Novice holiday hosts often have a lot on their plates. Whether hosting family or friends or a combination of both, first-time hosts typically want to impress their guests while ensuring they get enough to eat and have an enjoyable evening. Since dinner is such a big part of holiday gatherings, hosts often place extra emphasis on what to serve, and that can be tricky if it’s the first time they are hosting.
When planning the menu for your holiday soiree, get a head count. Though other factors will influence what to serve, the size of your guest list may ultimately dictate what to serve. Once you have confirmed just how many guests you will be hosting, you can then choose a main course that suits the size of your guest list.
Decide which type of party you want to host as it will influence what you serve. A formal gathering should include an appetizer, a main course and a dessert, including both teas, caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees. A less formal hosting a less formal gathering allows hosts to put out some snacks or bread for guests to whet their appetites before everyone sits down for the meal. Hosts of less formal gatherings may even want to host a holiday potluck buffet, inviting guests to bring a favourite dish or side dish while the hosts take care of the main course.
Ask guests if they have any dietary restrictions. Include traditional holiday fare. People have grown to expect certain things from holiday meals, be it sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving, brisket for Chanukah or holiday cookies and eggnog at Christmas parties.
Don’t overdo it. First-time hosts want to ensure everyone gets enough to eat, so it’s easy to overdo things and prepare too much food. This can be expensive, and guests may feel obligated to overeat so hosts don’t have to discard any of the food they worked so hard to prepare.