Hosting friends and family for a holiday meal can be a lot of fun, but it can also be overwhelming. I grew up attending family holiday functions that would have as many as 40 adults and children attending. We have learned some tricks over the years to make it an enjoyable time for the host as well as those attending.
Plan ahead: This is a no brainer. Any big meal requires some planning ahead with the menu and shopping. If a large crowd is expected, a menu that that allows some food to be prepared a day ahead can relieve some pressure and tasks on the day of the meal. Arrange your meal preparation so that you have plenty of time to get everything in the oven or cooked. If you need your oven free to bake other items, make sure to make a schedule and be prepared to keep things warm.
Prep and cook ahead: All casseroles, and some meats can be cooked ahead of time. Most vegetables and fruits can be washed and cut to be ready to cook.
Ask for help: Growing up my grandmothers and aunts would often provide the main meat when hosting holiday events and everyone would chip in with their favorite dish or two. The result? There was a ton of food and the host did not have to do it all.
Consider having some food catered: This may be a normal occurrence for some, but we did not have the funds growing up to have most meals catered resulting holiday events with mostly home cooked food. In recent years, we have branched out and ordered the turkey or ham from The Honey Baked Ham store or a barbecue joint. The result is a guaranteed delicious meat, and it is one less thing to cook.
Consider something easy: If you desire to host family and friends more often but do not have the energy to do a fancy formal dinner, host a causal meal. Be upfront with the meal plans and set expectations. If you plan for it to be a causal dinner, let guests know ahead of time. I find as a host, the simpler I keep a meal, the more fun everyone has.
Writer Bio: Summer Bolte
I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.