1- Entertaining for all ages: Make sure you have food items that will cater to all ages, along with the old family recipes or pot luck foods, prepare food that picky eaters will enjoy as well; like chicken fingers, pasta. It's always fun to introduce traditional family recipes to the kids but sometimes it's hard to make sure they've eaten enough at large family parties. Especially with all the sweets around. Joanna recommends checking to make sure there are no food allergies. This will show you really took the time to consider everyone!
2- Table Decor- This is such a fun and create part of entertaining. But don't forget, the kids won't want to sit at the table for long. Incorporate holiday crafts for the kids on the table and this will help keep them in their seats longer and make your meal more enjoyable! Try having crayons or markers at the table with paper, you can print out holiday prints or activities like these from http://www.dltk-holidays.com/xmas/worksheets.htm. Take it even further and have snowflake shaped paper. Simply take a few sheets of white paper and cut out the shape. Here's how... Instructables.com. Joanna recommends having the kids decorate their own Gingerbread Cookies. Make your own or try this simple kit. Wilton Holiday Gingerbread Cookie Kit
3- Family Christmas Stories- This is something everyone will enjoy, not just the kids! Have everyone write their favorite family christmas or holiday story on a paper and put in a center bowl. Then as the dinner goes on you can take turns pulling out a paper and reading the story. This is a fun way to share memories and walk down memory lane. The kids will love hearing all the stories!!
4- Hot Cocoa Station- Make a DIY hot chocolate station for the kids (adults will love this too!) Prepare hot cocoa and put in a warming pitcher.. check out this one from Greville. Then, have marshmallows, cinnamon, whipped cream and candy canes on the table so your guests can make it their way! To avoid spills you can buy the to-go coffee cups like these from Bed Bath and Beyond by Dixie. For adults you can also provide rum or try this recipe from Baileys that is a favorite in my family, Baileys Irish Cream Recipe. Not huge hot chocolate lovers? Well, Joanna always serves a drink called Scropino. It's Prosecco, a splash of vodka and a scoop of lemon sorbet! "Add a sprig of rosemary to make it festive" says Joanna. For the kids, try sparkling water and a scoop of lemon sorbet.
5. Seasonal Produce- Joanna recommends making the most of seasonal items. Shop the local market and find out what is only available during the holidays. It's a fun way to try new recipes and the seasonal produce is always fresher and riper. Her kids love the Cotton Candy Grapes that actual taste like cotton candy. Amazing, right?! But for adults try something like this amazing lettuce that is only available during certain months of the year. See more benefits to buying seasonally!