When we purchased our new home a few months ago, my husband and I decided to take on the role of hosting the Kirlin Family Holiday dinners. Just his family ~ his parents, his siblings and all the kids {side note: my entire family are in Colorado}. A total of 52! Here's a few tips on how I will do it without losing my mind!

1} Invitation - Create or have someone create an invitation. Let your guests know well in advance of the date and time. I created this invitation and my hubby sent it out via text to his family last night. {almost a month in advance} 

2} Menu - Create a menu. In the past we have always volunteered to bring an item or two but we ALWAYS end up with several desserts - nothing wrong with that other than we could use more of something else. Creating a menu and building around the main dish {turkey} will help solve this issue. 

3} Reminder - Approximately one week prior to the event, send a reminder of important information ~ such as what time dinner will start, where to park, to bring swimsuits or not {after all we do live in Texas} sometimes it is nice enough to swim. 

4} Shopping - Get as much of the non-perishable shopping done the week before to miss the crowds and to be sure you find all the items you are needing and wanting. Wait until a day or two ahead of time to get all the perishables, so they are fresh. 

5} House - Get your house in order for this amount of guests. Make sure you are fully stocked on hand soap, lotion, towels {I use disposable hand napkins when hosting}, toilet paper and anything else you think you may need. If you will have overnight guests, make sure the linens are clean on the beds your guest will be using. Dust and vacuum to make sure the house is clean. I always add a room freshener, such as wall flowers from Bath and Body Works - my favorite is Honeysuckle. It makes the house smell fresh and clean. I also love decorating outside to welcome our guests!

6} Table Setting - For this large of a crowd I would not set a traditional table, but rather a buffet table of sorts. Pull out your large serving trays, platters and bowls and set them in the order you think the food will flow best and try to account for all the food the family will provide. Setting out the plates, napkins, flatware and bread baskets will help save time for the actual day and you won't be scrambling to look for these items when the food arrives. Don't forget to fill the salt/pepper shakers, I usually pull out at least two or three sets so we have enough. Adding fresh vases of flowers around the house instantly adds warmth to your home! 

7} Look over Menu - Make sure to look over the menu {if you have one} for any last minute items you may have forgotten. This year we will go the route we usually do at my in-laws, and have everyone sign up to bring an item or two. If this doesn't go well, I will look at a menu for next year. My hubby doesn't want to change everything - the location and how it has been done WAY before I came into the picture {17+ years ago}! I disagree, I think since it is at our house we can make up the rules! What do you think? 

8} Last Minute Details - go over the house and straighten up - inevitably my kids pull out blankets and toss the throw pillows on the floor in our main living room, so I always need to straighten this room up. Take 15 - 20 minutes for yourself to freshen up your make-up and to pull together your dinner outfit. 

9} Ask for Help - As guests arrive instruct them where to place coats, purses and shoes {we have new carpet upstairs so shoes will need to be removed}Ask for assistance if you feel like you are getting overwhelmed. Have someone replenish food items, pick up trash and anything else you may need help with, after all they are family!

10} Enjoy! You're are ready, go be with your family and have fun! 

I hope these tips will help you feel better about hosting a large dinner crowd anytime, not just for the holidays.