I'm Having My First Family Christmas Dinner - Yikes!

Lounge By jescapades Updated 5 Nov 2008 , 4:56am by Curtsmin24

jescapades Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 1:46am
post #1 of 21

funny story. we had my grandfather's memorial mass this morning and afterwards went out to eat. we started talking about christmas dinner (it rotates to a different aunt/uncle's house every year). my aunts were all kind of hesitating about having it at their houses, so i chimed in and asked, 'can i do it?' they all looked at me like i was growing a second head, right then and there. they asked if i was sure. yeah, i'm sure - i have always wanted to have a holiday at my house, i just always figured my mom and my aunts all had it taken care of, so i never asked.

so they say i can have christmas (yay!), but now i'm nervous about the menu. i know it's a long time away, but i like to plan ahead (waaaay ahead). here's what i have so far, any suggestions on menu, decorating, planning, etc are most appreciated! thanks so much!

Turkey
Stuffing
Ham
Sweet Potato Casserole
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Almondine
Corn
Rolls
Cranberry Sauce
Asparagus


Pumpkin pie
Cookies

20 replies
Curtsmin24 Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 3:06am
post #2 of 21

OOOh wow!! I know how stressful it might be but, getting the planning done early really helps. I always plan two months in advance. For decorations it should be fairly simple if you already have most of your basic christmas stuff already stored away. Usually red and gold are colors found anywhere. I bought a tablecover with napkins at walmart two years ago and I set the table with that and added a silver tablerunner. I find some really cheap stuff at the dollar store to hang around the house. As far as the food goes you have a really good menu going and it depends on the amounts of everything you are making. I know when I had my first dinner I had a set time schedule and prepared everything a few days ahead and was ready from the moment I got up.

mkolmar Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 3:06am
post #3 of 21

My family has to have mashed potatoes and gravy. Other than that it looks great to me. May I suggest Alton Browns recipe for a turkey brine off of the food network site. It's fabulous! I made my first turkey last year with it and it practically falls off the bone it's so juicy.

michellenj Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 3:03pm
post #4 of 21

I second the Alton Brown turkey. It is very good.

Most of the items on your list can be prepared in advance, so all you really need to worry about is getting the turkey into the oven and the last minute cleaning. I always set my table a few days ahead, so that it's ready to go.

tracycakes Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 5:07pm
post #5 of 21

I've had my family at my house for Christmas several times and it's always great fun and pretty lowkey. But, my husband's family lives 8 hours away and we've always travelled there for Christmas....until this year! His brother called and they want to have Christmas at our house this year! We are thrilled! They swap houses but it's always up there. My husband is 60 years old and has never had his family at his house for Christmas. We are really looking forward to it. Most of his family has never been to our house so I get to do some little jobs around the house that we haven't taken care of yet. I hope you have as much fun as I plan to.

AlamoSweets Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 5:08am
post #6 of 21

Remember to breath and enjoy! Your menu looks great. Our family has a large cloth table cloth that we bring out each year. Each family member uses a permanent black fine tip marker and writes something they are thankful for. We have done this for several years now and some are serious and some are funny. I also bought several small salt and pepper shakers to put in the middle of the table so everyone could reach them and didn't have to ask to pass them. Even the ones are the Dollar Store or the 99cent store will work. I found glass goblets at the Dollar Store one year and bought enough for our Thanksgiving dinner instead of using paper or plastic. They are still pulled out for each big family dinner. You are so wise to get a head start on everything you can.

Pastelitoz4u Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 5:35am
post #7 of 21

Your menu looks pretty full. What will you be drinking? Soda's, Tea, Wine? Its great that you are already thinking about it and trying to prepare for it. icon_smile.gif Also, since its your first time making all of that can be overwhelming, don't be afraid to ask for some help, at least with the side orders or drinks. icon_redface.gif We have had Thanksgiving dinner at my house since my grandmother passed away back in 2000, I also kinda volunteered because I knew my mother was not going to be able to have the dinner at her house. So far it has worked wonderful, a lot of work and preparation, but at the end you sure feel good about it, and happy that everything turns out fine.

keep it easy and as simple as possible, believe me everybody will still enjoy having Christmas dinner at your house no matter what. GOOD LUCK and have FUN! icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 5:48am
post #8 of 21

Does the person hosting the dinner always provide all of the food themselves? icon_confused.gif Or does everyone bring a covered dish?

We do the covered dish thing. The holiday is either at my house or my married daughter's house. We make the menu, then decide who's bringing what. Whoever is hosting the dinner does the main meat (ham or turkey, depending on what holiday it is). When we do holidays at my sisters house or vice-versa, we do the same thing. It's a family event, a family dinner, so the whole family pitches in.

One thing I do that my husband just fell in love with ... (and the first time my daughter went to New Jersey for Thanksgiving with her in-laws, she was a bad guest and whined about "....this is how MY mom does it!" icon_redface.gif ) ..... I set up a snack table so people can munch before dinner. Veggie trays, fruits, chips, dips, cheeseballs, cold shrimp and cocktail sauce, etc. Just little appetizer type stuff that keeps everyone out of the kitchen and out from underfoot while we're trying to work.

Oh ... and the next year that my daughter went to New Jersey, her MIL had a veggie tray and dip just for her!! Wasn't that so sweet of her to do! icon_smile.gif

Curtsmin24 Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 8:42am
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Quote:

Does the person hosting the dinner always provide all of the food themselves? Or does everyone bring a covered dish?



Well it really depends. Usually we all bring something but, when I had my get together in California, none of the other Marines had kitchens so they just bought beverages and we provided the food. I told them a twelve pack or a bottle to share gets you in the door and we had sodas leftover until after new years. icon_biggrin.gif That was for thanksgiving... Oh, Debi your bringing back memories and now I miss my fellow Marines. icon_sad.gifusaribbon.gif

indydebi Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 11:15am
post #10 of 21

curtsmin, when my son was a Marine at Pendleton, one year he was one of a bunch of marines who was invited to a Sgt's home for thanksgiving. He told us "he told us not to bring anything" ... I'm sure for the reason you mention, no kitchens! icon_biggrin.gif .... I told him to go buy some flowers for the Sgt's wife as a hostess gift and a thank you! I was very grateful to this couple for having my son for dinner that day! (It was our first Thanksgiving without him. icon_cry.gif )

mbelgard Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 1:40pm
post #11 of 21

I think your menu looks pretty good. You're nicer and more ambitious than I am, I have never done a holiday meal at my house. My family lives too far away and there's no way in he!! I'm having my husband's extended family over. icon_evil.gif


I think who brings what depends on the family and even the person hosting. When one of my husband's aunts does the meal they always have people bring stuff but when my MIL does it she never has anyone bring anything even though people offer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

curtsmin, when my son was a Marine at Pendleton, one year he was one of a bunch of marines who was invited to a Sgt's home for thanksgiving. He told us "he told us not to bring anything" ... I'm sure for the reason you mention, no kitchens! icon_biggrin.gif .... I told him to go buy some flowers for the Sgt's wife as a hostess gift and a thank you! I was very grateful to this couple for having my son for dinner that day! (It was our first Thanksgiving without him. icon_cry.gif )




I don't remember many holidays without young soldiers that we didn't know over. My dad either invited single guys he knew or signed up to take a couple for the day whenever we lived on post.

Curtsmin24 Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 2:53pm
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Quote:

curtsmin, when my son was a Marine at Pendleton, one year he was one of a bunch of marines who was invited to a Sgt's home for thanksgiving. He told us "he told us not to bring anything" ... I'm sure for the reason you mention, no kitchens! .... I told him to go buy some flowers for the Sgt's wife as a hostess gift and a thank you! I was very grateful to this couple for having my son for dinner that day! (It was our first Thanksgiving without him. )




I know the feeling, they had a program where Marines would sign up to spend thanksgiving with a family. I knew that a lot of them wouldn't be comfortable with that so I opened my doors to at least 40 of them and it was the best feeling ever. The smiles on their faces were priceless and they were so greatful to have a home cooked meal. My husband didn't understand why I did it at the time but, now that it's just us he does. I really enjoyed the holidays out there because it felt like we were still with family. I can't even begin to tell you how many close friends I have. I still keep in contact with my officer in charge and some of the higher ranking officials because they were like my parents (they yelled when they needed to yell, they comforted and gave advice when it was needed). Even now I still call them to ask questions about things I am unsure of and they still motivate me to do well and they don't have to. It's a really beautiful relationship. [/quote]

jescapades Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 6:41pm
post #13 of 21

thanks for the help everyone! laura, i didn't even think about drinks until my cousin said something to me last night. i was like, 'what, you people want to drink too?!' lol... never even crossed my mind. i will be probably having soda, maybe punch, hot cider? we always have tomato juice at dinner (i have no idea why), so i'll have to have that. i think i'll commission guests to bring some desserts. i can't remember if we have apps at christmas, so i'll have to ask my mom. she's going to help with the menu too.

thanks again!

MosMom Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 8:00pm
post #14 of 21

Better you than me sister. I'm way too high strung to have Christmas dinner at my house. I'll have the inlaws here but as long as I don't have to cook for them all and add to the drama with my family..I'm good.

Actually, I'm so NOT high strung but the holidays and family tends to not bring out the best in me. :p

indydebi Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 10:33pm
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtsmin24

.... so I opened my doors to at least 40 of them and it was the best feeling ever. The smiles on their faces were priceless and they were so greatful to have a home cooked meal.



oh that just made me cry! I want to give you a big giant mom-hug!!!!

jescapades Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 12:43am
post #16 of 21

okay, i just got off the phone with my mom and we finalized the menu. it doesn't seem too bad. i hope i can pull this off!

here's what i have:

Turkey
Gravy
Stuffing (in turkey)
Ham
Sweet Potato Soufflé
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Almondine
Corn
Potato Rolls
Cranberry Sauce
Asparagus w/ Hollandaise
Turnip
Pickles
Olives

Candy
Nuts
Cheese plate


Pumpkin Pie
Cookies
Chocolate Pie

Tomato Juice
Soda
Ice Tea
Coffee
Tea
Hot Chocolate
Cider
Water


how do you invite the military for the holidays? i wouldn't even know how to go about doing that. i love putting together care packages for the military stationed overseas during the holidays, but what a heart-warmer to have some of those men and women for dinner!

MosMom Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 1:13am
post #17 of 21

Wow, are you going to do all that on your own (as in pay for it)? We always do Christmas dinner potluck style so no one person has to bear the cost of the dinner.

mbelgard Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 1:30am
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jescapades



how do you invite the military for the holidays? i wouldn't even know how to go about doing that. i love putting together care packages for the military stationed overseas during the holidays, but what a heart-warmer to have some of those men and women for dinner!




Most of the people who take in young, single soldiers are military. They are invited either because they know a married military member or through sign-up sheets that assign soldiers who sign up to homes that sign up too. I don't know if civilian families who live near a post or base can sign up for that or not, I'm an Army brat. If you live near a post and know someone who doesn't have family near you can just invite them of course.

jescapades Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 1:47am
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MosMom

Wow, are you going to do all that on your own (as in pay for it)? We always do Christmas dinner potluck style so no one person has to bear the cost of the dinner.




no, i won't do it all by myself. my mom is going to help big time because she knows this is my first and i haven't got a clue. and i will be asking family to bring some dishes.

now i need to find some good cookie recipes to make!

mixinvixen Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 2:50am
post #20 of 21

this sugar cookie is to die for, and the absolute best sugar cookie i have ever had in my mouth!!!!!!!!! i get the "eyes rolling back in the head, "holy crap" reaction from every client, friend and neighbor who trys these!

favorite sugar cookies

prep 20 minutes, cook 12 minutes per batch

do not have to be rolled or cut. just a simple drop and bake version with a great butter flavor and sugared tops!

1 c butter, softened
1 c veg oil
1 c sugar
1 c sifted powedered sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 c sugar (for dusting the tops)

beat butter and veg oil at med speed with an electric mixer until blended; gradually add 1 c sugar and powdered sugar, beating well. add eggs and vanilla, beating well.

combine flour and next 3 ingred; add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended

drop dough by rounded tsp's 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

dip a flat bottomed glass in 1/2 c sugar and flatten each mound of dough to 1/4" thickness (about an inch and 1/2 circle).

bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes or ntil edges are golden. remove to wire racks to cool.

yield 9 1/2 doz.

per cookie: calories 61, fat 3.6g, cholesterol 8 mg, sodium 45 mg

Curtsmin24 Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 4:56am
post #21 of 21

Your welcome Debi, I didn't mean to make you cry. I just know what it's like to be without family during the holidays and it's not fun having a tv dinner as a christmas or thanksgiving meal. We actually drove around the base later that evening and made sure that even those who were on duty got some dinner. It felt good.

And for those of you who would like to have military personnel over, I reccomend you google bases in your area and contact someone on the base for more information, I am sure that it is possible even if you don't know anyone in the military. I would definitly try that early just in case any arrangements need to be made ahead of time. I'll do a little research and see if they have some sort of website. Also, if you would like to, they have a program called toys for tots and you can donate a toy for underprivelaged children and families that are having a hard financial time. usaribbon.gif

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