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

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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.

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  1. I recently found and joined your site. When I open this post up and read not only how many people you have for Christmas, but the food, omg, mind blowing. You should go into the catering or restaurant business after this pandemic. Like one of your other followers stated, she has 20-30 people attending her event, how hard that is. I too felt the same way when I had thanksgiving family dinners. Thinking I had lot of people in attendance. Drained by the day of, because all the cooking and cleaning. Your dinner makes my’s look live a joke, not to mention your menu. Thanks for sharing

  2. This is fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing. Now I can add more friends to my party too!

  3. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing. Wondering where or how you go about finding staff to cook for you?

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