While Christmas usually involves numerous traditions, it does not mean that it should always be the same person that ends up sweating and putting all the work into a successful meal. In fact, why not involve all the guests in the making of the perfect Christmas celebration? This way, it will reduce the level of stress and nobody will spend the holidays in front of the oven or kitchen sink. It is also a lot cheaper, as the holiday season is already expensive enough. What is the solution? A potluck! Here are the steps to follow that will help you out by guiding you through the process of how to plan a Christmas potluck.
- Invite your guests to a Christmas potluck! Do not invite them to a Christmas dinner, as it implies that you will not only prepare the whole feast by yourself, but that you will foot the bill as well! Inviting them to a Christmas potluck implies that you offer your home as the place to be that night, but you will share the responsibilities involving the cooking and the expenses related to the meal. Believe me, most people are eager to help out! Don't be shy!
- Share the list of the needed items! Sharing a list of needed items is not pushy. In fact, it is helping a lot. Otherwise, the meal may involve a lot of the same types of items, the absence of some and smaller quantities of others. A list will keep the meal balanced; you will not end up only feasting on salads and desserts. Also, by updating the list regularly, you can help other guests in their selection, as they remain informed of what has been chosen so far.
- Keep an open mind! Keep a section open with "other suggestions" as your guests may surprise you with various delicacies. After all, a traditional meal for an Englishman is bound to differ from a traditional meal of someone of another nationality. You may be surprised by experiencing other tasty treats.
- Make the list available! Make the list available by posting it in the staff room if it involves staff members, online, through an email system or even by calling your guests, ensuring that you know what everyone is bringing and making sure that nobody is forgotten or slips into the cracks.
- Include important details on both the invitations and the list! Important details such as the time, the place, the address, a map and the BYOB notation (Bring Your Own Booze) are included in both invitations and the list, as the guests will be able to remain well-informed and rely on both these resources when needed. By adding the BYOB abbreviation (which you should fully describe between parentheses beside it so as to avoid confusion), you are letting your guests know that they are not only financially responsible for their consumption, but that they should consider a designated driver or other way to return home safely.
- Responsibility is of the essence! Others details may involve bringing your own chair. A potluck invitation also includes the fact that what you bring goes back with you and that cleaning your container(s) is your own responsibility, as it will cut down on the time spent washing the dishes, allowing people to fully enjoy the celebration. Bringing back the leftovers will reduce the amount of food overflowing the refrigerator of the host.
- Time is a "must!" Include the time at which the Christmas celebration is scheduled to start, as it will allow you some time to prepare the last fixings, organize and clean up before the arrival of your guests. It will also make it clear that you need this time and that unless you offer your help, the host is not ready to entertain you prior to this time. If you know that some guests tend to wear out their welcome by staying up to the wee hours of the morning, it would be wise to add a time that would represent the closure of the festivities. This way, you will not miss on sleep, quality family time and will even be able to clean up the premises if you wish to do so prior to retiring for the night.
If you follow all these steps, I am certain that you will enjoy the Christmas celebrations fully and free of stress. If you do not mind offering your home and the potluck, I assure you that it will be the last time that you do it the traditional way.