Potluck dinners are a wonderful way to lighten a host’s load, especially during the busy holidays. Share the love, by sharing a variety of food options – this also ensures everyone will enjoy at least one thing on the menu! Here’s how to plan a holiday potluck this year.

  • Send out a mass email, or use a social media website, to invite everyone to sign up for a category. Make sure the meal is balanced with appetizers, a main dish, side dishes, veggies, potatoes, salad, and dessert. Create an event on Facebook that shows the different categories, and where everyone can post their recipes to share with each other. The host should include their own contribution – and it might be best to do the turkey, or other main dish, because of the longer cooking time, and ease of transportation, etc. (if the host takes care of the main dish, the only transportation is from the oven to the table).
  • Suggest that everyone bring dishes that are ready (they just might need heating up). The kitchen will be busy and there might not be room to finish making a dish and then cooking it. As the host, stay on top of what everyone is bringing – and what kind of time is needed in the oven.
  • Be sure there are tables and chairs to accommodate everyone. If you don’t have enough dishes and cutlery, perhaps you can rent or ask family members to help with fold-up chairs, etc.
  • Suggest everyone leave their special dishes at home – they’re not ideal for the chaos and clutter of a potluck. Festive plastic dishes can be purchased at a dollar store, and left behind at the host’s house, which saves from needing to empty your dish and rinse it before bringing it home.
  • Discuss clean-up. Everyone can bring a container to take home some left-overs, which will help tidy up the table. If you do bring a dish that you want to take home, be responsible for taking it “as is”, and cleaning it when you get home. For the hostess, fill the sink (or a large plastic bin) with warm, soapy water, and place dirty dishes into it once you’re done your meal, or put dishes directly into the dishwasher.