all drew numbers at Thanksgiving and picked our SS- too many people to buy for indivudally, so that way everyone gets a pressie -so that part is taken care of).

I've never had a party at mine and Colin's house. Aside from having a few guests over on occassion- we've never really entertained. I am sooo excited that everyone is comming here for the holidays! I adore celebrating Christmas with my loved ones -so i am really wanting to make this Christmas as comfortable and fun for everyone as possible. I need tons of ideas/ suggestions for planning/etc for those of you who have entertained a big group before!

Colin and I are expecting between 20-30 people (still waiting to hear back from a few of our out of town family members to see if they're comming). Our house isn't huge- but should be big enough for everyone i'm hoping. I'm trying to plan pretty far ahead of time so that it turns out well / i can budget for food/etc.

The way we normally do holidays is everyone brings something food wise with them and we all have a big pot -luck type dinner. The host fixes the main dish- and everyone else brings veggies, dessert, etc. I'm making a huge ham (hopefully i won't ruin it this year) and my brother- in - law is frying a turkey (as my back up plan).

My bil manages one of the local gyms, so he is able to borrow tables/etc -so we're going to use two large rectangle type tables to put in the kitchen with tablecloths to set up a "buffet". I'm asking everyone to bring chairs with them if they can- since i know i will need extra seating.

I have already gone to Target & the dollar store and bought several inexpensive platters/serving dishes for the food- so that should help with set up. I'm trying to use paper plates/ napkins so that we don't have as many dishes to wash. (that and well, we don't have enough regular dishes for everyone)

Anything else i should do???? I have never had a crowd this big here -so i'm wanting to make sure we keep it as easy/stress- free as possible!! I need ideas!
post #2 of 23
Keep Kojak from getting into everything or stealing something from the guests?

Make sure you have things to drink....milk, pop, water, juice, etc.
It's easiest if you set up the "food buffet" in one room & everyone eats in another. Less crowded.
Setting the food up buffet style always works well for us as we need more than one table to fit everyone.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Keep Kojak from getting into everything or stealing something from the guests?

Make sure you have things to drink....milk, pop, water, juice, etc.
It's easiest if you set up the "food buffet" in one room & everyone eats in another. Less crowded.
Setting the food up buffet style always works well for us as we need more than one table to fit everyone.
Thanks Natalie! Those are some good ideas! So far what i'm planning to do is have the children eat in the kitchen (because the table in there will be easier for them to reach.) (our table only seats 4 - and we can pull up a high chair to it perfectly- so it should be just right for the kiddos!)

The adults i will let them sit wherever we can fit them since i don't have a dining room (it's colin's office) or a table big enough. I have a couch, a love set, i will put comfy cushions on the fire place for extra seating, i have a few extra chairs i wil put throughout the living room, and i have tv trays- so hopefully that will work ok. (that's what we normally do at family get togethers because none of us have dining room tables big enough for everyone.


This is my best attempt at "mapping" out my home it might help explaine the space a bit better! The rooms are a bit more narrow than i managed to capture in the "drawing" lol.
post #4 of 23
If you scatter chairs strategically so they aren't blocking anyones way, should work out purr-fect!
post #5 of 23
I have one very important piece of advice for you

Your friends and family are coming to see you and everyone else, not to see how much trouble you have gone to to cook, clean and decorate.

I live by the rule "keep it simple stupid"

Don't stress yourself out. It's Christmas and it's supposed to be fun and enjoyable, not something to stress out about.
post #6 of 23
Carpet cleaner for spills.(expect them)
Make sure the guests know if you are saving the plastic utensils or trashing them. We end up with half in our sink and half in the trash. LoL
Label bags/boxes for recycling.
Keep confetti away from any sternos. (Mom set the whole plastic table on fire b/c they were too close to the heat.)
If your table is near the wall, make sure anyone can fit in the seat against the wall or that the table doesn't scratch it.
Don't forget to shower and dress well before the guest arrive.(Mom is usually just out of the shower when the first few guests arrive. LoL)

Last but not least have fun!
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
If you scatter chairs strategically so they aren't blocking anyones way, should work out purr-fect!
Thanks nat! I was thinking of putting some on eithor side of the tv. Right now between the Christmas tree and the television is Whiskey's doggie couch- i will move that out the day of Christmas and put a row of chairs there- i thinki can fit at least 4 there. Then on the other side of the tv near the hall way enterance, i'll have room for one more. Right beside the secretary's desk (it's against the wall and "across" from the tv if that makes sense- i will put one chair on eithor side of it. That's about all the room for seating i will have though. I will add some cushions to the fireplace -so some people can sit there and be comfy. Other than that, i dunno if we have room for any more seating. The couch should seat a few people comfortably as well as the love seat, i hope it will be enough
post #8 of 23
Just make sure Whiskey knows that his doggie couch is gone & the guests aren't doggie couches! (Can you tell at holiday get togethers my monkeys always do something naughty? )
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
I have one very important piece of advice for you

Your friends and family are coming to see you and everyone else, not to see how much trouble you have gone to to cook, clean and decorate.

I live by the rule "keep it simple stupid"

Don't stress yourself out. It's Christmas and it's supposed to be fun and enjoyable, not something to stress out about.
Thanks for the reminder Linda! I'm trying to plan everything as far ahead of time as i can so i won't be stressing right before hand! I'm really just excited to have everyone over- i LOVE Christmas time with my family- so it's really special this year for me since this is the first one i'm hosting

I'm going to try and get some things prepared ahead of time (cookie dough, some cassaroles, etc) so i can freeze it and then all i have to do is pop it in the oven- that should help time wise i'm thinking. It also shouldn't be too hard cleaning wise since we're trying to stick to disposable plates/etc. I'm also asking everyone to bring a few tupperware containers with them (i will have extras just in case!) and aluminum foil so that we have plenty of things to put left overs in hopefully! (that was my sister monica's biggest tip)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyforinfo View Post
Carpet cleaner for spills.(expect them)
Make sure the guests know if you are saving the plastic utensils or trashing them. We end up with half in our sink and half in the trash. LoL
Label bags/boxes for recycling.
Keep confetti away from any sternos. (Mom set the whole plastic table on fire b/c they were too close to the heat.)
If your table is near the wall, make sure anyone can fit in the seat against the wall or that the table doesn't scratch it.
Don't forget to shower and dress well before the guest arrive.(Mom is usually just out of the shower when the first few guests arrive. LoL)

Last but not least have fun!
Great ideas!! Thankyou!

I have the carpet cleaner ready to go- so that's not a biggie in case we have some spills (i'm already planning on it with that many kiddos), We are labeling the trash cans (we have two- one for trash and one for plastics/etc...so that way everyone knows where to put things.) I'm planning to put a few ashtrays outside on the porch for the smoking guests (we don't smoke).

I love the shower reminder! On Thanksgiving my mom got to my house almost an hour early and i was still in the shower I will definitely take care of the showering early that morning!
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Just make sure Whiskey knows that his doggie couch is gone & the guests aren't doggie couches! (Can you tell at holiday get togethers my monkeys always do something naughty? )
Oh i'm thinking it may be best on Whiskey's nerves (we'll see the day of- he may be fine) to put him in the bedroom while the guests are over- he's soo skiddish, having that many people over may frighten him. But me may suprise me and be fine- so we'll see! If they can be good- i'm going to put some doggie Christmas hats/antlers on them and let them run around
I was thinking Fosters could be "santa paws" and Whiskey could be his little elf
post #11 of 23
I don't know what your temps will be at that time but if if cool enough keep food items in the garage or outside if possible.
Have some big coolers filled with ice one for soda, one for beer, etc.....
Don't have too many people help in the kitchen-it can get confusing!!
Also have plenty of hot mitts/trivets etc for hot food. The use of crockpots are good just plan for enough outlets!!
When I have Neil's family over there is always a table for the people who want to play cards, some if there is a football game on-watch tv or sometimes a move.
Have plenty of toilet paper too.
Try to put down items you would like people to bring so you don't have overload on one item.
If having cheese/sausage platters cut them a day early and have extra cut in case you run out.
If using plastic throw away cup I use a magic marker to write the names on them otherwise you can go through lots!!
Are you going to serve hot beverages such as coffee, hot cocoa??? Make sure you have foam cups and needed supplies.
Rather than burning candles you can simmer some cinnamon on stove before guests arrive.
Have place for coats and shoes.
Have lots of spare chairs!!
What age ranges are you having-have something for the kids to do!! And a spot in case there are babies/young toddlers that are taking naps.
What about parking???

I'll probably think of more stuff later
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GailC View Post
I don't know what your temps will be at that time but if if cool enough keep food items in the garage or outside if possible.
Have some big coolers filled with ice one for soda, one for beer, etc.....
Don't have too many people help in the kitchen-it can get confusing!!
Also have plenty of hot mitts/trivets etc for hot food. The use of crockpots are good just plan for enough outlets!!
When I have Neil's family over there is always a table for the people who want to play cards, some if there is a football game on-watch tv or sometimes a move.
Have plenty of toilet paper too.
Try to put down items you would like people to bring so you don't have overload on one item.
If having cheese/sausage platters cut them a day early and have extra cut in case you run out.
If using plastic throw away cup I use a magic marker to write the names on them otherwise you can go through lots!!
Are you going to serve hot beverages such as coffee, hot cocoa??? Make sure you have foam cups and needed supplies.
Rather than burning candles you can simmer some cinnamon on stove before guests arrive.
Have place for coats and shoes.
Have lots of spare chairs!!
What age ranges are you having-have something for the kids to do!! And a spot in case there are babies/young toddlers that are taking naps.
What about parking???

I'll probably think of more stuff later
Thanks Gail! Some of those suggestions are really helpfull! I like the sharpie suggestion for the cups!

I've got a few candle warmers- so i'm going to use those throughout the house to help make is smell yummy. I'm also planning to simmer some citrus peels with cinnamon sticks/cloves on the stove (my sister kimmy did it last year and her house smelled sooo lovely!). I'm thinking of have two of the buffet table for the food and the desk in the living room (it's long/rectangular) with a cloth on it for the drinks

Parking should be ok- our house is the end lot- and there is literally an elementary school in our back yard- so they can park all along side our lot/ in our driveway. (Most of my family "carpools" together on holidays for the ones that live close to each other to save gas $)

In the living room by the front door- we have a little coat closet- so everyone can put their coats in there as well as their purses. I have the guest bedroom set up- so if any of the little ones need a nap - they'll be be to take one or their mommy can change diapers/etc in there.
post #13 of 23
You have to be creative with the names/descriptions on the cups.
For my godson HS graduation mine read "Max's fav aunt",Neil is "sassy uncle Neil" (he likes to tease is 4 yr old great niece).
post #14 of 23
If they are hanging out at your house, they are going to want food while at your house. My advice: don't be afraid to order take-out and delivery, including platters. Do this often. Hopefully, others will pitch in to cover costs. Also, it's easy to feed a crowd if you BBQ. Have fun!
post #15 of 23
nikki the best advice i can give you is

hold it at someone elses house.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
nikki the best advice i can give you is

hold it at someone elses house.
This is good advice! (I've been trying to get her to elope, too, but she won't do it. )
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
If they are hanging out at your house, they are going to want food while at your house. My advice: don't be afraid to order take-out and delivery, including platters. Do this often. Hopefully, others will pitch in to cover costs. Also, it's easy to feed a crowd if you BBQ. Have fun!
I'm planning to get a cheese tray and maybe something else from Costco to help with the appetizers Everthing else though we're making at home- a few of my family members have food allergies- so it's better to cook some things ourselves and label it so that everyone has something they can eat That and i LOVE to cook- so that part i'm excited about!!! My sister Kimmy and my nieces/nephews are going to come over a few days ahead of time and we're going to have a "cooking party" to prepare!

Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
nikki the best advice i can give you is

hold it at someone elses house.
Awww no! That's half the fun this year- it's my first time having everyone at my house!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
This is good advice! (I've been trying to get her to elope, too, but she won't do it. )
Yes, yes you have No eloping here I'm getting married in March
post #18 of 23
20-30 people!?

I would be and pretend I am not home

No advice for you Nikki, but GOOD LUCK!!
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trouts mom View Post
20-30 people!?

I would be and pretend I am not home

No advice for you Nikki, but GOOD LUCK!!
That's only a fraction of my family too They're not ALL comming (thank goodness- i'd have NO room!) I'm kind of excited though- Christmas is always such a fun/exciting time for our family- we get together every year and have a big feast/do a gift exchange- we all have a blast! I'm kind of excited- this is my first year hosting Christmas and the first time a lot of them will see our home- so i'm excited, but a bit nervous
post #20 of 23
Have you thought about entertainment? I found a wonderful site for Christmas party games!! http://www.santalady.com/xmasgames.html
Some of these look like they will be SOO much fun!! try the 12 days of Christmas one since you have a large group. Also look at Hum that Carol. I am going to use some of these at my Christmas gathering! I can't wait!! they also have some coloring pages on there too for the little ones!! Have fun!! also playing some soft Christmas music is always nice!

Let us know how it goes!!
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedTiGeR View Post
Anything else i should do???? I have never had a crowd this big here -so i'm wanting to make sure we keep it as easy/stress- free as possible!! I need ideas!

You really want my advice? Take a holiday and run for the hills!!!
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
hold it at someone elses house.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampWitch View Post
This is good advice! (I've been trying to get her to elope, too, but she won't do it. )
yea, i have told her the same thing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trouts mom View Post
20-30 people!?

pretend I am not home
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoriana View Post
You really want my advice? Take a holiday and run for the hills!!!

See there you go, 4 people with good advice,
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by badninjakitties View Post
Have you thought about entertainment? I found a wonderful site for Christmas party games!! http://www.santalady.com/xmasgames.html
Some of these look like they will be SOO much fun!! try the 12 days of Christmas one since you have a large group. Also look at Hum that Carol. I am going to use some of these at my Christmas gathering! I can't wait!! they also have some coloring pages on there too for the little ones!! Have fun!! also playing some soft Christmas music is always nice!

Let us know how it goes!!
That a good site!! Thanks for the link!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoriana View Post
You really want my advice? Take a holiday and run for the hills!!!
You crack me up! Aww but no really- i'm looking foward to having everyone over- it will be fun! I love family get togethers- so i'm thrilled it's my first time to host!

Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
yea, i have told her the same thing


See there you go, 4 people with good advice,
Bruce, Bruce Bruce
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