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A Fancy Christmas Party (Menu, Decor & More!)

I hosted a Christmas party in our home this weekend and it was so nice. I’m sharing all the juicy details with ya! From the decor to the menu and the guests. It was a fancy sit-down dinner for 21 people. Whoa! Here’s how I made it happen without pulling out my hair. Step #1: Make it a potluck!…

Step #1: Make it a potluck! If you, the host, are going through all the trouble of creating, coordinating, decorating, setting up and cleaning up, you should NEVER feel guilty about asking people to bring a dish. Plan what you’ll bring first (I made the mushroom potatoes, the pomegranate cake, and the acorns with salted pistachios and chocolate).

Then lead your guests into what you’d like them to bring. I.e. “bring a salad or a veggie side.” Or, “we already have 2 salads and plenty of sweets, but no one is brining canapés yet….”  They will appreciate the suggestion and it might just make their lives easier (or so I’d like to think). Anyway, I shamelessly asked each couple to bring a dish and specifically found out what their dish was a couple days ahead so the menu was balanced. Here’s what my guests and I made (some of the photos were taken in low light so pardon the bad pictures). I added links where I could.

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Exhibit A: Potatoes with mushrooms in cream (so easy and tasty and can be made a couple hours ahead and kept warm in the oven)

Potatoes with Cream and Mushrooms-14

Exhibit B: Rotisserie Chickens spruced up with rosemary and grapes. People just cut off how much they wanted. It worked really well!

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Exhibit C: Green beans with almonds (a 10-minute dish).

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Exhibit D: There was also a pot of yummy beef plov made by Tanya M. that I completely missed photographing :-O but it was really nice to have the grain in addition to the taters.

Exhibit E: Fancy Russian-style canapes made by my sister-in-law Nadia.

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Exhibit F: There was a great green salad with pears made by Natalia that you can see in the picture with peeps loading up their plates. This grape and broccoli salad made by Mera tasted very similar to the one I have posted on my blog.

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Exhibit G:  cheese and grape Christmas tree platter. Borrowed the idea from Pinterest. Mine wasn’t as pretty, but it was eaten up anyway.

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Exhibit H: The Pomegranate Christmas Cake. It was only fitting that I make this for my Christmas party. It was a hit!

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Exhibit I: Meringue Acorns with Salted Pistachios and truffle chocolate. Yum.

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Exhibit J: Jen and Valery brought these chocolate caramel cookies covered in nutty goodness.

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Exhibit K: My sister Alla contributed the raspberry pretzel jello. I wish this wasn’t so hard to photograph since it’s so so delicious and this picture doesn’t do it justice.

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Exhibit L: In addition to perrier and sparkling apple cider, I also bought a Christmas blend coffee and loose leaf mint tea.

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Step #2: Start a pinterest board for party ideas. Pinterest is like having your own personalized magazine. Once you load up your board it’s only the things that you want to see. I love that! I put all my ideas in my Christmas decorating board.

Step #3 Pick your color based on what you have the most of. I had lots of white and blue ornaments and I had the blue Ball mason jars (from Fred Meyer) so I picked a blue/white/silver/tan scheme. Once you decide on a theme (colors), borrow as many items from family and friends as you can. This can save you tons of mullah on things you might only use once. I borrowed extra silverware and white plates from family and my sister Alla’s tablecloth and some of the table decor.

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P.S. Use some fishing line to hang ornaments from your chandelier and make them look like they’re floating in air. Especially when the lights are off!

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Step #4: Plan to have all of your decor up at least the night before (iron your table clothes, set the tables). I worked on assembling the cloth napkins for a week, making 5-6 of them each night so it wasn’t such a royal pain.  If you have everything done ahead of time, the party won’t be stressful at all. This was the least stressful party I’ve ever hosted because I wasn’t scrambling. I had everything done 1 hour before the party started and I actually had time to do my hair and spruce up my cheeks and only a few early birds saw me in my “home pants.”

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Step #5: If you are buying decor, find a store that is already giving deep discounts on their Christmas merchandise. For example; most of the pretties that I purchased were from JOANNE Fabrics and they were 50-60% off retail price and the selection is better than the after-Christmas sales. (no, this is not a paid add for JoAnne’s).

Anyhow, I spent maybe too much on the decor $75. This includes the little trees, owls, twine, birds, and the cloth napkins set me back the most at $24 for about 18 of them so if you wanted, you could totally use high quality paper napkins. P.S. Buy drinks early and store them in your cold garage.

Step #6: Make a music CD with up-beat Christmas tunes. Most of the time the group was laughing and talking so loudly you couldn’t hear the music but it was so nice to have something in the air in between jokes. Also, candles are a nice touch. Check out the Ambiance…

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Step #7: Make the party adults only (except little babies which are hard to find babysitters for). Not one person wasn’t able to come because they couldn’t  find childcare. We had some really great conversation because it was only the grown-ups. It reminded me of our youth Christmas parties. Lots of laughter and a great group of peeps.

Thanks to everyone for coming and brining a dish to share.

Also, and I know this is sneaky, but a grown-ups only party means that people won’t stay at your house until the wee hours of the night because they have to pick up their kids from Grandmas house. Eh? eh? Not that I wanted it to end. I’m digging a hole here. I didn’t mean it that way!… never mind.
{With my sister, Sveta}.

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{One with all the girls}.

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{This is what the boys were doing on the other end}.

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{With all my amazing sisters}.

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{One with the Mr…. we didn’t plan to match ;)}.

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Step #8: Chillax and enjoy, and don’t think about the dishes until the last person is out the door! 😉

I hope these tips help make your next holiday party a success!
Merry Christmas everyone!

natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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  • Rich's Catering & Special Events
    October 22, 2018

    Very fine lighting, anybody who sees this will feel the spirit of Christmas. The fruity dishes were very nice. Great work. I’m inspired by you. Thanks. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 23, 2018

      Now I just can’t wait for Christmas time! Thanks Rich! Reply

  • Wolf
    December 16, 2014

    Just had our office party. The committee could have used your advice, but it worked out well. Next year it comes to our house and my wife and I are planning already. I retired from being a chef of 30 years and I cooked for many Christmas parties but never had anything to do with the front of the house so my wife is taking your advice and planning ahead. Thanks again, great job. Merry Christmas. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2014

      30 years of being a chef! Wow that is wonderful! What kind of cooking do you enjoy most? I’m so glad you’re finding the post useful :). Thanks Wolf! Reply

  • Lana
    December 21, 2013

    Natasha, quick questions about the canapés at your party…I know you didn’t make them, but do you know or do you remember what ingredient is between the toast and the sliced “kolbaska”? If you don’t know, then what do you think would be a good substitute? Thanks so much and happy Holidays!!! Reply

  • Mila
    December 21, 2013

    Wow, you did an amazing job decorating. What a great idea to have all adults Christmas party. Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas to you and your family. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 21, 2013

      Thank you Mila! It was nice. Not distracting and just nice to socialize with adults for a change. 🙂 Reply

  • Alina D
    December 18, 2013

    Love the creations you made for this holiday looks amazing! its nice for someone! and great tips! thanks for the tips looking forward to making it like that. it just looks nice and awesome! looks fun! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 18, 2013

      It was really fun! Thanks so much for your sweet compliments 🙂 Reply

      • Alina
        December 20, 2013

        I’m thinking what day I should do this..
        Would Christmas Day work? Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          December 20, 2013

          Well ofcourse ;)!!! Reply

  • veta
    December 16, 2013

    Looove your decor. Love the color, the setting, the way you fold your napkins 😉 you did awesome job. Since I’m hosting every Christmas party with my relatives at my house, I understand how busy and stressful it can be. I do same : setting the table at least one day, tell people what they can bring/ or ask what they would like to bring, etc. I looove pinterest. But it is very addictive and sometimes I spend a lot of time on it lol I love the picture with guys taking picture of girls hahaha. Natash, do you know any good recipes for Christmas breakfast? For a lot of people?! I’m gonna host a party at my house on 28th for girls (young moms like me from zhenskoe sluzhenie) and their families and I’m trying to find any good recipes for big breakfast party. I thought may be you know some? We’ll have maybe 12-15 adults and 20-25 kids lol Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      Thank you for your sweet comment 🙂 for a large group, nalesniki with cheese is a great idea because you can make them a day or two in advance and sauté them in a little butter before serving. Reply

  • December 16, 2013

    Natasha, I am so impressed! What a fancy party! Not only are you a good cook, you are also great at putting together such fun events! Your sister is as gorgeous as you are – it’s a nice contrast: she is blonde and you’re a brunette. Very cute photo of the two of you! And all other girls are beautiful too – it’s like you hand-picked them for the photo shoot, LOL! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      Julia thank you so much 🙂 You’re so sweet. My sisters are all blond except for me. I like being the middle child very much 😉 Reply

  • JILL
    December 16, 2013

    I love the way you decorated with the blue & silver. You have such a wonderful family, & you being such a great chef, nothing could go wrong. Happy Christmas to you all from, Australia Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      Thank you so much! All the way from Australia? Wow! Merry Christmas to you as well 🙂 Reply

  • Inna
    December 16, 2013

    Наташа, вы такая умничка! Всё у вас делается от сердца и с душой!
    Спасибо!
    Инна Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      Thank you so much Inna. You’re so sweet 🙂 Reply

  • Alena
    December 16, 2013

    Hi! Ohh .. yeah! O.., delicious smells! It looks stylish and very appetizing! Christmas will  come soon!) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      Before we know it! What is it, 9 days left? :-O Thanks for your sweet compliments 🙂 Reply

      • Alena
        December 16, 2013

        Ohh .. yeah!?)) Time rushes, so much to do .., would catch .. Thank you, Natasha, for your great ideas!) Reply

  • Natasha
    December 16, 2013

    Natasha where did you get those rain drops ornaments that are hanging from chadelier? ( Not the round ones) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      I’ve had them for several years now. I bought them at a craft store; maybe JoAnne Fabrics. Reply

  • December 16, 2013

    Gorgeous! You, and your house, and everything. Amazing! A pleasure to look at on Monday morning.:) Anytime a pleasure LOL Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      Aww thanks so much. Nothing like a comment like yours on Monday morning 😉 Reply

  • December 16, 2013

    I’m loving blue tones for a Christmas party. Everything is always red so a turquoise is a nice surprise! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      It was very elegant. Thanks Alla 🙂 Reply

  • Julia
    December 16, 2013

    When I grow up, I want to be just like you. Haha. Seriously, you pulled this off so beautifully! The colors are stunning!! The food looks delicious 🙂 Sometimes I wish my husband’s large family did potlucks too, but MIL & SIL just take care of all the cooking. I think with potlucks you get a bigger variety and taste some dishes you might not have otherwise come across. And of course, it makes the host’s life so much easier. WTG! I enjoy these party posts, your family is so beautiful! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      It definitely does get a bigger variety. There’s no way I could have made all that food without pulling my hair out. lol. Thanks so much for your sweet compliments. I’m totally flattered 🙂 Reply

  • December 16, 2013

    Gorgeous table and great helpful tips, Natasha!I love blue and silver combo, that’s what my tree is decorated with. I am so jealous you have so many sisters!! What a blessing. 🙂 I only have one sister-in-law whom I miss because she is too far away in Canada. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      Julia thank you so much for your sweet compliments. It is such a blessing to have 4 sisters and we are all best friends. I am so so thankful. That must be so hard to have your family so far away from you. Reply

      • December 16, 2013

        Yeah, missing family and friends is the toughest part of living abroad, of course Christmas brings it out so much more. Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          December 16, 2013

          I bet it does. I’m sure it must be gorgeous where you live this time of year. Do people there go all out with their Christmas decor? Reply

          • December 17, 2013

            Not so much with their own houses but London itself looks breathtaking. 🙂 Giant Christmas tree (an annual Christmas gift from Norway:-)) on Trafalgar Square with various church choirs singing carols every night leading up to Christmas and street performers in Covent Garden. It’s a fun place to be. 🙂

          • Natasha
            natashaskitchen
            December 17, 2013

            Sounds like something out of a story book. 🙂

  • alla
    December 16, 2013

    Absolutley beautiful!!!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      Thanks so much 🙂 Reply

  • alla
    December 16, 2013

    Thank you for sharing so much detsils with us!!!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      You’re welcome! It was a really fun post to write 🙂 Reply

  • Olga
    December 16, 2013

    Love your table decor! Everything looks beautiful. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      🙂 Thanks so much Olga Reply

  • natasha
    December 16, 2013

    Looks Lovely!
    Great Ideas-Thanks Natasha Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      Thank you so much 🙂 I love it when other Natasha’s comment. It feels a little like talking to myself though 😉 Reply

  • Yelena
    December 16, 2013

    Christmas is coming way too fast! I’m just not ready.. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2013

      I know it!! I’d like the next 10 days to be in slow motion 🙂 Reply

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