You really don't want to get to Christmas Day and only then realise you don’t have what you need to serve dinner! Trust me, I have been there and it is not fun. Or funny. Ok, maybe in hindsight it is a little funny. But it's not really a situation I want to put myself in, voluntarily. I have better ways of having fun or being funny.
If this is your first time hosting, it can be a little daunting - extra people, extra courses and extra food. It all needs something to sit on or in.
I have hosted large numbers for all sorts of occasions, but there is something about Christmas Day I really want to go smoothly for our guests. And if you are hosting, I am sure you do too.
The Minimalist Kiwi is all about having everything you need and nothing you don't. So how do you know how much is needed? Let's dive in.
This guide is not just for Christmas Day, but every time you are entertaining more people than usual. To keep things simple, let’s think through the types of items that are typically served when you are having a dinner party (we won’t be talking drinks):
You will need serving pieces for all of these items whether you are hosting a buffet or sit down dinner.
3 Tips to Successfully Hosting Extra Guests for Dinner
Tip 1: Create a menu. How do you know what serving dishes and dinnerware you are going to need unless you know what you are cooking? Make a list under each heading from above. Don't just think about the dinnerware, remember your serving tools too. If you are having a cheese board, remember the cheese knives. If you are having a salad, remember the salad tongs. And so on.
Tip 2: Think outside the box. Do you have a divided condiment or dip tray but never use it for its purpose? You could serve multiple salad dressing options for your guests – much prettier than setting out bottles. Create labels for each dressing so guests don't have to guess what they are or to save you being repeatedly asked. Labelling is crucial for guests with food intolerances.
Tip 3: Make your serving pieces work doubly hard. Only purchase serving dishes that are nice enough to put on the table and cook in. No point having separate pieces. The main area to have multiples of, is serving spoons and forks. This is a great area to invest and a set that includes a gravy ladle and a slotted spoon is a life saver. (Remember your guests with food intolerances and allergies. For example, you don't want someone using the spoon for one dressing and someone else using the same spoon for another.)
Bonus Tip: Remember a jug of water. Not everyone can or will want to drink alcohol so provide a jug of water and tart it up with lemon, mint, and/or cucumber.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money and can collect these items as your budget allows between now and your next entertaining event. Or even better, borrow from family and friends.
This article is part of my "Christmas Chaos to Christmas Calm" series. But you can apply the advice here for any time you are entertaining.