Party Preparations

Planning the Perfect Party!

Christmas entertaining can be both wonderfully enjoyable and highly stressful. I always worry about what menu to serve and how much food to purchase. One thing to keep in mind is that different menus will have different amount requirements. For example if you are serving prime rib, potatoes, and salad you should plan for about 8oz of meat, one good sized potato, and a large helping of salad per person. These amounts can be less if you have a large option of Hors D’oeuvres and a dessert. I have found, however, that serving a menu with a larger variety of salads and side dishes can enable you to serve a less substantial main dish.
 
For my recent Christmas party of 50 I decided on a menu of 3 appetizers, 2 side dishes, a variety of gourmet sandwiches, and a dessert of cookies and cakes. Using my Holiday Party Planner made the preparations easy to delegate and double check.
 
For the sandwiches I used an assortment of ciabatta bread, croissant rolls, and hoagie buns. I paired turkey with provolone and a cream cheese with cranberries sauce. Ham was joined with cheddar cheese and traditional mayonnaise with mustard sauce. Roast beef became united with pepper jack and a tangy chipotle ranch dressing. I purchased 3 lbs of each meat, 1 ½ lbs of each cheese, 2 heads of lettuce, 2 large red onions, 8 tomatoes, and 72 assorted rolls. We ended up with far too much food. Next time I will buy less; 2 lbs of meat, 1 lb of cheese, 3 heads of lettuce, 3 large onions, 15 tomatoes, and 45 rolls (I cut the sandwiches in half so guests can choose a variety).
 
The party turned out great! The company seemed to enjoy the food and the good company. Christmas parties are really only successful when the guest list includes happy, pleasant people who are capable of enjoying a peaceful evening out. Rule number one when party planning, don’t let the preparations ruin the reason for the party. Most guests are forgiving and almost all will forget the bad and focus on the good!
 
Happy party planning and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
 
Remember: one of the most important things you can do when throwing a party is to keep a record of what you served, how many guests attended, and how much food you purchased. This way 90% of the stress will be gone the NEXT time you are planning a get together!
 
Click here for an excel version of my Party Planner.
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