Do the Holidays (50-60 Guests)


SUE  (…More of that “joie de vivre” … HO … HO… HO!!!)

It’s that time of year that just energizes you.  Everyone is checking items off of  long “to do” lists, myself included.  My list seems to  grow each year.  I struggle to find the perfect surprise for everyone and I fret over every purchase. Weaving through the ultimate pre-teen shopping destination, with its holiday music blaring, I go back and forth.  Are the jeans in my hand edgy but still conservative enough for one granddaughter.  Will this scarf be sparkly and fabulous enough for the other?

Deep in my heart, I know the perfect gift is the treasured memories we are creating as a family.  My six grandchildren scream with joy, hugging and kissing  each other as they arrive at our house in Buck Hill Falls for the holiday.  I realize how blessed we are, as everyone leaves our celebration yelling from the car windows “we love you… we love you”. That is truly my perfect holiday gift.


MIMI  (…More Confessions)

I am a practical and logical person.  However, during the holidays I become surprisingly unhinged.  I turn into a hopelessly incurable romantic.  It all  starts while I watch every minute of the Thanksgiving Day parade.  I well up with tears at commercials and when Santa arrives at the end of the parade.  From that moment until New Year’s Day,  I can only focus on decorating, baking, relaxing to Christmas music and seeing how beautiful the city looks for the holidays.

My fondest childhood recollection is of my sister and me cutting a tree down at the local tree farm and decorating it on Christmas Eve. The two happiest moments of my life occurred on New Year’s Eve.  The love of my life proposed and then one year later we got married in the home we built together.  No wonder I am literally transformed every December.  I basically turn into Sue — HA!


Mimi and I were planning the holiday celebration.  When you combine my normal, everyday exuberance for celebrating with Mimi’s inexplicable “December transformation” our party grew from “festive and fun-filled” (with about 14 guests) to “splashy and celebratory” and invited more than 50 of our neighbors in Buck Hill Falls.

I suggested Mimi’s house as the ideal place for a holiday celebration.  It’s got a vaulted ceiling so there is a massive Christmas tree and the centerpiece of the room is a gigantic fireplace separating the living and dining room.  We went on a little shopping spree to Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel to buy decorations for the dining room table and the chandelier, aiming for a sparkling winter wonderland.

I say:  “What’s a holiday celebration without a little champagne?”  My husband says:  “If I could, I’d drink nothing but champagne.”  So, that settled it.   We decided a truly festive welcome for the guests would be a champagne toast.   Here’s the menu we finally came up with.

“Old School” Crudite


English Stilton


Aged Gouda

Herbed Goat Cheese

Parmigiano Reggiano



Truffled Mousse Pate


“Drunken” Shrimp

Caviar Decked Cucumber Slices

Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche Canapes


Savory Sherried Mushrooms in Phyllo Cups

Beef “Sushi”

“Diva’s Devilish” Mini Chicken Pot Pie


Pulled Pork Sliders

Fancy Roasted potatoes and Creamy Dip


Miniature Cupcakes

Strawberries with Whipped Cream for Dipping


Nicolas Feuillatte Brut

Toasted Head Chardonnay 2011

Chateau St. Jean 2011

Sola Meritage 2007

Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone 2009

Di Majo Norante Sangiovese 2011

Sounds like a lot of food doesn’t it?  Check out that table … that was only part of the menu we served.


So, my thoughts on the table were that we should put out as much as possible so that we would not be spending the entire celebration in the kitchen.  I just think that the point of a celebration is to spend time with your guests.  Mimi and I parted ways on how to serve the food.  In the end, I think she knew that I was right.  The sliders, roasted potatoes and half of the mini chicken pot pies were self-serve from the table, replacing the sea food canapes throughout the evening.

As for decorating,  I told Mimi (who I think should just let loose a little) to toss around some large and small crystals for sparkle.  I think it provided some more “glitz” to the splashy and celebratory mood.

Alright, I admit it!  Sue was right and I was wrong.   Absolutely, with a party of this  size, it’s better to pass fewer items and to serve  as much as possible from the table.  I am very happy that I overcame my customary stubborn nature and listened to  Sue.  She  was also right about decorating the table.  The extra bling really made it sparkle.

But, did we pull this whole thing  off?  Were there one or two surprises in store?  Follow the Diva to our website for the whole minute by minute story.