Cooking Christmas Dinner for 45 Guests

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Here’s a true story from a good friend of ours, named Susie.  Susie comes from a large family.  Her grandmother had 6 children, her mom had 5, and most have 2.2 children.  As a result, they entertain about 45 guests on Christmas, which allows more food variety than if there were only 12 guests.

Guests begin to show up around 2:00 pm and greet each other with kisses.  Eating begins with 6-8 appetizers, drinks, and socializing until dinner at 4 pm.  Her family is concerned about having high quality food so most everything is homemade and delicious.  They may have homemade meatballs, a taco dip, salmon, shrimp, BLT dip, brie cheese baked in pastry dough, spinach dip, Dip To Die For (recipe below), and more.  

The dinner feast usually features honey baked ham, beef tenderloin, and some pasta dish such as lasagna.   Susie says they always have mashed or double baked potatoes, green bean casserole with french onions, broccoli rice casserole, corn, sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows, rolls, salad, and two jello molds.

After dinner the clean-up begins with many people pitching in to help.  Then Christmas gifts are exchanged and by the time the clean up is done and gift exchanges are complete, everyone is ready to dig into desserts and coffee.  Susie said they really aren’t ready for dessert, but it’s hard to pass up scrumptious homemade desserts, and after all, aren’t the holidays the time of the year to over indulge?

On their dessert table Susie said you can find cheesecake, brownies with caramel middles, pies, cakes or cupcakes, kolatchkies, and probably no less than a dozen different types of cookies!  While they are gorging on desserts, the games begin.  The gamblers start their ritual poker game, the kids may play bingo and some play dice or card games (these are not the serious gamblers!).  The remaining guests may sit and watch Christmas specials or just socialize.

Somewhere between 8-10 pm, people begin to leave, but not without taking leftovers home.  The host is expected to have extra food so that everyone can take home leftovers, especially desserts.  Although her family is great about helping clean up, Susie is still faced with a mess.  Oh well, tomorrow’s another day.

Dip to Die For Recipe  (Everyone raves about this recipe and it is so easy!) 

1- 2.8-3.0 oz. jar real bacon bits
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese  
18 ounces of Hellman’s Mayonnaise
2-2.25 ounce package of slivered almonds (sliced will work also)
4 green onions (wash & chop from white part to ½ way up green part)
Box crackers

Mix together all ingredients except the crackers. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.  Serve with crackers.

To read about the history of wrapping gifts, plum pudding, and a recipe for fig pudding, view our article “Fig & Plum Pudding-English Christmas Traditions”.

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