This will be the second year that I've hosted friends and family for Christmas Eve dinner. Growing up, every Christmas Eve was spent with our dinner family friends, three families that came together every holiday well (well) into the next generation who carried the torch until recently. My heart will always miss those Christmas Eves, with adults like surrogate aunts and uncles, and kids like cousins. We had our own set of traditions and jokes, and it has been surprisingly hard for me to let those memories live in the past and to get excited about creating new ones for my little family.
Last year was technically the first year that I spent in California instead of Oklahoma, but family illness and circumstances made the whole holiday unusual and thrown together. This year I've had more time to plan and prep, and more time to get homesick. But let's not dwell on that part, because I really am happy to nurture my family in our own home, however my own mother's shoes are just enormous to try and fill.
I like a pretty, simple table. Too many placemats/chargers/glasses overwhelm me and also make me worried that something is going to spill at every moment. I have two gorgeous sets of china, one pink & gold that was purchased from an estate and matches sets that belong to my mother and sister, and an oyster & platinum set that was a wedding gift. I mix and match them all the time.
I used a gold and silver table runner with my collection of the LoveFeast velvet pumpkins, and a few candles. At each plate is a monogrammed napkin, gold flatware, and an ikat coaster that can be used for bread (mine are from CWonder, but they don't seem to be on the website anymore, these are similar). I bought these place card holders and on Instagram I showed how I made these quickie cards.
I'll be serving eight adults and our two children on Christmas Eve. One guest is a vegetarian. Here is what I decided upon:
Cocktail Hour Appetizers:
Cheese/crackers/wine/happiness, oh also probably the garlic naan
The Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes (what? I'm a fangirl.)
holiday salad with dried cranberries, candied walnuts, crumbled bleu cheese, and a fig dressing
I ended up choosing a menu that I could do almost all earlier in the day, then just throw in the oven as we approach the meal. I really didn't want to be slicing and dicing come dinnertime. The only thing I won't be able to prep and will have to make on the spot will be the green beans, but I could make those with a blindfold on. I did end up buying two different warming devices for entertaining, this Waring Pro buffet and this Toastess cordless warming tray.
I have backups in case I ruin something or get nervous there's not enough. Butternut squash and shaved brussel sprouts are nestled in the fridge. There will be plenty of opportunity to eat those throughout the week with leftovers and the roast I have to throw in the crock pot for easy picking on Christmas day.
I asked my guests to bring something dessert-y, one is bringing a pie and one is bringing a cake. We'll also have brownies made ahead for Santa, so we won't lack for sweets.
So that's the plan. Wish me luck! Tell me what you're serving, I'd love to hear other holiday menus.