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How to Plan a Christmas Party (and Cook for 200 Guests)

Holiday Housewalk TourOur Christmas party is in five days. And yes, I do cook all of the food. Our party is a big event, and it has grown in every aspect over the last thirty years. We invite all of our friends and family (and their children if they are friends with our children) and I cook all of the food. For about 200 people. And no, I am not a caterer. I just know how to plan a party. Today I can’t wait to share my biggest tip with you.

It’s the “cooking all of the food” part of our party that is the most amount of work. Over the years I have created a very good menu of heavy hors-d’oeuvres and desserts.  In fact, the food is really good. I don’t change the menu much because anytime I delete something I hear about it from one of our guests!

Here is the menu for our Holiday Party this year:

H O R S  – D’ O E U V R E S

  • Spicy Grilled shrimp
  • Beef Tenderloin with rolls
  • Smoked Turkey with cranberry/orange muffins
  • Smoked Paprika Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce
  • Chicken lettuce wraps
  • BLT tomatoes
  • Skewered chicken with peanut sauce
  • Skewered flank steak with peanut sauce
  • Crab cakes with lemon dill sauce
  • BBQ Chicken Sliders
  • Ham and Swiss Sliders
  • Phyllo with spinach dip
  • Whipped sweet potatoes in crusts with pecan topping
  • Brie cups with pomegranates
  • Seared Ahi Tuna in Sesame Wonton cups with Maple Soy Sauce
  • Pesto stuffed mushrooms

D E S S E R T S 

  • Double Mint Chocolate cookies
  • Peanut butter fudge
  • Frosted sugar cookies
  • Coconut joy candy bars
  • Christmas Crack

If you want a copy of all of these recipes, just sign up to follow my blog. I will be sending the recipes out on Wednesday to all of my blog followers. (If you follow my blog after December 19th I will send the link when you subscribe!)

How to plan a party

The only reason I can make all of this food is because I have an excel spreadsheet that I created that is color-coded and lists everything I need to cook, by each day. It takes a huge task and makes it manageable. And that is because it breaks out my cooking tasks for the 21 menu items I am cooking on a per day basis. And I know if I get everything done every day then come party time it will all be done.

Each menu item is listed and the items that need to be completed for each item are broken down to the right. The boxes are color coded by due date, which are listed at the bottom of page two. So the task in the yellow boxes are to be completed the week prior to the party. The dark orange colored boxes have to be completed the weekend before.

As you can imagine, Thursday and Friday (light orange and aqua) are the killer days. So many things can’t be made that far in advance so I have a lot to do on those days. Those are also the days my girlfriends come over to help! I honestly couldn’t do it without them.

I do need to mention that I have a staff of people that come on Saturday afternoon. They cook everything I have made, serve it during the party and clean up. This is the only way I can enjoy our party. I started this about ten years ago and it’s the best thing ever!

This year I am sharing all of my party recipes. Every single one. The only catch is you need to follow my blog if you want a copy. All you have to do is click here, enter your email address, and it’s done. I will email everyone on the list this Wednesday all of my recipes. It’s that simple. And, if you follow my blog after December 19th, you will get the link when you sign up. I promise.

You can follow my cooking progress on my Instagram stories. I hope you will join me.

That’s it for my tips today. Sorry, but I have got to go cook. Haha.

about leslie


Welcome to My 100 Year Old Home. I started my blog so I could share my passion for entertaining, décor, cooking, and crafts. You will find all this and more right here. Read more…

52 Responses

  1. Hi Leslie!
    I have recently started following you and love your charisma and ideas! I live in Oxnard and I think it’s so cool you have a beach house in Ventura. Thanks for sharingthe recipes! Already saved them.

  2. All I have to say is…..you win, hands down. I stress out over 20-30 people I was just reading all of your menu to my husband and he was like, “I want to go”🤣. It all sounds fabulous and I’m definitely going to try a few recipes.

  3. I subscribe to your blog and I did not get the email with the recipes. I would love to have them. Thank you. Thank goodness I pinned this post.

  4. Hi…I signed up for your blog and haven’t received your recipes. I would love to have them. Can you check on this for me. You home is amazing and you are a “super woman” to cook for that many people. Merry Christmas

  5. Just subscribed! I have been following you on ig for awhile and love your home and all of your wonderful ideas!! Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge!!

  6. I just subscribed to your blog and am looking forward to getting all of your recipes! I am hosting a party next weekend and plan to make a few! Thank you!!

  7. I didn’t receive the recipes for the Christmas party for 200. How may I access them? They all sound wonderful!

  8. Good morning. I’ve just subscribed to your blog. Is there a way for me to access your 2018 recipes? I’m planning an open house to celebrate my mom’s 90th birthday and I thought it could come in really handy!!!! Thank you for all the inspiration ‘n

  9. I have been following your blog for awhile. Love all things that you do!!! Did all your followers get the email for the recipes? I would love to have, what do I do?

  10. Please, please invite us for an evening at Leslie’s. Maybe that will be a future gathering idea? I also entertain, but I prefer smaller, intimate gatherings.

    I’m feeling the passion. Have you always been like this? Are you the one in the family that is the go to person?

  11. I just became a new subscriber to your blog! It is wonderful. Can I access the recipes for your 2018 Christmas Party menu for 200? I did receive the password for recipes via email but I can’t seem to locate the 2018 holiday menu (hors-d’oeuvres). Thank you.

  12. I am also a new follower of your blog and was captivated by your story of how you entertain hundreds! I don’t entertain on nearly that score, but love to cook ahead for crowds. I’d love to have the recipes if possible! Thank-you

  13. Leslie, I live following you on social media!! I just started following your blog. You are amazing Leslie!! Thanks for sharing!!

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I'm Leslie,
Welcome to My 100 Year Old Home

I started my blog so I could share my passion for entertaining, décor, cooking, and crafts. You will find all this and more right here.

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