Planning a Potluck for Christmas


Potlucks have been a sweet southern tradition for years. Typically thrown during the summer, potlucks provide an opportunity to share delicious food while gathering with family and friends. This holiday season, keep the festivities going by hosting a Christmas potluck! With all the chaos that comes with the holidays, dividing the cooking responsibility among guests is cost-efficient, time-saving, and fun! Whether hosting a large group of people, or an intimate small circle, you can follow these tips to throw together a holly, jolly Christmas potluck!

1.) Send Invitations: Your potluck won’t be very successful if you’re the only one there! The first step to planning a potluck for Christmas is getting the word out. Whether you’re sending physical invitations in the mail or broadcasting through a mass text, include essential details such as the date, time, and location. Invitation templates with seasonal designs can be found online for downloading and printing. Make sure you send invitations several weeks in advance so people have time to plan accordingly during such a busy time of year.

2.) Create a Signup Sheet: Though not entirely necessary, a signup sheet is a great way to get RSVPs and figure out what dish everyone plans to bring. This can be done a number of ways, but a Google form or Google doc is an easy platform to set up categories. You can create columns for appetizers, desserts, main courses, and drinks where people can write their names and/or what they plan to bring. An organized system that is available to all guests prevents a situation where everyone brings desserts or you end up with five green bean casseroles! As the host, you should always make a few dishes to contribute.

3.) Set Up: Depending on your group size, the potluck may require different setup levels. Smaller gatherings can usually get away with placing all of the dishes on the table and digging in. If you’re expecting a larger group, you’ll need to maximize space in both the serving and dining areas. Clear plenty of counter space so guests can place their dishes along the counter as they arrive. Since several dishes may come in crockpots or warmers, it is important to have several outlets available along the counter. A signup sheet with information about everyone’s dish will help determine the number of outlets that will be needed. Place plates at the front of the “buffet line” and utensils at the end. The dining area should be separate from the serving area to avoid crowding. You can get creative with the setup of your serving and dining space but always keep in mind practicality and convenience for guests! Regardless of your gathering’s size, make the layout festive with red and green tablecloths, Christmas plates, and other seasonal decorations.

4.) Cleanup: Make cleanup easy by providing leftover containers. Guests can move through the line at the end of the night and take some of their favorites home for later. Doing this will lighten the cleanup and allow your guests to go home with lunch tomorrow! Start the big cleanup of breaking down tables, doing dishes, and returning the space to normal only once everyone has left.

Show your guests that a traditional southern potluck can be modified for the holidays. ‘Tis the season for deviled eggs, casseroles, pies, and 9x13 desserts!