If you’re a newly-wed like us, in your first year of marriage, you need to read this before you volunteer to host Christmas.
I remember it like it was yesterday,
Geoff and I volunteerted to host Christmas months ago. Tradition and family are important to both of us, and to show our appreciation to our families, Geoff got the idea that we should volunteer to host Christmas. At first I was hesitant. We’ve been married for 7 months now and we are slowly adding to our home, because we know that one common mistake newly-weds make is overspending. We have everything we need but we know that we are just starting out. So my first thought was “Can we afford to host Christmas?” If you’re afraid that you might have gotten yourself in a situation where you might not deliver on Christmas as hosts, here’s how easy it really is to do:
When planning the Christmas feast, whether you are serving lunch, dinner, or something in between, think simple. We thought about what foods and dishes we like and what we’ve always wanted to try.
Start with the main course: usually meat.
- If you don’t share the same taste, try something new like we did. I like lamb, but Geoff doesn’t. We took into account what our families like and decided to pick a universal favorite: beef. We took a recipe I had always wanted to try: lamb stuffed with leeks and chestnuts. We subsituted lamb with beef. Simple solution.
Appetizer: Just One
- Having soup and salad is great, but they also make you full faster. To make it easier for you and your spouse, and to ensure that your guests don’t get full too soon, pick either a soup, or salad, or an interesting antipasto.
Pick 2 side dishes
- We decided on mashed potatoes and Normandy vegetables. Vegetables are good for you and your guests, and who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? Pick sides you know well but don’t be afraid to try a recipe you’ve never tried before. Find out from your husband what are some of the favorites side dishes his family likes. Picking sides that both families likes is not only considerate, it’s smart.
Dessert: Just One
- The fun part of only picking one dessert is that there is no guarantee that everybody is going to like it. However, it makes it easier on the hosts, and it doesn’t overwhelm your guests. As someone with a sweet tooth, I love parties where there are over a dozen desserts to choose from, but too much dessert is not healthy. Also, some people don’t really like sweets, so keep that in mind too.
- We let our guests know that they could bring their own bottle of wine, but we made sure we also were well stocked. For a party of seven, we served an apperitif before appetizer, got through one red wine for the main course, and served a delicious almond champagne for dessert. We had two whites, and a red on reserve, just in case.
If your guests ask if they can bring a dish to contribute to the table, take them up on their offer. This helps you not go over budget and saves you time in the kitchen.
I want to give a shout out to both Geoff’s mom and my mom for their contributions. 💖
Also, if a guest asks if they can help you out in the kitchen, accepting their help doesn’t discredit you. You and your spouse are going to be Superman and Wonderwoman that day, so remember to watch out for eachother and work as a team. Having one person have everything on their shoulders is not what marriage is about.
Create an Ambience
Think simple, don’t think that the whole place has to look like the inside of a catalogue. For any party on a holiday, like Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, etc., the important thing is to have the main symbol for that holiday. We had the Christmas tree all decked out, lights on the windows of our house, and the table cloth was red and green.
What really helps creates the ambience is the music. We had iTunes radio playing in the background Christmas songs and it not only did all the dj work for us, it made everyone feel happy.
Each year you can add to your Christmas home decor arsenal. A part of what creates the ambience for a great party is how the hosts feel. If you love your home, it’s going to show. People remember how you made them feel, they’re not going to fault you for not having an entirely Christmas-ized home. Especially if you’re just starting out. Don’t be insecure, the point of parties is for everyone to be together.
You know you’re going to be running around on Christmas as hosts, so it’s important to remember to join the party and enjoy what you’ve created. Sit back and relax from time to time, socialize with your guests. Breathe! There’s a reason there are people who enjoy giving parties. Not only are you giving people a good time, think of yourselves as kids in a candy store. It’s all up to you, you two get to choose everything and make your party as fun and creative as you can. Enjoy it while it’s happening!
Merry Christmas and Happy Hosting! ~from Geoffrey & Stephanie