How to Organize a Progressive Holiday Dinner

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Is there a constant debate between family or your circle of friends over who will host the holiday dinner? Perhaps it is time to try something new! A progressive dinner will add an exciting twist to the holiday dinner while everyone has the opportunity to contribute in hosting part of the feast. Each course will be served at a different home. Relax, have fun, and enjoy the holiday spirit!

Step 1: Make a list of all the potential hosts. Account for appetizers, soup, salad, main course, and dessert. For a small group, combine logical courses if necessary such as soup and salad. Simply add more courses for a larger group of hosts or customize a longer day according to the holiday. Add a light breakfast and gift exchange to kick off the Christmas Day or save the gift exchange for the last host with a small evening meal or second dessert. You could also add a cocktail hour to include festive non-alcoholic drinks for drivers and children.

Step 2: Map out locations of your hosts and design a route that flows with the course order. Avoid making the guests bounce back and forth all over town. Contact your hosts and explain that you are organizing a progressive holiday dinner. Request the course you would like them to provide and confirm their participation. Also, confirm the number of attendees. Once these details are compiled, you will need to inform all the hosts so the proper amount of food can be prepared. Invite your host to optionally include a quick holiday specific activity.

Step 3: Create the schedule, allowing at least one hour at each location – more if the course includes other holiday activities. Do not forget to add driving time between each location.

Step 4: Create invitations that include each host’s information (name, address, phone number, course to be served), total number of guests, schedule (include start and end times so guests know when to leave for the next location), and any other details needed for your hosts or guests.

Step 5: As the coordinator, assist with behind the scene details. Suggest car-pooling and find rides for those who need transportation. Help your hosts serve within minutes of guests arriving. Help all the hosts stay on schedule.

Additional tips:

~ Have each subsequent host leave a few minutes early to have their course ready when guests arrive. Accompany them to assist and keep things flowing smoothly.

~ Do not let anyone drink and drive.

~ Obtain any food allergy information and notify all hosts.


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