Easter for a Crowd

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.

~Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

6 Comments

  1. Laurel
    April 8, 2010

    Sounds just like the parties we like to throw. Simple … fun … and relaxing … while keeping the fellowship the priority. We had 32 people in our VERY small borrowed cabin, for Jim's 50th birthday last month.

    Laurel

    Reply
  2. Julie
    April 8, 2010

    What a wonderful way to celebrate! I'm all for keeping it simple!

    Reply
  3. Stacy
    April 8, 2010

    Oh my goodness…what a blast. I LOVE family get togethers…the bigger the better!

    Reply
  4. amy
    April 8, 2010

    Thanks so much for the glimpse into your family life. We decided to keep Easter simple, and we only invited one other family, and they only have 2 kids. Perfect for our current adult-child-ratio! It was my first time making a traditional easter dinner (i'm a young single woman and haven't felt the urge to dive in to domestic-goddess status previously). I was a nervous wreck as the meat was cooking (we had to serve at least 12 of the 23 attendees with mine!), but it went fine. Spent the week at the government hospital in Soweto experiencing a tonsillectomy for one of my girls. She is feeling ok, and is now home. Happy! grace grace Lisa.

    Reply
  5. Signe
    April 9, 2010

    Andrew's Dad did ask if the plastic cups were for red or white wine. We assured him it went well with both. It was lovely, and I am so glad you let us join you.

    Reply
  6. Michelle
    April 19, 2010

    Thanks so much for the glimpse into your family life. We decided to keep Easter simple, and we only invited one other family, and they only have 2 kids. Perfect for our current adult-child-ratio! It was my first time making a traditional easter dinner (i’m a young single woman and haven’t felt the urge to dive in to domestic-goddess status previously). I was a nervous wreck as the meat was cooking (we had to serve at least 12 of the 23 attendees with mine!), but it went fine. Spent the week at the government hospital in Soweto experiencing a tonsillectomy for one of my girls. She is feeling ok, and is now home. Happy! grace grace Lisa.

    Reply

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