HELP! Want to try a Holiday Open House

GrandmaBarbaraSeptember 27, 2002

I am just finishing my kitchen remodel and will be doing a little redecorating in the front of the house. I am planning on everything being done before Thanksgiving.

My delima - I'd like to host a Holiday Open House. How many hours do they run, how do you calculate the amount of food and can you request RSVPs? What I'm afraid of is that everyone will arrive at the same time and my house isn't that large.

What should I be considering before I commit to this plan?

Thanks for all your help!

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So, who will you invite and what do you want to serve? Someone mentioned staggering the invites so that familles with kids show up early and adults show up later. You could do that with cookies, small sandwiches and mixed family type punch things early in the afternoon and have only those food items out. Later the adults can show up for pumpkin tarts, turkey cubes on toothpicks and adult holiday drinks ... all the stuff not appropriate for kids. Have plenty of salty snacks for the adults also. I am not sure about the RSVP ... but you could ask for one.

Lee AKA Fireraven9
Las cosas claras y el chocolate espeso. (Ideas should be clear and chocolate thick.)
--Spanish proverb

    Bookmark   September 27, 2002 at 2:58PM
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Thank you for your ideas. I want to invite my family (10ish), my husband's family ((12 adults + 4 kids under 5), our friends (60ish) and then I thought maybe all the great craftsmen (16) who worked on our new kitchen. This would be the kitchen's unvailing(sp?) and I hope they would get additional jobs from it.

Yikes, I may need to break up the group. I have a few more minutes (LOL) to think about it.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2002 at 2:18PM
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My sister ran into the dillema of how to manage food around folks who can be coming and going all day, since we don't normally have 'open houses' in this part of the Northeast. Also complicating things was concern over confused guests who may not know what to expect.

Because she wanted to serve fine, hot catered food but could not keep it warm for any extended period, she chose to host a regular holiday 'party' with a start time. It was much easier in terms of serving food, and eliminated any confusion the guests may have about what to expect.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2002 at 5:00PM
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Lee, Thank you for your ideas. I wanted this to be a combination Holiday party and the unvailing (sp?) of my new kitchen.

I want to invite approx. 50-60 people + the 15 craftsmen who worked on my kitchen. I thought it would be nice for my friends and family to meet and speak with them and maybe they'll get additional work.

I like the idea of inviting the families earlier but what if they don't leave. Then I have too many people at one time.

I think I need to re-think this. I might have to divide the parties between family and friends.

Thanks again, Barbara

    Bookmark   September 28, 2002 at 5:44PM
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Send invitations for different times. Ask those with kids for.....say 4 to 6.....ask the next group for 5 to 7....or from 6 to 8. You will have a little overlap, orperhaps a little dead time....but that's OK.
I have been invited to any number of holiday openhouses where the invitation givs a specific time.....
Another way is to hold back to back parties......say one group on Friday night and the next on Saturday. or one group Sat night and the one with kids sunday late afternoon.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 29, 2002 at 12:27PM
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Put some time between the two groups. I have found that overlapping does not always work - especially with children. At the holidays, the more mature adult would like to enjoy conversation and with small children it could be impossible. Having them on different evenings is a great idea, too. I would host one Friday evening and the other Sunday evening. It is alot of work and you need to rest!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2002 at 10:38PM
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When I've had too many people to invite to a party at my house, I have them on two nights - Friday and Saturday. The house is clean and ready for guests, the food is prepared (refrigerate half of whatever you prepare), and you get to rest in between parties. Ideal.

As for Open House type events, I have done as someone above suggested...(altho in our area, kids are not usually invited)...Invitations go out to half the guests for 4-6pm, and the other half from 7-9pm. That way, there's a little 'pick up', as well as 'prepare the rest of the food' time. I invite the "party people" to the 7-9pm. Punch and coffee is served to the first group, and the bar is open for the second group.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2002 at 10:29AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. All are good and worth consideration.

At this time, I'm leaning towards the same day with two different invite times. That way you do all the work and get it over with in the same day, even though it's a long day.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2002 at 12:29PM
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We have a Christmas open house every year. We invite about 100 people. It runs from 7-10. Sometimes it is packed full but most of the time it isn't too bad. People come and go and some can't come because of other holiday parties. I figure the more the merrier and people seem to love walking into a loud festive packed house. It is wild and fun.

I have found that it is really helpful to have my 14 year old and a couple of her friends be in charge of keeping the food and drink area stocked and tidy, picking up trash, and helping people.

Our home is about 3,000 sq ft but we stay in the main areas of the home...except for the kids who usually migrate to our kid's rooms.

Have a great party!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2002 at 1:52PM
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We are thinking of hosting an Open House this year. We live in a retirement community so there won't be any children. I would invite the few neighbors we speak to, as well as several couples from activities in which we participate. The 2 groups don't have much in common, but the thought of 2 parties is too much. I figure they are adults and should be able to deal with it! Any suggestions? Also, since we're older, any good recipes? Thank you.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 8:18AM
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Not at all sure what being "older" has to do with recipes...but an open house is an easy way to entertain, gop for it.
As to recipes, what sorts of things are you looking for?
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 1:56PM
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I guess I should have said different dietary situations as opposed to older. We are in our late 50's, but most of the people we'd invite are around 68+ and several have low-sodium diets, some are diabetic, etc. I would like to serve appetizers and several other items. I like stuffed mushrooms so that's one; I was thinking of veggie entrees or at least lower sodium ingredients in other dishes. I'll have sweets and some sugar-free dessert choices. Just any help with recipes would be good.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 2:44PM
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Well...I am over that age and don't worry about people's diets for a party....however I cook healthy foods and never use canned soups in stuff nor "flavor packets" etc. But I don't worry about natural cheeses, I try to stay away from cured meats. As for the diabetics, just besure to have some veggies and some meat that isn't mixed with lots of bottled sauce and if you are serving a pasta casserole.
I cook meals at church for funeral lunches and I will tell you the average attendee is well over mid 50's.
I have made things like egg and broccoli fritatta, chicken tetrazinni ( not using canned soup but home made baehcmel) Pasta and vegetable salad with a vinaigrette dressing, mixed green salad with my own honey mustard dressing, chicken salad both in sandwiches and aas a main dish. Meatloaf, oven roasted potatoes.
For appetizers you could make meatballs and serve with a home made tomato sauce, or serve a side of poached salmon with a lower fat mayonaise lemon caper sauce.
Or crudites with a dipping sauce made of low fat mayo with curry and lime juice.

Here's a recipe that is generally well liked from sheshebob on these forums
Spinach Brownies -- sheshebop
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
16 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
4 T. butter, melted
1 cup milk
I also added 1/8 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8 x 12 baking pan with cooking spray.
Drain spinach in colander and squeeze out excess moisture. Combine cheese, spinach, and onion in large bowl. Mix. Stir salt and baking powder into flour and mix with the spinach. Mix eggs, butter, milk and stir into other ingredients. Pour into pan. Bake for 30 minutes

Often the best things to serve for a picky crowd are the simpelest...cold shrimp with a couple of dipping sauces, a platter of cheeses. cocktail sized chicken salad sandwiches, whole grain crackers, poached salmon and a tray of sliced copld meats with mini rolls and whole grain breads and some dark grainy mustard.
Those on a low salt diet could eat the simple sliced meats ( I am thinking roast beef, turkey breast, sliced pork) those on a low fat diet could eat the veggies and the dips and the lean meats the diabetics could eat the cheeses, meats and veggies but cut eat only the whole grain breads and crackers...
I think you will find that most people on special diets will limit their intake of certain foods and fill up on the others.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 4:37PM
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I am also planning a holiday open house and have read posts with interest. My question is how do you figure how many people to prepare food for? Should I ask people to RSVP? How many people can I count on to come out of the number I have invited? I have never done an open house but have hosted many other parties. My experience has been that people are not very good about RSVPing.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 5:37PM
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Yvonne Albertyn_Brazil

Punky - we just got through one (it was yesterday). I asked people to RSVP, and everyone did, except for one person. We had about 25 people.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 6:49PM
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