Do you want to know how to host a big Easter gathering in the midst of your already insanely busy life? Keep it simple…keep it very, very simple.
We had between fifty and sixty people at our house on Sunday. My family and Signe’s accounted for 24 people in the crowd; fortunately quite of few of them were small and didn’t require much space. I have to confess that part of what I love about having a big crowded party is that nobody expects perfection. Not many of us can host a sit-down dinner for fifty. So what does feeding a crowd like this entail? You may not be interested, but just in case you are, I’ll tell you exactly how we did it.
- I did not prepare all of the food…not even close. I called my friends and told them I was keeping it very simple and asked them what they wanted to bring. I’ll get to our menu in a moment.
- We served the food buffet-style; plates at the beginning of the line, followed by main dishes, side dishes, salads, a veggie platter, breads and rolls. I always put the basket of silverware and napkins at the end of the line so people don’t have as much to hold while they are serving their plates. Drinks and desserts were on the kitchen island.
- There were no fancy dishes. I used large paper plates for dinner, small paper plates for dessert, plastic cups in two sizes (kids and adults), and plastic forks/knives. I did use real wine glasses ($1.00 each at Walmart).
- We gathered in the kitchen/family room to sing the Doxology and pray, then the kids went through the line, followed by the women, and wrapping up with the men. I prefer to get my kids served before I get my own food, then I can relax while I eat.
- We reserved our big (10 ft.) table for the kids in the hope that spills would be contained there. Everyone else ate in the family room or living room.
- We like to have an Easter egg hunt or some fun activity. One year Russ created a complex treasure hunt based on GPS coordinates and clues. This year…well, let’s just say I stuck with my theme of keeping it simple. Signe and I both bought plastic eggs and candy. We set the big kids to work filling the eggs while we finished up getting the meal ready. After dinner, the big kids hid the eggs around the yard and the little kids had fun finding them – pretty easy for the adults.
Our menu was embarrassingly simple, but since you already know that I was keeping it simple, I’ll share it here.
I cooked two hams in my roasting oven, a huge pan of “Party Potatoes” (high fat and simple holiday fare) in my regular oven, a beautiful veggie platter and dip (made entirely by Dimples – who needed a task to calm herself down), rolls (from the store) and 48 cupcakes. I had big plans for special desserts, but ended up baking cupcakes after our early church service. Fortunately I had Easter cupcake papers and pretty sprinkles which looked festive on homemade frosting.
My friends brought another ham, cooked vegetables (a combination of carrots, asparagus, and sugar snap peas), two quiches, challah bread, hot cross buns, an amazing green salad, two chocolate cakes, apple pie, plum pudding, angel food cake with strawberries, and probably a few more things I am forgetting.
For beverages I mixed cranberry juice with sprite (very fancy), friends brought wine, the college guys brought soda, and we had lots of decaf with dessert.
Once the younger kids were done eating, we cleared the table and the adults gathered around it talking for the next few hours. At the end of the day, we gathered all of the garbage, sent friends home with their mostly empty dishes, swept the floor, and put things it away.
How’s that for keeping it simple?
Most of all, let’s remember that Easter is a day for rejoicing and celebrating Christ’s resurrection! What better way than to spend the day with family and friends, feasting, laughing, hugging, and enjoying God’s blessings.
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