Vanessa, also known as Chefdruck, is a foodie, writer and mom living in Chicago with her husband and four children. Whether you're planning a holiday dinner party or small impromptu get together with friends, Vanessa has easy menu ideas and helpful tips to minimize your time in the kitchen so you have more time to spend with your friends and family. Vanessa's personal blog can be found at chefdruck.com
Does the thought of hosting a holiday party sound fun but a little exhausting? This year, instead of hosting the same old party, organize a progressive party. Team up with two or three other neighbors and host your holiday party together. Choose a date, combine guests lists, and plan the party menu. You’ll save money, make new friends, and have more fun.
For a typical progressive party there is a different course served at each house on the party route. I would suggest a three-house party, with one house serving appetizers, the next serving the main course, and the last serving dessert. Around the holidays, it might be easier to serve heartier, finger foods at the main course home instead of doing a formal sit down dinner. The host of each leg of the progressive party should coordinate their party menu with the overarching party theme.
A progressive holiday party doesn’t necessarily need to revolve around dinner. You could have a progressive dessert party, featuring sugar cookies in one home, fruit desserts in one home, and chocolate in a third. Or, have each home feature a different country, with different holiday dishes, decorations, and traditions.
Typical appetizers could include Pecan Cranberry Spread and Warm Brie Crackers. I’ve also included a Strawberry Crackers appetizer below for a sweet and fruity addition to your appetizer menu. Main courses should be dishes that are served buffet style and are easy to share like Family Favorite Chili or Town House Meat Loaf. Getting inspired for the dessert menu will be easy with recipes like Eggnog Cheesecake Bars , Minty Grasshopper Pie, or my No-Bake Truffles Recipe (directions below).
When people are having a good time, they won’t want to leave. The key to a successful progressive party is to set your guests’ timing expectations and to stick to the schedule. Using a bell can be helpful to keep everyone moving. Of course, you should expect that the party at the last house will last longer, as your guests will want to keep the fun going late into the night.
Finally, here are a few tips to guarantee your progressive holiday party is a success:
I've included two party pleasing recipes for your enjoyment. Happy holidays!