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Ideas for Serving a Christmas Buffet Supper
Buffet style suppers are perfect for Christmas parties. As the host you can present a beautifully decorated banquet of food with a simple menu and a few well-chosen decorations.
Start with an easy-to-prepare menu such as ham or turkey, roasted potatoes, sautéed vegetables, and angel food cake for dessert. Include appetizers and candies for your guests to nibble on throughout the evening.
Basic Table Design
Decorate a smaller table for the appetizers and candies using the same design as your main table, which reflects the holiday colors and decorations. Place the appetizer table near the bar or in the main gathering room of the party. This allows your guests to enjoy the nibbles anytime during the festivities. Don't forget to provide small plates for your guests to carry these nibbles away with them.
For the main buffet table, the one on which you'll place the main meal, use a solid color tablecloth in dark green or dark blue. Drips and minor spills are less likely to show up on these colors.
Along the back of the table, place several Christmas themed decorations, such as ceramic Santas, reindeer, and elves. Create a "line-up" of these, and alternate them. You could also use candles in silver candlesticks for a more sophisticated look, or wrap boxes in Christmas paper and create small bunches of presents.
The idea is to keep the decorative elements at the back of the table, so your guests can enjoy them without having to reach around them to get to the food.
Laying the Table
Use serving ware and dinnerware that coordinate with the design you've chosen. For example, if you've chosen a forest green cloth and ceramic santas, select dinnerware with small Christmas trees around the border. If you've decided on a more sophisticated table, use dinnerware in a subtle pattern that includes the color of the tablecloth.
To liven up the serving area, use a bright gold table runner, or strategically placed Christmas ornaments in contrasting colors near the serving dishes.
Opt for three different colors of napkins, preferably red, white and green. Wrap the silverware in the napkins and tie the bundles with bits of ribbon. The silverware and napkins, then, add a decorative and functional element to the table.
Place the plates next to the bundled silverware. Both the plates and napkin bundles should be at the end of the table where you want your guests to begin serving themselves. It's important to create a traffic flow, so your guests aren't standing in line in a tight space or trying to reach over each other for plates and food.
Place the food on the table beginning with the main course. After the main course, place the potatoes and then vegetables. The rolls are next, followed by condiments, sauces or gravies.
As the host, you should then see to drinks for your guests as they seat themselves. Having to carry dinner and a drink often leads to spills and other awkward moments.
And that's it for your supper.
Set the Dessert Table
Once you've seen to it that everyone has had their supper, clear the main table and set up for dessert.
Use the same layout, with fresh plates, napkins and silverware. Place the bundle silverware at the end of the table, just as you did with the supper buffet.
If you're serving cake, have several slices already on a large platter with a cake-serving spatula. Guests then needn't cut into the cake themselves. As the host, you can cut more slices as needed.
Place carafes of coffee and coffee cups on the table following the dessert selection. At the end of the table, set up a selection of after-dinner liqueurs or cordials with cordial glasses. Include brandy snifters if serving brandy . Your guests can then have after-dinner drinks at their leisure.