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The perfect Christmas Buffet

Forego the traditional, full-service, sit-down meal and opt instead for a buffet-style serving.

Follow these three steps and yours will be a gathering remembered with fondness by both your guests and you.

1. Divide and Conquer

A few days before your gathering, clear most items off your kitchen countertops, table, island and dining room buffet. Convert each area into a serving station where foods will be grouped by category. At each serving station, stack plates so diners needn't traipse off to the table for one. Pre-fill glasses with ice and beverages for quick pick-up. Preset the table with napkins and flatware.

2. Control the Crowd

Don't think twice about placing tables in multiple rooms. That's better than crowding everyone together or asking guests to balance plates on laps while sitting on your sofa. To seat people quickly (and without a fuss), use place cards.

3. Keep It Simple

Flowers in a vase are so last year. Instead, style up the buffet with an eye-catching "Gratitude Tree," a sculptural bronze metal tabletop tree festooned with ribboned tree tags. Guests write what they're thankful for on tags and after dinner's done, take turns reading. (SOURCE: Contenido Latino)

Photo: Contexto Latino

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