Festive Food for Holiday Parties

Let it Snow EnsembleThe sky is the limit when it comes to what is appropriate food to serve for your Christmas party or holiday open house. The easiest way to entertain guests is with a buffet line. A general rule is that everyone will not eat everything. People normally will eat more starches and meats than vegetables and anything fried will be the first to go! Going through a buffet line can make people feel the pressure of others behind them, so they move along quickly and won’t take huge quantities the first time through. Remember that you will much rather have leftovers than a sparse spread at your buffet line, but here is a guide for you when you are estimating your food quantities for your buffet.

For individual meats, fish, poultry:

• 5 – 6 ounces per person
• If the cuts of meat have bones in them, consider adding more weight per person.

For multiple meat meals and buffets:
• 4 – 6 ounces per person

For pasta dishes:
• A pound will serve 8-10 people.

For vegetables:
• With a premixed salad, estimate one handful per person.
• One head of lettuce will feed approximately five people, four medium heads will serve 15-20.

For appetizers:
• Estimate about 10-12 items total per person.
• Make three to four of each item per person, keeping in mind that everyone may not take all of the items.

For desserts:
• Calculate one full portion of dessert per person.
• For multiple desserts, people will taste smaller portions of each item.
• A normal cake will serve approximately 10, but 15 will be fed if you are also serving pie.

Season to Remember EnsembleRemember that doubling and tripling recipes is something of an art, so it is best to start small and work your way up. You will have a much better success rate with most recipes if you make multiple batches of a single recipe rather than trying to multiply the quantities by three, four, or more.


Consider having a couple of the following seasonal beverages to fit the festive occasion:
• Eggnog
• Wassail
• Cranberry Cocktail
• Hot Chocolate
• Coffee Bar – set out a few flavored liqueurs, brandy, whipped cream, and grated chocolate. Garnish drinks with decorative ice cubes. Try using shaped ice-cube trays, adding a little food coloring into the water, or add mint leaves or raspberries to the water before freezing.

If you plan on setting up a basic bar, plan to have the following on hand for every 10 adult guests:
• 1 case of beer
• 2 liters of seltzer
• 3 liters of soft drinks (diet and regular)
• 2 quarts of fruit juice
• Plenty of chilled bottled mineral water (sparkling and flat)
• 2 bottles of wine – one red, one white
• Hard liquor – a fifth makes aprox. 14 drinks
• Lemon and lime wedges and twists, olives and other garnish
• Lots of ice – plan on 1 lb. per adult guest for the evening.

Serve up the drinks in some of our fantastic Holiday Tableware Ensembles.

Throwing a successful holiday party with a buffet does not have to throw you into a cardiac arrest! Just have fun, relax, and enjoy the time with your many guests – they will remember the fun and fellowship much longer than they will remember the menu!

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