Food traditions are commonly followed in planning menus for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. This is also the case, although to a lesser extent, for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day parties. Thanksgiving and Christmas are usually family affairs to which we may invite close friends and sometimes include a few strangers far from home who will appreciate particularly an invitation to dinner at holiday time.

A simple but plentiful meal is usually the choice. In many households, the same menu is served year after year, and the family looks upon even minor changes with a cold eye. They are more interested in the turkey and fixin’s and are so hungry for these that an introductory course is often omitted. Parties for New Year’s Eve are usually buffet style and often cooperative. The hour at which refreshments are served is elastic-it may be any time up to or after midnight.

The menu will be little different from that at any buffet meal (see chapter on “Buffet Suppers”). Instead of the usual drinks, you may like to offer hot buttered rum or a hot mulled wine, so suitable for the cold crisp weather common at this season. Desserts are sure to include fruit cake and holiday cookies. On New Year’s Day, the eggnog party is popular, and we will ask friends to drop in between certain specified hours. These may be around noonday or in the late afternoon. Dainty sandwiches, salted nuts, fruit cake and cookies, and a bowl of nuts and raisins are all that are needed to accompany the eggnog.

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