Looking for a unique party idea this Christmas season? Consider a progressive dinner party, whereby a group of friends plan a meal together. Then each couple prepares and serves one course at their home. The party moves from place to place during the night.

  • Eight to 10 people (four to five couples) is a nice number for progressive dinner parties. Keep in mind, the more people and courses involved, the more time you'll need for the party.
  • Course options include appetizers, soup and/or salad, main course, cheese or vegetable course, dessert and after-dinner drinks.
  • Have a representative from each couple meet to discuss the menu. Look for recipes that have make-ahead qualities. (Each host should also provide beverages that suit their dish.) Determine who will take each course and decide on a schedule for the evening.
  • Allow 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours at each location (the appetizer course may need less time while the entree may need more). Travel times will depend upon the distance between each home.

Appetizers

The host of the Progressive Dinner Party's first course has a little less pressure to get things done in advance. But there are some do-ahead elements that will make entertaining even easier.

Try serving Pinecone-Shaped Blue Cheese Spread which you can make early in the day and refrigerate. Just before guests arrive, unmold, garnish with nuts and serve with crackers.

Have the ingredients for cocktails ready to go on your counter. But make the drinks as requested by guests.

Make-Ahead Main Course

The main course can be the most challenging part of a progressive dinner. But with a Brisket with Cranberry Gravy and Sesame Broccoli, dinner can be served in a dash.

Dazzling Desserts

The dessert course is great to host because sweet treats can be made in advance.

Make the Peppermint Angel Roll two days in advance.

Bake Chocolate Mint Cream Cake the day before.

Remove the torte from the freezer 10 minutes before serving and garnish as desired.

Last Course Lessons

End the evening on a sweet note with after-dinner drinks and Apricot Sesame Cookies cookies.

In the morning, prepare the glasses dipped in chocolate to be used for the Viennese Coffee; refrigerate.

Before leaving for the first house, start the coffee in the slow cooker and grate the chocolate.

Whip the cream and refrigerate. Stir the cream before using.