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Dinner for 54 Please


My grandmother put me in charge of the family Christmas meal this year. I was very honored that she trusted me with it. (But that doesn’t mean she just hands it off and lets me go, as I’m sure any of you who have taken over from the matriarch from your family can understand.)

We counted and there are 54 family members expected. 54!

The Menu

She gave me a menu, told me what she was cooking and some notes and has mostly let it go. And by mostly, I mean I only get once daily questions about specifics and questions asking if I have it under control.

We are going for a semi-traditional meal that will satisfy my 91 year old grandmother, 70ish year old aunts and uncles, my first cousins and all the way down to the youngest great-great-great grandchildren who around toddlers. Yes, this is fun!

Here’s what I have settled on:

Chicken & Dumplings
Giblet Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Mac N Cheese
Green Bean Casserole
Green Beans (for those that don’t like the casserole)
Hawaiian Rolls (Grandmama was very specific on this one)
Deviled Eggs

And of course, I need to get all the paper products and ice for drinks.

Thankfully with so many coming, it was easy to make calls and divide up the bulk of the list. The kids and I are bringing the ham, green bean casserole and deviled eggs. All things we have readily on hand. (Princess is getting quite famous for her deviled eggs. People have even paid her to make them for their events.)

Calls made, assignments agreed too, pressure off. Now to just keep my Grandmother satisfied until dinner on Sunday!

Before We Lived Here

When I was a child, we would return to Georgia about once a year and typically at Christmas time. Both my sets of Grandparents lived here, and it was a time we looked forward to.

Me, age 12 with two of my younger brothers, all set for the Christmas program.

I had moved 18 times as a missionary kid before I graduated from college. These yearly trips that continued through high school were really the only consistency I had growing up.

After college, I never had another big family Christmas until we moved here. And even though I am not particularly close to my extended family here, this time is special to me and something I always wanted for my own kids. I’m really glad they will get to experience it for a few years before spreading their wings.

We eat a big meal, read the Christmas story, sing the 12 Days of Christmas (much to my cousin and I’s chagrin,) give my Grandmother her gifts and receive gifts from her. It is a fun time and most every tries their best to be there for this big day.

The Future

As family’s spread out for work and such, I know fewer and fewer families that have these large Christmas gatherings. It makes me sad. And I fear that will be our future. But for now, I am grateful for the chance to help organize our Christmas meal.

Have you found that your family Christmas gets smaller every year. Or is your family one that everyone makes the effort to get together, working around all the crazy family schedules and make time to celebrate together?



  • Reply Lauren |

    1.) The pop up ads have made this site nearly unreadable. I hope the admins will correct this.

    2.) Is providing food for 54 people in your budget? I don’t believe any of this was included in your Holiday costs in previous posts. How much does ham, green bean casserole, and deviled eggs for 54 cost? How would you already have 4 hams and 5 dozen eggs on hand?

  • Reply SMS |

    It sounds lovely. I do wonder if you are volunteering for too much – three dishes, plus paper goods and ice for 54. That will cost quite a bit. Can you ask someone else to do some of that?

    • Reply Scooze |

      Agreed. The ham will be a lot of $$$. Can you ask someone else to provide that, and then bring the other two dishes?

  • Reply Mindy |

    I echo the sentiments shared by the others. 54 people and YOU are coordinating the gathering and bringing approximately 25-30% of the needed items? What the hot ham sandwich is going on? If people are traveling to this event from out of town and can’t easily transport a dish, let them pick up the paper products, ice, etc. There are other ways to let people know you love them without overextending yourself.

So, what do you think ?