PROGRESSIVE NEIGHBORHOOD CHRISTMAS DINNER
Updated: Dec 14, 2021
We are always looking for unique ways to celebrate with each over here on Jasmine. December is certainly a busy month for everyone, but we still think it's important to gather and celebrate the holiday season together....all 19 of us! If you have a similar neighborhood or friend group - this progressive dinner is a blast and we are excited to give you all of the details!
The idea of a Progressive dinner came from the lovely Grandma of one of our Jasmine ladies. She would tell stories of how her family and friends would go from house to house on one block progressively eating a 4-5 course meal while stopping at each neighbor. This was an awesome opportunity to see everyone's Christmas tree and decor + spend some quality time with each other!
Since all of our Jasmine families live either directly next door to each other or just a few houses apart, we thought this would be such a fun and different gathering! And so it began....and 2021 marks our FIFTH progressive neighborhood dinner!
WHAT IS A PROGRESSIVE DINNER?
As mentioned above, this entails visiting all 5 of our houses, with a different course at each one. It generally looks something like this:
House 1: Cocktails
House 2: Appetizers
House 3: Soup/Salad
House 4: Main Entrée
House 5: Dessert
Each year, we switch up the order of the houses so each family gets to feature a different course. Eventually, after years of progressive dinners, each family will get to host each item!
FUN FACT: We call house 1 the "Cocktail house"...but in reality each house makes a signature cocktail to go with their course. Is it a lot of drinking? YES...Did we have a headache from mixing ALL of the types of alcohol? ALSO YES. Do we regret it? NOPE!
A progressive dinner can be done at any point in the year, not just the holidays. We choose Christmas time so we can all enjoy the decorations we spend so much time on each year. It's a great time to have company when your house is all decked out and festive!
GAMES AND ACTIVITIES
If you have been following along with us, you know we like to add some extra fun into the gatherings on our block! Especially so that the kids have some games, etc to fill the time. For our progressive dinner we usually incorporate the following:
Kids Gift Exchange A few weeks before progressive day, we will put all of the kid's names in bowl and each family will take turns picking names to purchase a Secret Santa gift! We usually set this gift limit to $10. Since the kids are ALWAYS excited about this part, we let them exchange gifts at the very first house we stop at.... WIN WIN....kids get gifts, and the adults get to enjoy a cocktail!
Games for Adults and Kids These can vary from year-to-year, we have done Minute To Win It style games, scavenger hunts, and some drinking games for the adults (beer pong, etc.). We typically play games around house 3 to break the evening up a little. Check out the details below for what we played this year!
Adult White Elephant Exchange All adults bring a gift with a limit of $20 that can work for both the ladies and men. We then pick names out of a bowl and start picking gifts, stealing is allowed, and things can get a little intense :) You never quite know what will be in those packages...will you get something amazing, or something, well.... quite comical.
We've listed each house in detail below in an attempt to give you an idea of how we setup for this event! It's always a surprise walking into each stop and seeing how everyone has decorated and displayed their courses.
HOUSE 1: COCKTAILS + KIDS GIFT EXCHANGE
This is the "Happy Hour" house, the warmup for the whole evening. We also do the kids exchange at the first house each year so they can calm down and enjoy the rest of the evening.
The first house is technically just drinks, but we had a little something to munch on incase bellies were empty. Our Christmas charcuterie turned out so cute and you really cannot go wrong with some cheese, crackers, and grapes to keep the crowd happy.
We take our assignment very seriously so on the beverage menu for the first stop was:
Cranberry Lemon Drop Martini (keep an eye out for a future Toast to Tuesday)
Hot Chocolate Shot
Assorted Beer Selection
Christmas punch for the kiddos
Everyone rolled in and the holiday festivities began. Lots of tearing of wrapping paper and giggles seeing what all of their Jasmine friends selected for them for the gift exchange. After the kids finished, the adults did their first (but certainly not their last) shot of the night and got ready to move on to the next stop.
HOUSE 2: APPETIZERS
House number two is where we start to introduce food to help with the cocktail hour that we just enjoyed.
There are so many options with appetizers, do we go casual? Fancy? Sometimes having so many options makes it hard to decide... so this Jasmine lady asked her Jasmine husband and he suggested nachos without hesitation! Since he is the cook in this household... nachos it is! We made 3 options... chicken nachos, beef nachos and a combo. 🤤 The great thing about nachos... it was a hit with the adults and kids alike!
TIP- when baking nachos, use shredded cheese throughout the layers of chips and right before serving top the nachos with warm queso!
Now for cocktails we normally try to do a festive drink, and we were struggling with coming up with an option that would pair well with nachos. Tequila came to mind, but there aren't make holiday drinks that made with tequila; so, we came up with our own! It's a Festive Mexican Mule and it is delicious!
1.5oz silver tequila
1/2 of a lime
1 oz cranberry juice
2 oz club soda
topped with ginger beer
For the kids we gave them "Jingle Juice" which is just red Gatorade, but don't tell them that! Kids always like to feel included with fun drinks and special cups, so we made sure we did!
HOUSE 3: SOUP/SALAD + GAMES
House number three is the very middle of the progressive dinner. We find it's a great place to warm up with a good bowl of soup and let the kids...and adults let loose with few games!
As with every single course during this dinner, deciding what to make for this one can be a challenge. Not all of the kids are a fan of soup, so we decided to play it safe and make a few options! On The menu here:
Caesar salad (from a grocery store bag mix)
Quick note: We've served this chili at events before and it's always a hit...PLUS it's super easy to make in a crockpot for a large group.
Next up: The Games!!!
This Jasmine mom is a huge fan of games, and we like to get the kids involved in the competition, when possible. We've been getting a lot of our game inspiration from TikTok recently! There are so many unique ideas! The first game we planned for the kids was the Table Roll Ball into the Cup Challenge (rolls right off the tongue lol). We hung some cups off the end of our island and wrote some fun challenges and prizes to place inside each cup. The kids took turns rolling the balls from the opposite end of the island and whichever cup they landed would win them a prize or a challenge. A few examples:
Prizes: Candy, Ring Pops, Jelly Fruit
Challenges: Eat a Warhead, Run 3 Laps Around the Island, Show us Your Best Dance Moves, Tell a Joke
Once the kids were finished, we were ready for the adult game! To keep them busy, we hid 50 mini candy canes around the house for them to find - this gave them something to do while we played :)
If you are a fan of flip cup, you have to try this next game! We aren't even sure what to call it, so let's just go with "Grid Flip Cup". The easiest way to describe this one is to just show you the TikTok :) Check it out HERE. Super addicting and a serious blast!
HOUSE 4: MAIN ENTREE
The main entree is always a tricky one because we have a huge range of likes and dislikes on this block. We always want everyone to be included in "dinner," so we made sure to make a double dinner this year - one for the kiddos and one for the adults. By house 4 we are pretty stuffed, but somehow end up finding room to shove some more in. We also figured we would need some heavy food to soak up all the consumptions from the previous homes!
On the adult's menu:
Mistletoe Kiss cocktail (check out our Toast to Tuesday this week!)
On the kid's menu:
Santa and Christmas tree shaped personal pizzas - cheese and pepperoni
A Jasmine kiddo favorite - Shirley Temples!
It was a tight fit, with this house's host wanting to make sure everyone had a seat at dinner, but we made it work! After we all ate ourselves silly, we moseyed (more like rolled) ourselves to the dessert house!
HOUSE 5: DESSERT + ADULT WHITE ELEPHANT GIFTS
This was the last house, and the host did not want to have anything too heavy, nor too formal. At this house the adults get to do their white elephant gift exchange which is always way too much fun! With that in mind we wanted to make sure the desserts were more of a grazing set up, that guests could pick at whenever they wanted.
THE DESSERT MENU
White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Macadamia Nuts (THESE WERE AMAZING)
Reindeer Food (aka puppy chow)
Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Dip with Gluten Free lady fingers and wafers to dip in (we just altered this recipe by adding a gluten free cake mix)
Assorted Chocolate Candies
Chocolate covered pretzels
Salted Chocolate Caramels
Christmas tree brownies and Christmas tree fruit snacks
After we were on a sugar high, the adults gathered and we exchanged gifts, the best way we know how, White Elephant Style. This is where we pull names from a hat and that person picks an unopened gift, we continue in this pattern and the adults can either choose from another person or a gift under the tree. Once the last gift under the tree has been chosen it is time for everyone to open!!
After the gifts were exchanged, we did something new this year and each family released a lantern into the star lit sky before we called it a night! The kiddos definitely loved this, and it was fun for the adults as well. Make sure to do this in a very open area, away from trees :)
This was the absolute perfect end to our evening and progressive dinner! If you give this a try, please let us know.... comment below, tag us in your insta images.... we are so very excited to see!!