A formal-sit down style dinner may seem pleasant, but for larger families or those who crave a more casual setting, they sometimes aren’t ideal. This is where the buffet table takes center stage.
“For many busy families, gone are the days of formal sit-down gatherings at the dining room table,” says Brenda Dillon, VP of Merchandising for Ashley Furniture. “During the holidays, people often drop in anywhere from late afternoon to late in the evening — making buffet-style parties the perfect choice. And with the right space and a little planning, it’s easy to bring everyone together.”
In order to pull off a successfull holiday buffet, it’s important to keep your guests’ comfort in mind. Here are 10 savvy food-serving ideas that’ll make your holiday party go off without a hitch:
1. Avoid placing food in a single line if serving a large crowd. Instead, repeat the same food on both sides of the dining room table.
2. Keep drinks in a separate area. A cart, table, server or sideboard helps avoid congestion.
3. Serve drinks ahead of time. It makes moving through the holiday buffet line easier and faster. Appointing or hiring someone to serve drinks makes guests feel extra special.
4. Use large, sturdy plates and oversized napkins. Avoid flimsy paper plates and choose napkins large enough to cover the lap.
5. Know where to put everything. Place clean plates and cold items at the beginning of the buffet, silverware at the end.
6. Avoid serving food that requires a knife. Your guests will appreciate not having to cut food on their lap!
7. Roll a napkin around a fork and spoon. Utensils that are rolled in a napkin are easier to carry. Secure it with a holiday ribbon and place endwise into a glass, mug or pencil cup for easy pickup.
8. Place a toothpick in items that are tough to grab. Be sure to pre-cut pieces off cheese blocks and break grapes into small clusters.
9. Label food that isn’t recognizable, or that may cause allergies. Or label everything restaurant-style with a folding card or flag.
10. Consider serving desert and coffee on a tray or rolling cart. This lets guests stay seated and relaxed.