Help Christina Bounce Back From Last Year’s Doomed Holiday Hosting


That movie “Four Christmases”? Totally about me.

All right, well perhaps Reese Witherspoon isn’t exactly my doppelganger, but for my husband and I navigating our two sets of divorced parents has often reflected the comic fodder of the Christmas themed rom-com. While our parents’ relationships range from civil to besties and we’re not exactly stashing them in separate rooms while we sitcom-ishly dart about the house, but it is still four separate households. Four separate families, four separate traditions and four separate Christmases.

Until last year. 

Prior to having our daughter, my husband and I made it our business to attend every gathering our families hosted – all on Christmas Day – made possible only by the fact that these celebrations were all in close proximity to each other. But last year, when our little lady was born and we were still living out in the wild untamed plains of Northern New Jersey while most of our family remained in the Bronx & Yonkers, I took a stand. No, I would not be traversing my 3-month-old hither, tither and yon. To Grandmother’s house we would NOT go. I exercised my right and declared all would be welcome to visit with the baby, but it would be in her own home. I neglected one small detail – this meant I had to host.

Holiday hosting? It didn’t go well.

Simply – I was overwhelmed and ill-prepared to entertain a crowd of people in our already at-capacity one bedroom. This year, I am taking on the challenge again, already set up for success (I’m speaking it in to existence, people!) because I now live in the neighborhood. My theory is to plan a brunch and for the rest of the day accept a steady stream of merry visitors with various treats to share when they arrive.

What could go wrong?!

Seriously, I am hoping nothing. And that is where you lot come in! For starters, my theory on brunch is that there’s a lot of dishes I can make in advance or easily pop in day of with no fuss– coffee cake, strata, spiral ham. This leaves me free for Christmas Eve visiting and also for a frenzy-free Christmas Day. As much as I long for simplicity, I also want the menu to be special enough to be memorable, sealing my fate as the “Holiday House” and celebrating the near-future Christmases at ho-ho-home.

So help me out! I would love to hear your suggestions. Any killer make ahead brunch meals? I’m looking out for latke tips (my step-father is Jewish and I have never tackled them, but would love to this year). Also, what do you guys think I should have on hand for the trickling visitors? I was thinking along the lines of ready-made pizza dough with tons of toppings at the ready. I know this might seem a little casual for Christmas day but I just love the idea of lounge-y, relaxing, stress-free holiday. (Since last year was anything but!)

You can comment here, or Tweet me @Teenstered & I promise to let you know how this all turns out.

-Christina Halpin



About Author

Anjanette Delgado is the mobile editor at The Journal News and She's working on tablet and smartphone publishing. She came to The Journal News from California, where she was the managing editor of The Salinas Californian and El Sol newspapers. Twitter: @AnjDelgado


  1. One foolproof holiday appetizer is dates stuffed with sausage and wrapped in bacon. My cousin’s wife brought this a few times to our holiday gatherings, and now I have a pavlovian salivation response whenever I see her.

  2. Welcome to the Small Bites blogosphere! Here’s two suggestions keeping in mind Liz’s sage advice to make as much in advance as possible. I made this Spinach and Pancetta breakfast strata from Giada one year for brunch company ( and this recipe for potato pancakes has never failed me ( or you can try fellow blogger WestchesterFoodie’s Latkes ( Please let us know how everything turned out. May the culinary force be with you.

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