How to Host Your First Family Holiday Dinner


You just bought your first house, and the first thing you said when you saw those French doors leading to that formal dining room was, “I’m going to have my family here for Christmas!” Unfortunately, your mom was standing next to you when you said that, and now your entire family is coming to your new house on Christmas Eve. Fear not! You can honor tradition and infuse your own fire into the holidays, all with minimal stress.

First, decorate your house. It’s your first home, and you’re going to need decorations. Take some from your childhood, get some new ones that match the old ones, and spread the cheer all over the house. Don’t underestimate the power of a nice holiday finger towel in the half bath.

Next, count your dishes. This is to make sure you have enough, not so you can tell if your relatives steal from you. You’ve never hosted a family holiday dinner. Get RSVPs and buy extra plates and forks, just in case.

Then, don’t do it all by yourself. Ask your family to bring things. Wine, food, plates, chairs —whatever you need. Families coming together and helping each other is what the holidays are about, and yours will be happy to make your first Christmas dinner in your new house a success.

Lastly, make sure your signature dessert pops. This is the last thing your guests will eat before they leave. This dessert will let your family know Christmas at your house is going to be special for years to come.


Blueberry Streusel Bread Pudding


7 cups cubed Aunt Millie's Cinnamon Swirl Bread

3 eggs

2 c. milk

1/3 c. sugar

1 c. fresh blueberries

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

3 Tbsp. chopped almonds


¼ c. flour
¼ c. butter, cubed
¼ c. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. chopped almonds

Caramel sauce


½ c. sugar

¼ c. flour

½ c. butter, melted

½ c. brown sugar

½ c. milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. The night before serving, place half of the bread into a lightly greased 9” x 13” baking pan. Top with half of the blueberries and almonds. Top with remaining bread cubes, and finally the remaining blueberries and almonds.

  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs with milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour this mixture over the casserole, making sure bread is completely covered by the mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or you can bake immediately if desired.

  3. To make the streusel, mix together the flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture with a fork until pebble sized crumbs form. Stir in the almonds. Sprinkle over the bread pudding.

  4. Place into a preheated 350 degree oven.

  5. Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes until golden brown.

  6. Meanwhile to create caramel sauce: Mix the sugars, flour, butter and milk over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it thickens. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, and cool slightly before using.

  7. Serve hot with the warm caramel sauce drizzled over the top.

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