Sunday Morning Coffee and Christmas Party Preparation


Our Christmas party is in thirteen days and as you know, I cook all of the food. Of course, I am freaking out. But I have a way to get it all done!

Our Christmas party is a big event, and it has grown in every aspect over the last thirty-seven years. We invite all of our friends and family (and their 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 that gets me through the prep for this party every year. And, thanks for joining me for Sunday Morning Coffee. This is a place to share, learn, dream, and have fun.

A white coffee cup that reads Sunday Morning Coffee
Season 3 Volume 47
Peeking trhough the french doors in our dining room at the buffet table at our Christmas party.
The calm before the storm!

I love our Christmas party. Why?

Because it’s a way that I can spoil my family and friends with good food and fun.

But the weeks leading up to the party are stressful. It’s the “cooking all of the food” part of our party that is currently freaking me out. There is so much to do!

Over the years I have created a very good menu of heavy hors-d’oeuvres and desserts.  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 Christmas Party this year, which is on December 23rd.

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
  • Tomato Bisque Soup with Mini Grilled Cheese
  • BLT tomatoes
  • Skewered chicken with peanut sauce
  • Skewered flank steak with peanut sauce
  • Crab cakes with lemon dill sauce
  • Artichoke Dip in wonton shells
  • Smoked Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce
  • Brie, Bacon, and Cranberry Smashed Potatoes
  • Whipped sweet potatoes in crusts with pecan topping
  • Brie cups with pomegranates
  • Sesame Ahi Poke in wonton cups with unagi sauce and avocado
  • Pesto stuffed mushrooms

D E S S E R T S 

  • Double Mint Chocolate cookies
  • Peanut butter fudge
  • Frosted sugar gift-shaped cookies
  • Coconut cupcakes with candy trees
  • Christmas Crack (subject to change)
Cookies and desserts placed on top of wrapped packages at the dessert table.
One year I plated all of the desserts on top of wrapped packages!

If you want a copy of all of these recipes, just sign up to follow my blog. I will be sending the recipes out next week to all of my blog followers. (If you follow my blog after December 17th I will send the link when you subscribe!)

Surviving the Christmas Party Preparation

Prepping in my kitchen for our annual Christmas party.

As you can see in the photo above, which is from a few years past, I am good at multi-tasking while cooking for our party.

I am making four different menu items in this photo!

The only reason I can prepare 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.

How to plan a party

It has a very fancy name, my Color Coded Spreadsheet. Hehe.

This spreadsheet is a way I can manage preparing thirteen appetizers and five desserts for 200 people in two weeks. This spreadsheet takes a huge task and makes it manageable. And that is because it breaks out my cooking tasks for the 18 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.

Here is last year’s Color Coded Spreadsheet:

The color coded spreadsheet I use to manage the cooking for our Christmas party.
The color coded spreadsheet I use to manage the cooking for our Christmas party.

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 the due date, and the color key is listed at the bottom of page two. For example, the tasks 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. There are a lot of menu items that 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 Christmas 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 my recipes next week. It’s that simple. And, if you follow my blog after December 17th, you will get the link when you sign up. I promise.

You can follow my cooking progress on my Instagram stories for the next two weeks. I hope you will join me.

On this blog, I may sometimes use affiliate links, which means a small commission is earned if you purchase via the link. The price will be the same whether you use the affiliate link or go directly to the vendor’s website using a non-affiliate link.

My Latest Project

My Latest Project

Christmas Party LA Times Article

This is an old project but I had to share it.

In 2019 I got a call from The Los Angeles Times asking if they could write a story about my Christmas Party.

Well, duh.

The cover of the Los Angeles Times featuring My 100 Year Old Home.

It was supposed to go live earlier in December but ended up on the cover of the Saturday LA Times on the day of our party.

How crazy is that!

So many of our guests brought a copy of the paper to the party.

And I might have bought a few copies too!

You can read the article here.

If you are enjoying my blog, you can sign up to receive my blog updates here. .

My Biggest Challenge This Week

Our white kitchen decorated with wreaths in the windows and on the back of the counter stools, red, green, and white trees, red and white towels, and more.

I finally finished decorating our home for Christmas. Although I am very late this year and it took forever, I did get some heavy-lifting assistance this year from Matt and Dave, so that was nice.

I have no idea why it took me so long to finish my decorating. Ok, the fall I took down the basement stairs a few weeks ago was a factor. (I am still limping).

But it’s done and here it is!

The Living Room

Click here to see more.

The Family Room

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The Kitchen

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The Dining Room

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This week's to do list.
  • Finalize this Year’s Color Coded Spreadsheet and start cooking!
  • Make Christmas Sugar Cookies – This is by far the most time-consuming item on my list. I think you are going to love my theme and the presentation!
  • Wrap gifts. And wrap some more. And then some.

This Apple Crinkle Cake with Phyllo Dough from Happy Happy Nester is amazing!

A Beautiful Mess shared the cutest Birthday Cake Shots. If you have an adult with a December birthday, these or adorable. Or New Year’s Eve!

Look how adorable this Gingerbread Decorating Party is!

I also had to share this amazingly Easy Meringue Dessert made by Happy Happy Nester. No cooking is involved!

As I mentioned it was a week of decorating our home. I finished the living room, kitchen, and family room. I also shared fun ways to display Christmas cards, a new DIY for ornaments, and my favorite Christmas pillow DIY.

Tap on any link for more.

I love this list that Martha shared titled 6 Things to Always Clean Before Guests Come Over.

This week is going to be fun. I am making a pomegranate-themed DIY, and sharing recipe ideas for Christmas Eve. I am also baking a wonderful chocolate pinecone dessert and my Sugar Cookies for this year’s Christmas party which are so amazing! Plus I have lots of great wreath ideas!

Shop For the Holiday Here

I know the photo below says there are 50 Items for $50 but there are 130 items in this list! I had some fun yesterday and added a lot more!


You Might Also Need…

Pin the image below to your decor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

A white coffee cup that reads Sunday Morning Coffee

For more real-time updates, follow me on Instagram @My100YearOldHome

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  1. Oh my- you are amazing! If I had to cook for 200, I would crawl in bed and stay until New Years!!! Our tree has been up for a week and there is not one single ornament on it yet!!! It’s pouring rain on the east coast today, so I am baking cookies today to freeze for Christmas— no presents wrapped, still gifts to purchase and mail…. ‘‘Tis the season!!

  2. I was going down your appetizer party list and almost thought the crab cakes were cut! Nope, there they were with the dill sauce, so delectable. Had someone tell me one time, an artist, why clean the house before guests arrive when they end up making a mess. Thus, clean the house once, after the party. No, I never tried it.

    1. They are a crowd FAVORITE! I would never cut hehe. ☺️ haha that’s funny! I don’t think I could try it either though 😂

  3. I truly marvel that you have a holiday party for 200 people! I have one for 30 and I think that’s my limit! i did see your recipe for crab cakes a couple of years ago and tried them. The taste was delicious but when I cooked them they would not hold together and had to be spread on crostini. Any tips for keeping them stay together as crab “cakes”. Thank you!

  4. Gorgeous spread! I did notice the beef tenderloin sandwiches were not on this year’s list?!! Love those – I make them every year for my Christmas gathering!

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