Choosing the right food has a huge impact on any holiday event you plan. This is greatly due to the fact that there is an emotional connection between food and holidays for most. Food along with the venue, can help set the mood for either a splendid time or an emotional let down. Therefore, if you spend time planning the perfect menu, it can lead to your guests heading home feeing satisfied on all levels.
Venue in Relation to Food for the Holiday
When you plan a holiday event, the food must match the venue. Therefore you must envision your guest in the venue which you are planning.
If you are planning indoors, envision the guests indoors, sitting around a large table having a conversation? What foods would encourage the atmosphere you are picturing? Maybe it is steak and potatoes or simply a make your own salad bar. Do you want to serve family style from the center of the table or buffet style? Family style is my preference, because, I believe it creates a sense of comfort and openness.
If out doors is your venue, picture the guests walking around with paper plates, sitting in chairs with the plate on their lap. What foods would facilitate a stress free environment. You do not want someone to have to cut up a chicken breast on a paper plate on their lap with a plastic knife. Can you see the frustration building? For this reason, it would be wise to choose something easy to hold as well as easy to work with for an outside venue. Hamburgers, hotdogs or tacos would be a good choice. Or to kick it up a notch, how about Kabobs. Kabobs are easy yet make a statement. I attached an article I found about how to give an outside taco party. it had some good ideas to pull from when considering food and venue.
1 lb of cubed meat (beef or chicken) for each 4 to 5 guests, marinate the cubes in 1 cup or olive oil and 1/2 cup of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste in a zip lock baggie overnight. whatever color of bell peppers you love cut into quarters or eights mushrooms whole or halved onions cut into quarters or eights cherry tomatoes skewer the ingredients alternating between all of the ingredients until your skewer is full up to about an inch and a half from the end Throw them on the grill until cooked to your liking.
Emotions and Food for the Holiday
Again, when you plan your event, envision your guests. What do you see? What do you want to see? Do you see smiling faces, comfortable postures as they sit and carry on great conversations? Or, do you see people playing games, with lots of laughter and excitement? What emotions are you trying to create here?
Food plays into that emotional build up. Certain foods at holidays bring comfort and make us feel at home. Other foods remind us of fun times playing with our families, like smores.
Write down what success looks like to you. Do not be afraid to dream. It is your dream. And, if it does not all come true, do not stress. You are not perfect! just be the best you can be.
Examples of Dreaming (brainstorming) what you want to see
For example, if I am talking about Christmas or Thanksgiving:
I have a vision of everyone sitting around the table, sipping their second cup of coffee after desserts are long gone, still chatting and enjoying each other. Their posture, relaxed, maybe leaning on the table, leaning into the conversation. Some of the conversations going deep, some light but everyone is still engaged. Above all, everyone is satisfied by the great meal which lead to the deep conversations and growing relationships.
In contrast, if I am talking about a summer holiday:
I would envision everyone outside, hanging out around the pool or the fire. Because the food was satisfying and abundant, guests are feeling free to grab another coke or even another burger while playing a game of Jumbo Jenga. As the evening continues to grow dark, I light the candles so we can see. Maybe someone gets out an instrument and begins a sing along by the fire. Everyone is laid back, postures loose, people still munching on chips or dessert. There is laughter and excitement in the air as the evening fades.
I can feel it all now. What joy your families will have when you have spent time planning in this way.
How to Start Planning
1. To plan all of this you need to start brainstorming. Envision the feelings you want to elicit – comfort, belonging, joy or a sense of playfulness and excitement. Get a good picture in your head of what that looks like. Picture certain people you know will be there. What do you want them to take away when they leave your home?
2. Next consider the seating and the overall venue. This will geatly influence the types of food that will be served. Consider the time of year and the weather. As well as what other activities ou will be doing. If the menu does not fit the venue, people may be dissatisfied and you may not achieve the feel you are looking for. Above all, make sure the menu enhances whatever you will be doing.
Time to get started planning your next party . Below I have attached a printable to assist in your brainstorming process and getting a to do list going. Choosing the right food for any holiday is easy if you simply use these steps and plan.
Finally, do not stress. Remember, the point of this blog is peace through the holidays. Plan, pray and play! It will all come together. Your family will be blessed.