Tips for Holiday Entertaining

by Honolulu Mother

Do you entertain during the holidays? An open house kind of thing for friends and family, a work-related thing, a cookie-decorating party, the big family dinner, a cocktail party? Let’s share our holiday entertaining tips!

My household relies heavily on Costco when doing a big party. We get the shrimp tray, the crudite tray, the cookie tray, some of the booze, the frozen spanakopita. Sam’s Club we use to supplement (sometimes they have better selection of frozen puff pastry hors d’ouevres), along with a couple of trays of finger food items from a nearby restaurant. I avoid having much cooking to do during the party as I find that even having to remember to take a pan out of the oven is more than enough to remember once the party is rolling.

Our biggest challenge is probably finding a date, as it seems like most people we know have packed weekends in December full of kid activities and family obligations. We just aim for earlier in the month and cross our fingers.

Do you have holiday entertaining tips to share, or stories to tell?

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118 thoughts on “Tips for Holiday Entertaining

  1. We don’t do a holiday party for the reason HM identified. The month is already packed with several office parties and concerts and our own growing family celebrations.
    One year we did an Epiphany party when January 6 fell on a weekend. The decorations were still up if a bit worse for wear and it was much easier to get positive responses. Kind of a last hurrah before the resumption of regular life.

  2. We just had our annual Hannukah dinner on Saturday (it was a pre-Hannukah dinner this year because it’s so late). We have around 10-20 people over so it’s not a huge party. The adults have a nice meal at the table and the kids go off and eat wherever they want. We do all the cooking ahead of time so we just need to heat stuff up. We also buy a lot of the food prepared from a local Jewish deli. Since we have no family around, it’s our one big gathering of the year.

  3. I intended to have a holiday party, but it kind of got away from me. I think I am going to do it in Feb or March instead. One thing that I have found helpful is to hire some teenagers to help with cleanup during the party and to help entertain the kids. We always invite the kids and there are a lot of them! I am also a big fan of open houses.

  4. We do a big family dinner, switching with another family member between Christmas Eve (Feast of the Seven Fishes) and Christmas Day. This year we’re doing Christmas Eve, with virtually all the dishes homemade. It’s a lot of work and I’m always trying to find ways to streamline the process. Seafood meals are a particular challenge because many of the dishes cannot be made ahead of time plus leftovers can be hard to manage.

    I agree that finding a date that is open for your guests is hard, and I like Scarlett’s idea of an Epiphany party. You’ve got me wondering. I’ve been thinking about hosting a Sunday late afternoon party, what is called a “tardeada” among Mexican families. Probably cocktails/snacks/dancing. We’re talking from about 3 or 4 to 8 or 9 in the evening. If you were invited to something like that, do you think that’s a good or bad time for partying? I know many people don’t like to stay out late on Sunday.

  5. Yeah, we’ve given up on the holiday party idea; even when we have time available, it’s impossible to find a weekend when others can come. We do a family Hanukkah at my SILs every year, although we just had to postpone because of conflicts, and I may not be able to make the new date.

    When I do entertain, it’s usually for smaller groups with homemade food, since I was taught that food = love. Although we did have our big 50+50+20 party catered — that one was DH’s excuse to open 500 years of port, and I was way too busy at the time to deal with a huge party, so I told him the best anniversary present he could give me would just be to take care of the whole damn thing himself. He did, and it was awesome.

  6. We recently ordered a case of red wine from WSJ for a holiday party. It was the best wine I’ve ever had and an interesting variety, at a reasonable price. We will be ordering again.

  7. We do a lot of pot luck parties. People feel engaged, and usually have a story behind the dish that they bring. Pot luck parties are my best source of new recipes, as well.

  8. We usually do a sit down dinner for 12 friends. This year we lost 3 weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas due to travel and work obligations, so no party this year. Hate to miss it but couldn’t be helped.

    My tip – do a beef tenderloin. It pretty much cooks itself, you can slice it thin or thick depending on how many people you are serving, and it’s got a great wow factor.

  9. When I worked in industry, I always had some kind of small party during the Christmas season or right after. I haven’t done that in years – just don’t have the time. I kind of miss it.

  10. CoC, that was the exact time that I always did my parties! I was always inviting people with kids, so that time worked best.

  11. I actually got INVITED to a Christmas party that was on Friday. Probably because I no longer really have parties, I haven’t been invited to one in about 8 years :-(. It was fun, mostly parents of my kids friends (it was at the house of one of DS1’s friends). It was fun to meet all the parents, and catch up with the ones I already knew. God, my life has gotten boring.

  12. I think we will have a Festivus party this year on the 19th though technically it is to be the 23rd, but the beauty of Festivus is that it doesn’t matter. We are having our kitchen remodeled so that chaos fits right in with the low expectations of the night. Bring some wine a dish and a grievance!

  13. I discussed how to incorporate our Hanukkah celebration into a Christmas brunch with my aunt since Hanukkah overlaps with Christmas this year. We usually host a Hanukkah party one evening, and my aunt hosts on Christmas day. We are going to combine the traditional foods so we can just meet one time this year because it is easier for all of the kids and the crazy schedules. I don’t mind skipping one year of hosting because those latkes are messy, and we still have several other Hanukkah celebrations with the other side of our family.

    I have to really work on my gift list, and motivate because the weather is starting to get nasty and I want to make sure everything is done before the 20th.

    Houston, would you mind sharing the wine that you enjoyed? We get that mail from the WSJ about wine, but I always toss it because I wasn’t sure about the selection.

    Lark, just curious if you found a place to watch the game.

  14. I like Festivus! We hosted an early holiday party and will again host something in new year. We also invite kids and its a mayhem especially since we smaller house. I just need to finish the basement and stick the kids there next time.
    I usually like to make food at home and get some stuff from costco as supplement. All our other get-togethers are usually potluck because everyone works and getting just one dish is easier on everyone.

  15. “My tip – do a beef tenderloin. It pretty much cooks itself, you can slice it thin or thick depending on how many people you are serving, and it’s got a great wow factor.”

    I did a prime rib roast one year (used colloquially, not Prime-graded) — did it using Alton Brown’s slow-roast approach, which was awesome, because the @5-hr cooking time meant it went in way early, which freed me up to do everything else. Basically the equivalent of using your oven like a slow-cooker — just set it and forget it. And it was also far and away the most delicious beef I have ever cooked, with plenty of drippings for a red-wine sauce. The whole thing looked much fancier than it was difficult.

    “A tray of Chik Fil A nuggets is always a hit with both kids and adults at a party.”

    And on the total other end of the spectrum, the go-to here is Hebrew National pigs in blanket, which a few stores around here sell in the frozen foods aisle. Those things disappear in about the time it takes to snap your fingers.

  16. We’ve been doing ours on a Sunday afternoon/evening more often than not, as it’s less bad than other times for people’s schedules.

  17. We always have the Hebrew national cocktail hotdogs for Hanukkah.
    They disappear as fast as we can take them out of the oven. My trick to keep them from getting steamy is to put them on parchment paper on a baking tray.

  18. Lauren: I wish I could give you more info, but we left the wine info with the host. The wines were from a variety of regions (California, Portugal, Spain, France) and a variety of blends. It satisfied the wine snobs in the group, who enjoyed figuring out which wines to open before, during, and after dinner, and there are cards with each bottle that give you the background. We got a case of mixed red varieties.

  19. “We recently ordered a case of red wine from WSJ for a holiday party. It was the best wine I’ve ever had….”

    Mad Dog, did you ever have the party?

  20. @ Lauren, I ended up calling home and asking DS to record it for me – figured if we lost I didn’t want to see it, and if we won I am the type who can happily watch a pre-recorded basketball game.

    (One time, after a particularly exciting UNC/Duke game that we attended in person, we came home and watched it all over again on TV. Oh we are such geeks.)

  21. I ordered from WSJ Wines once and they started calling and emailing practically daily. I had to order them to stop calling me. I tend to order from Cameron Hughes; their wines are pretty good more often than not.

  22. In the spirit of a totally made-up holiday, shouldn’t one be free to celebrate Festivus in January? Now that that football extravaganza has slid into February, January could use a celebratory event of its own.

  23. January has Burns Night. A holiday where you drink scotch and read poetry. Not to mention Chinese New Year (well, sometimes that’s in February).

  24. Slight hijack – PSAT scores are now available on the college board site. DD was hoping to make last year’s NM cutoff for our state, but did not; however, she did exceed last years commended scholar score. I know she looked this morning, but she didn’t say anything. This is finals week, so it is sort of an unneeded distraction.

  25. “One time, after a particularly exciting UNC/Duke game that we attended in person, we came home and watched it all over again on TV. Oh we are such geeks.”

    I still have tapes of the 1989 NLCS somewhere at home (sorry, Ivy). The problem, of course, would be finding a way to view them.

  26. Austin, sorry to hear about that.

    OTOH, as I’ve been finding out this year, kids that qualify for NMF aid often aspire to schools that don’t give such aid.

    “This is finals week, so it is sort of an unneeded distraction.”

    Not to mention, a lot of seniors are hearing back on early decision/early action applications. DS expects word tomorrow; a bunch of his classmates were disappointed by LSJU last week.

  27. @Austin — Sorry for her disappointment. Thanks for the tip — just checked, and DD’s overall scores came up @80 points from her 9th grade scores, so I guess I can relax because she’ll probably end up getting admitted to some college somewhere. :-)

  28. Austin, commended is still noteworthy, so congratulations to her on that!

    LfB, SSM, others, anything you want to report?

    (My oldest came through when it counted, high enough that he won’t need to be waiting till September to know whether he made the cut. Yay.)

  29. Finn – Good luck to your DS. This fall has seemed very bifurcated – Junior’s need to focus on doing well in class AND focus on testing and/or test prep.

  30. I like the Sunday evening parties both when they involve kids (get home at a reasonable time) and when they’re adult only (easier to find a babysitter).

    I second the Chik-Fil-A platter for parties. An organization that I serve on the board just had these patters along with some roll-ups, cheese, veggies and fruit at our holiday party this weekend. One thing to note is that I find that people usually take more then the 4 nuggets that Chik-Fil-A allots for each person so keep that in mind when your figuring your food count.

  31. “Junior’s need to focus on doing well in class AND focus on testing and/or test prep.”

    Absolutely. Junior year is by far the most critical for college admissions.

  32. I like Billions because it is fun, but it is ridiculous. Some of it is too far fetched to be believable, but I love their houses. Some of the outside scenes are filmed nearby, and it is fun when I can figure out some of the locations. There is one scene that they filmed at a location along the Hudson River. My husband was able to figure out where they must have shot in Yonkers because part of the Palisades cliffs in NJ was visible and it has a unique formation due to a rock spill.

    I am watching season 3 of the The Affair, and I don’t like it this year.

  33. lark, I should have realized that you meant college vs pro basketball.
    For a future trip, you should go to Brother Jimmys. It is a local chain that expanded to some parts of Florida etc. The food is just ok, but it is great for any fan from the southeast. When they opened their original location in NYC, it was for the purpose of hosting the ACC fans and games on their screens. This was years ago, so it wasn’t as easy to get the games at home. Anyone that was looking for a welcoming home for an ACC school would go to Brother Jimmys to be able to watch their schools because most bars/restaurants wouldn’t televise that region unless they were playing a local team. It has changed a little as they expanded and added more locations, but those games are always on the screens if you want to watch with a crowd of supporting fans.

  34. Lark, I’m still wondering why travel to NYC to watch a basketball game on TV. Were you there for some other reason, and just wanted to watch a certain game?

  35. HM, that may work out well for you. High enough grades to make NMF means lots of very good choices that offer a lot of merit aid, while grades that aren’t high enough for HSS means a match between schools he’s likely to attend and schools that offer NMF aid is much more likely than if his grades would get him into a HSS.

  36. OT, no hosting of parties this year. We’re in the middle of a bathroom remodel, and the new cabinets are in the middle of our living room, as are boxes holding the contents of the old cabinets. For over a week, the new toilet was at various times just inside our front door and in our family room.

    The last couple years, we were traveling most of the break and thus not only didn’t host anything, but we didn’t attend any parties as a family.

    This year, we’re staying home (except for a short jaunt to Maui) so DS can work on his apps. This does allow DW and I to attend the party for her HS clique, which is also on a Sunday night to avoid most conflicts with other parties. It’ll just be use because the kids are playing in a Christmas concert organized by their orchestra teacher’s church.

  37. “Traveling for other reasons and realized a UNC game was on.”

    Did you consider traveling for the games here?

  38. Yes. Are you kidding? I would have killed to, and good friends of ours went with their kids this year. Coming to the Maui invitational is high on our bucket list. Unfortunately, my husband’s work schedule makes it nearly impossible to travel during Thanksgiving week. UNC will be back in 4 more years, so maybe then…

  39. Scarlett – yes I think there are technically no rules for Festivus. I LOOOOVVVEEE Hebrew National pigs in blankets. That’s about all I have to add.

  40. Way off topic: I am in the hospital, having been diagnosed with appendicitis. I am awaiting emergency surgery. Has anyone been through this? What should I expect in terms of the time and effort it will take to recover?

    On topic, we had a fun holiday get together with all my in-laws on Saturday. We hosted, but my brother-in-law made dinner (pizzas). So, I didn’t have to travel or cook, which was awesome.

  41. NoB, I’m so sorry to hear that! I have no personal experience, but I hope the answers to your recovery questions will be “soon” and “easy.”

  42. Nobtotebagger,

    Almost exactly four years ago, DH had appendicitis, emergency surgery and his appendix started perforating before they took it out. He was in agony before the surgery, had the surgery. I left him at the hospital afterwards, went home to take care of the kids.

    The next morning, I dropped the kids at school, and went down to the hospital to see him. When I walked into his room, he was standing up, talking on the phone, lining out the day’s tasks for our employees and the only thing that seemed to be keeping him from walking through the hallways was still being tethered to the IVs.

    He was swollen and had to wear pants with a waistband out four inches wider than usual for a week or so, and wore suspenders for a bit, to keep pressure off the incisions. He was back to normal by Christmas.

  43. Oy, oy, oy, this is so par for the course with my kid. He got his PSAT score, like everyone else today, and it is well above last year’s NY cutoff for NMSF. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, his score has been invalidated because he forgot to answer the question that asks for high school graduation date, and another that says whether he is in high school for 4 years or not. Can you believe it? The counselor says he should send a letter to the people who run the exam, and she gave him a format because she said it has happened before. He is on the phone right now with them checking to see if there is anything else he should do. The counselor seems to think he can get it straightened out, but geez. It is always drama with that kid.

  44. NoB, thinking of you. If your appendix has not yet burst and you don’t have active peritonitis, you should have a fairly quick recovery. The horror stories are from the days, even after antibiotics, when it burst, they had to clean the goop out of your insides and then you had to fight off a raging internal infection with intravenous antibiotics.

  45. We don’t do parties, but if DD doesn’t book a last minute Caribbean trip, we will prep a goose and braised red cabbage with chestnuts for Christmas Day. Just the three of us – a cooking project, nothing more. I don’t attend the family hanukkah parties hosted by the restricted diet folks, but I make terrific latkes at home – the secret is using a traditional grater.

  46. NoB, speedy recovery! A friend of mine had emergency surgery for appendicitis a couple of years ago – hers had perforated – and she recovered pretty easily – much easier than when she had foot surgery in fact

  47. NoB – My DD’s friend just had hers out the Tuesday before Thanksgiving as emergency surgery. Saw her this past Thursday and she looked normal. But, she is15 and an athlete!

    MM – Good luck! That sounds so like my DD #2.

  48. NOB, I had appendicitis 4 years ago. I was walking around later that same day after the surgery. Recovery was pretty fast, though I found the swelling from the carbon dioxide to last about 1 month — the surgeon said women mention this problem more and for longer than men. It was not imagined — my brand new pants wouldn’t zipper for a couple weeks, and even then, couldn’t button properly.

    Here’s some things I tried to do that first week that I found to be painful, even though I was otherwise feeling great:
    pulling laundry out of a washing machine
    taking dishes out of a dishwasher/putting dishes in
    using a dustpan (sweeping was fine, dustpan use was not)
    setting down cat food and water
    tying shoes
    basically, anything involving bending over
    riding the bus (jostling!!). trains were a bit better.

    I recommend that when you are heading home from the hospital, have a loose pair of slip on pants available, comfortable slip on shoes or similar — and a size up of underwear.

    Best wishes for your recovery! Feel better soon.

  49. @HM — Congrats! Yeah, no, we are not in that category — she is in the low 90s in terms of percentiles, so there is no reason to even think about NM stuff, but also no reason to worry she won’t get into a decent school somewhere. So I am pleased/relieved.

    @NoB: Really sorry. Nothing helpful to add — my only experience was watching my boss recover, but he had the really bad version, so I am just going to cross my fingers that you are early in the game and it will all go smoothly. Best of luck.

  50. NoB, I hope you have a speedy recovery.

    Meme, great tip and I have the right grater. I love latkes, and I think it is an important part of the holiday. I just think the smell gets into every piece of clothing and furniture. That’s the reason that I am happy to let others host and serve the latkes this year.

    Congrats to all of the PSAT takers.

  51. semi-related hijack? I need a food processor. Any recommendations? I’m looking at the Breville — like the 3 sizes of bowls and how huge the biggest bowl is. Not cheap, but would match our cappucino maker, so that part of the counter would look nice. :)

  52. NOB – DD had her appendix out about 14 years ago. She was in the hospital for a day or so after the surgery – the worst part was beforehand, proving that she had appendicitis! Her scar is very small. She took it easy for a few days, then was back in school.

    Nothing to do with your situation, but I remember being super stressed: she actually ran a slight fever several days after being home, so I took her to the doctor. He said she was fine. It was one of “those” days – DH was out of town for work, DS had a stomach bug and I had to bring both of them to the doctor with me (he was too little to leave at home) but keep them separated enough so that she didn’t pick up his stomach bug. Throwing up would not have been good for her stitches!

    I felt like a nurse, going from one sickroom to the other – washing my hands every single time.

  53. @Meme — I am totally not going to argue with you over proper latke methodology. :-) My secrets are: the Kitchen-Aid fine shredder attachment; twice as many onions as the recipe calls for (my ratio is a 5-lb bag of Yukon gold potatoes to 3 lbs of sweet onions); and salting the potatoes/onions and letting them sit under a heavy weight for a good long time (and then further wring by hand), to get as much liquid out as possible before adding in the eggs/matzoh meal/etc.

  54. NoB,
    Second the suggestion of slip on shoes for your trip home. Also get a small pillow or towel for the ride home to help with any discomfort from lap seat belt.

  55. LfB I also use a high proportion of suess tsibeles, and leave the grated mixture in a colander over a bowl to drain. Same objective as the press. I used to use a grater attachment, too. Hot oil is also key I splurge for safflower. It was a Totebag tip that got me back to my preferred hand grater – no cry gloves.

  56. LfB / Meme, I use a ratio of 3 to 1 potatoes to onions, and use a cuisinart with a very fine grater, so they are basically pureed. That’s how Grandma did it. I did have to switch from matzoh meal to GF flour, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I make a bucketload when I do them (I ended up with 86 last week) so I’m not about to grate them by hand.

    And nobody in my family ever called them latkes. In our house they will always be potato pancakes. :)

  57. Sweet onions. There is also an insult from my childhood may you grow like an onion with your head in the ground. I just like the sound of the word tsibele 3 syllables for onion.

  58. NOB – I hope you recover quickly. When DW had hers out, the CO2 expansion pain lasted a while. Also, although no big incision like a C-section, she still felt abdominal soreness from the moving of the surgical instruments around inside.

    HM, MM and all others, congrats on your kids’ scores.

    On another front, my kid is 2 for 2 on college acceptances at schools he actually cares about. Got 29% off tuition from one and 40% off it from the other (merit money). Except for the D1 athletes, he may be applying to the fewest schools of anyone in his class of 160 kids…5 in all. So the pressure is off, except fighting the inevitable senioritis!

  59. Congrats on all the PSAT scores and college acceptance.

    One tried and true party snack are sausage balls. Easy, and can be made ahead and frozen. They’re a non-sophisticated, non-gourmet food, and the first time I served them to foodie relatives everyone gobbled them up and asked what the ingredients were. I have one particularly lovable/annoying relative who always tries to pick out out the ingredients in a dish he is relishing. He closes his eyes and names all the ingredients he’s tasting. You know the type? Anyway, I just nod and agree to most of what he guesses even though the dish may have mainly come from a box. :D

    I wish we had Chick Fil-a near us.

  60. Fred, that is great!

    CoC, sausage balls are awesome. Pretty much anything that involves sausage is awesome.

  61. Just read a few comments.

    NOB – best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    Fred – great news on your DS3!

    On our front, my DD was accepted to the direct admit nursing program she most wanted, and recently learned she’s getting a great scholarship. She has always been an incredibly hard worker but this hasn’t translated into stellar grades or test scores, so the college app process was something she had been quite worried about. To see her hard work validated has been wonderful.

  62. My DS made the cut off for our state, also! If it weren’t for this site, I seriously would not have known this. I guess he would get some notification in September. But we were clueless on NMSF absent the totebag discussions. It isn’t common in our school so our guidance counselors aren’t focused on NMSF at all. Is there a next step I should know about?

  63. Good Job all the PSAT takers. MM, I hope the score issue gets resolved.
    Fred congrats to your DS.
    Finn I take it, the process will probably go on to April.

  64. You guys, that is all awesome — Fred, Ris, HFN, etc. — I am just so happy to hear everyone’s good news.

    “One tried and true party snack are sausage balls.”

    Is that the one with sausage, Bisquick, and cheese? If so, I adore those. And the mental image of your relative trying to ID the ingredients is awesome (“hmmm, is there just the tiniest hint of monocalcium phosphate?”)

  65. Congrats to all the Totebag kids! DS is still working on his college applications. His target deadline is Jan 1.

  66. NoB, hope you recover quickly!!!

    Congrats for all the high scores and acceptances! :)

    Just spent 2.5 hours in the car this morning since DH had a meeting not exactly on the way and I dropped him off, then came in to the office. Peak traffic time. :-P

  67. Congratulations to everyone’s kids! Just to shake up the Totebagginess of it all, I’ll just mention that DH’s oldest niece (not the one who just got into the state flagship) just got arrested for selling meth! Looks like 2-5 years in jail, maybe! Her kids can visit her in prison, won’t that be great?

    So remember, if your kids didn’t make the NMSF cutoff, it really could be worse.

  68. I never feel the totebagginess of this group more than during these discussions of NMSF kids and income levels.
    Speedy recovery nob!

    Congratulations to all parents! You did it!!!

  69. RMS – oh no! That is not good. I know someone who was arrested for and pled guilty to distributing drugs. She was pregnant at the time of the plea and had her baby in prison. The baby is living with her in prison. When I first heard this, I did not believe it. But, nope, there are actually several programs across the US that allow this.

    Congrats to all Totebagger children!

  70. RMS, don’t worry, we have some close relatives like that on DH;s side, as well as my cousin who lives in a trailer in AK and has never held down a job.

    But I am glad to hear of not just the good test scores but also the acceptances.

  71. Last party I had I grabbed a few frozen “gourmet” pizzas (CPK) as a “just in case” measure as they were on sale. (I have run out of food before). I baked a few of them during the party, cut them in squares v. triangles and called them “flatbread.” They were a big hit. People kept asking for the recipe.

  72. Hearty dips like buffalo chicken dip or 7 layer dip are also easy to make ahead and popular each time. Some crusty bread and you are good to go.

    RMS, it is such cinematic cliche- one kid made good (your DH) and other kid does everything wrong (your SIL and family). I can imagine your DH being very upset and disappointed.

  73. Congrats on scores and the acceptances so far. May the odds be ever in your kids’ favor.
    Honolulu, I know from personal experience that there are a lot of very good colleges that will give a lot of merit money to NMSF without stellar grades :)

  74. HfN, congrats to your DS. Next steps fall into two categories.

    First, to ensure he makes NMF (more guaranteed merit aid), he needs to get a confirming score on the SAT, and continue to do well in school (i.e., get good grades). Also, next September, when the official announcement is made (or a little earlier; apparently the schools get notified a couple weeks before the official announcement day), you’ll also find out about the essay and other forms necessary to make NMF. Some of the submissions must be done by your DS’ school, and if the school doesn’t always have NMSF, they may not be familiar with those steps, so I suggest you stay on top of them; I’ve seen a lot of posts on CC from worried parents in this situation. IIRC, the deadlines for those submissions is mid-Oct.

    ~90% of NMSF become NMF, so it’s not that difficult or selective; mainly your DS and his school needs to not screw up, either with a bad score, bad grades, or not submitting something required.

    Second, to take advantage of the financial benefits, start (if you haven’t already) looking into schools that give generous aid to NMF, and subtly bring those to your DS’ attention. Many of them also have honors colleges.

    Over in CC, the school that’s winning over a lot of NMSF, their parents, and other high-stats kids is UA (RT). At my kids’ school, the school that gets a lot of NMF kids is USC (Trojans, not Gamecocks, although UofSC (Gamecocks) is targeted by a lot of CC posters). USC doesn’t currently have an honors college, but are scheduled to have one next year.

    Some others that are very generous include OU (Sooners), ASU, UK (Ky), and Boston U.

  75. Finn, thanks for the detailed advice! WCE, I’ll make sure he returns the form. 90% of success is just showing up, and all that.

  76. Perhaps we have a semantic issue.

    I think of “full ride” as tuition, fees, room, board, books.

    OU, and others like UA (RT), ASU, UK, offers full tuition, but does not cover fees, room, board, and books.

  77. I knew this group would let me know when scores were out–headed over there to look now.
    Mooshi, thanks for the warning about possible goof-ups. I hope he gets it straightened out. If nothing else, when he retakes and gets a good score, let’s hope schools he applies to respond to that.
    Risley, that’s great news–congrats to her!
    NoB, I’m so late on this that you may be recovered by now. I hope it’s going well, in any event.
    I’m impressed at how many latkes some of you make. One or two big potatoes is enough for us, but it’s hardly worth the mess.
    Finn, those things aren’t always purchased from the school, so it makes sense to me that a full ride doesn’t include them.

    On topic, the closest we get to hosting Christmas parties is inviting a friend or two over to make and decorate cookies together. This year we didn’t–did cookies with my dad, bringing back all my happy childhood memories of when he’d sit down and decorate them with us.

  78. We do a lovely Christmas Carols every year with all my friends- I was so devestated to have to miss it this year. Nothing like traditions to make your Christmas special :)

  79. “One or two big potatoes is enough for us, but it’s hardly worth the mess.”

    If it’s not worth the mess, you’re doing it wrong. ;-)

    Besides, the mess is why you make so many — the size of the mess is a constant, regardless of how many you make. So might as well make a huge batch — much more efficient on a mess-per-latke basis.

  80. Finn – it is likely that those kids probably qualify for more than one scholarship that covers the other items. The point of offering the full tuition is because they really want the kids to attend the school. I was in-state at my school and had some coverage from that (the type given to all kids performing at a certain level and selecting in-state schools) and an additional scholarship based on performance from my county. Pretty sure someone who is a National Merit Finalist and interested in a full ride is capable of also filling out other merit-based scholarship applications. If a NM Scholar is going to turn down OU’s offer because of room, board and books, they will scramble to cover it.

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