Christmas Open House

Discussion in 'Magical Parties' started by Kim Loves Snow, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. Kim Loves Snow

    Kim Loves Snow Santa's Elves

    I've committed to hosting a Christmas Open House this year which will also give most of our friends and coworkers who have not seen our new house the opportunity to visit.

    The date is December 15 and I have to go through with it because the printed invitations arrived in the mail yesterday! :0)

    I'm looking for menu and beverage ideas. Do slower cookers look tacky for something like this? I do have chaffing dishes I can use to keep things warm.

    I also am seriously thinking about hiring a server to keep the food refreshed, the tray tables cleared, etc. Do you think that is a waste of money?

    Yes, I plan events for a living and I enjoy doing it. When things are in my own home I way over think them!!!!
  2. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    To me an open house is a come and go event, so people can just show up and walk through and leave anytime between the set hours you decide on. I would just do finger food that doesn't have to be kept warm and then use crockpots for hot cider or hot chocolate or something. I guess it depends on how fancy you want to get.
  3. piratemamaof3boys

    piratemamaof3boys Well-Known Member

    how long is the event going to be? is it a open house like JEss said where they will be coming and going over a long time? If that's the case you may not have a tun of people in your house at one time and may not need the server to help. Crock pots and serving dishes are fin unless you plan on using really fancy plates and such. I am a casual person so nice paper plates here I come. LOL

    crock pots are good as long as its something that won't over heat i that time like meatballs. Definatly finger foods b/c you wil have people walking around and may not want to sit just to eat. Mini quiches, cheese and crackers, cut veggies and fruit. As for drinks a coffee bar, maybe a hot chocolate, punch and water. Don't over do it w/ a tun of soft drinks and thing, those are 4 good basics.
  4. teachermomof2

    teachermomof2 Santa's Elves

    I think Jess and Shannon were right on the money with ideas. I would go with finger foods too, a hot chocolate buffet, coffee and a punch of some sort. Of course, you could do a Christmas type ****tail as well. It does depend on the time of day too. Mid afternoon would be okay with mini quiches, cheese and crackers, veggies, fruit, and some sweets like cookies, tarts and mini cheesecake bites. Evenings can be tricky if it's at dinner time.

    I wouldn't hire someone, but I'm frugal and a bit of a control freak. lol
  5. Lana

    Lana Well-Known Member

    Kimmie, sounds like a cool ideal! I have always wanted to do a small get together but never have.

    I think the finger foods are a nice ideal. Crockpots are nice for little weenies, dips. Cheeseballs are always a favorite, pickle roll ups. I always do a punch at Christmas and thats all the family wants to drink. Little sandwiches.

    For hired help I would think it depends on how many people you are thinking would come. You might be able to get a few older daughters of friends/co-workers to do it. Could give them a gift certificate for a manicure, or etc and it would work for both of you.

    Such a nice way to bring in the holidays and also show the house!
  6. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    Oh yes, do hire someone to help keep up with the food and to clean up afterwards. That way you can enjoy yourself instead of running around keeping the food in the dishes. It will make a huge difference.
  7. LadyEvenstar

    LadyEvenstar New Member

    I've always used crockpots at my open houses and they have worked well. My SIL always does this too and she loves fancy parties. I've found they often work better than chafing dishes, especially where space is concerned.
  8. HouseElf

    HouseElf Well-Known Member

    Crockpots do not look tacky for an open house, and no hiring someone is not a waste of money! I would go the hiring route - found it so much easier when we had a party years ago, the price was reasonable - and we had it them handle all the food - and they cleaned up too :) Best of luck!
  9. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    Never been to an open house so I don't really know how it works but I like the idea of crockpots. Maybe a chili bar or dips? A potato or soup bar like Pam told us about once if it's in the evening. afternoon - finger food is great. Hiring depends on you and your budget... much easier if you have the $$ for it and much less stressful.
  10. missjane

    missjane Well-Known Member

    Kim, check with your local high school or if there is a junior college or vocational college, check with them. If they have a culinary arts program, they may have students you can hire that know what they are doing. I hire at least 2 students to help me with prom every year that I have taught in my classes that I am confident I can depend on.
  11. Colleen in PA

    Colleen in PA New Member

    Kim - What fun!!! I have to agree with hiring someone - even if it is just a local student. The key is to have them come early enough so that you can show them where everything is, explain your expectations, etc. Otherwise, you will be running around your own party wearing an apron and holding a clipboard! LOL! Also, if possible, assign a good friend to be in charge of beverages...and another to take coats, etc. I'm guessing there are probably people you know who will be there for the duration and wouldn't mind helping out.

    Are you including kids in the invitation? You may want to set up their own little "mini" buffett and/or have a small craft or coloring station to keep them entertained. If there are a lot of children expected, a student babysitter might be worth it as well. That always works for gives both the children and parents time to enjoy themselves without being overly stressful.
  12. halimer

    halimer Well-Known Member

    Crockpots are fine and I like Lana's idea about hiring a friend or neighbors child to help out.

    I'd also suggest paper plates - fancy, sturdy ones but stuff that doesn't have to be washed.
  13. ejagno

    ejagno Well-Known Member

    I would definitely hire a server to keep the food warm and full, the tables clean and the messes picked up.

    I would definitely use the chaffing dishes since crock pots would be better suited for casual dinner, pot luck or a cook-out type situation.
  14. Winged One

    Winged One New Member

    Could the 2 DSs do the serving? Or even just be on hand and ready to walk around regularly to clear away, refill glasses etc?

    Otherwise, hiring someone could be very useful to reducing stress.

    I'd aim to have lots of small things on platters ready to bring out at intervals, that are cold (including both savoury and sweet). Chips and veggies with dips. And have some hot finger foods that you pop into the oven to heat through at intervals as well (quiches, sausage rolls or ****tail sausages, mini spring rolls, mini samosas etc).

    If you do want hot plated food, crockpots sound fine to cook in (or reheat previously cooked dishes), and then transfer to chafing dish to serve. Perhaps a chilli or curry and a non-spicy sauce (like chicken a la king, or chicken and mushrooms in white wine and cream sauce) both served with rice. Or a pastry covered or mashed potatoe covered pie (like chicken, or beef and guinness) served with lasagne. To give 2 options that don't need 2 different sides or a lot of hassle.
  15. Kim Loves Snow

    Kim Loves Snow Santa's Elves

    Thank you for all your suggestions! I always know I can count on this group to put me on the right path!

    Colleen - You've seen me and my clipboard at events before, huh?

    I love the idea of calling local technical schools with a culinary department. Great suggestion!

    Hiring someone to 'guide' the kids is also an excellent suggestion as I would prefer not to have little ones running wild around the house.

    I also enjoyed the food suggestions and have already started planning my menu based on many of these suggestions.

    I'm such an introvert that it takes a lot of energy for me to gear up for these type of things and I'm exhausted but happy by the end.

    Thanks again and if you think about anything else feel free to let me know!
  16. piratemamaof3boys

    piratemamaof3boys Well-Known Member

    I've enjoyed reading all the different ideas. You can see that some are more formal than other, some plan differently, it's great to see it from all sides.
  17. jinglemom

    jinglemom New Member

    Alot of great ideas. I think if I were to consider hiring a server it would depend on how many people I expected to come and if I expected many to come over a short duration. I most likely wouldn't want to go to the expense and would opt to just keep my menu more simple by limiting the hot foods. I would rather spend the money to help me with the food prep by buying sandwich trays/roll ups, a spiral sliced ham or even buying some main dish from a restaurant that caters to simplify the food prep. Then I would add something like tri-tip in a crock pot, soup, salad, different breads that can be used for either the soup or to make a sandwich and something else that can be made ahead and served cold. I'd also add a cheese tray or some similar appetizer and the veggie tray. I liked winged one's idea of asking the boys to help, but I would offer to hire them for a little extra Christmas money. They could be incharge of going around and clearing plates etc and keeping track of a few of the food items. I know my boys usually want to go off and hide away somewhere, but would actually love to take part this way if it would give them extra money.

    I really love the idea of the coffee bar, hot cocoa bar and someone to help with the kids. I think if your crockpot is a solid color and you use nice linens and decorations it is perfectly fine unless you want everything to be more formal, then I would go with the chaffing dishes. I just wouldn't use a modge podge of several different printed crockpots unless your open house is really casual. I have one of those buffet servers that come with 3 sections but you can remove the top and use the bottom as a hot plate or to put a bigger pan on top. Those are really nice too.
  18. ChristmasRose

    ChristmasRose Member

    Such good ideas! The only thing I can think of that might be needed is a coat rack and hangers (or is it hangars?), if you're expecting a large crowd. In another life, I had an annual Christmas open house for 120 to 150 people, and I don't know what I'd have done without the coat racks. Good luck! It sounds fun already.
  19. iluv2scrap

    iluv2scrap Santa's Elves

    My mother in law has a Christmas party every year. She uses crock pots and has things like meatballs, ****tail franks, a vegetable tray with dip, asst chips and dip, a fruit tray and some cookies dessert. She buys the nicer paper plates and silverwear. It's always a hit but we are a casual group so it doesn't need to be too fancy. If your party is going to be quite large or formal you may want to hire some help.
  20. Laney

    Laney New Member

    If finances are not an issue for the event, then I'd say, YES, hire someone to help serve the food and keep it refreshed. I love to host, but I hate feeling like I am spending the whole time tending to the food, etc to actually enjoy time with my guests! I do like the idea of hiring one of your friend's older daughters for a gift certificate. I did that recently with my little sister and her friend (they are 16) at my daughter's 5th birthday party. I had them come and run the games for me so that I could enjoy watching the kiddos and take pictures.

    As for the rest, I agree on the finger foods! And good on you for committing to the party by getting the invitations ready. I find if I don't initiate something to do with the party, then I'll put it off and never get it done.

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