Brunch at the Trabert home – it’s our thing and we love doing it!

We recently hosted 15 friends for a magical holiday brunch in our home.  The tree was twinkling and spinning – (Yes, I said spinning. Tedd’s tree spins so that all the ornaments can be seen) – the holiday music was playing, the aroma of freshly baked breads filled the house and the holiday dishes laid out for full display!  Perhaps this sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t.

Finding time to get together with friends is no easy task; when you add in the holiday season madness, it can become nearly impossible.  It is easy to see how people might find the idea of planning and hosting a gathering in their home an added unnecessary stress in their life and abandon the idea all together – turning even the merriest of host into a holiday Grinch.  But what would the holidays be without the comfort gathering friends and family together in festivities?  So, get those decorations out of the attic and turn the stress of the holidays into a celebration of holiday cheer with a buffet brunch.

We have found that hosting Sunday Funday Brunches at the Trabert home is a great way to gather our friends for a very relaxed, fun and stress-free experience.

Here are some quick tips we learned to host the perfect Sunday Funday Brunch:

  • Timing is everything. Sleeping Beauty needs her rest, so don’t invite your guests to a very early brunch – especially on a Sunday!  On the reverse side, you don’t want to make the start time so late that you tie up everyone’s weekend plans with a late-day event.  We invite our guests to join us around 11:30am, this means noon arrival time for anyone that lives in S. Florida, which enables people to start filtering out around 2 or 3pm and have the rest of the afternoon to themselves.  Some people might opt to stay a bit longer and engage in further conversation with you, but for the most part we have found that about 3-4 hours is perfect timing to conclude a brunch, which leaves you plenty of time to clean up and have the evening to yourself.
  • Pre-cook what you can the day before. Check out one of my previous post “Sitting in the Kitchen with Tedd: Fall Brunch Menu” for some great recipe options.  Preparing most of the items the day before and throwing them in the oven the day of is the best way to host a brunch and not get caught in the kitchen the entire time and allow you to spend some quality time with your guests.
  • Invest in Chaffing Dishes. One of the most useful gifts the Traberts have ever received, for our home entertaining needs, are our two chaffing dishes.  They are not the large bulky ones that require water.  Oh no, these are simple, elegant and manageable entertaining miracles.  Tedd’s co-workers purchased two circular electric chaffing dishes, made by Sensio Bella, for him several years ago and they are still going strong.  I agree they sit in the closet collecting dust most of the time, but they sure do come in handy when you are serving guests buffet style and need to keep dishes hot.  I highly suggest getting some for yourself.
  • Create a self-serve Mimosa Station. What would brunch be without bottomless mimosas?  Have a “help yourself” attitude and turn a large punchbowl into one big champagne bucket to store and serve bottles of champagne and juice on ice.  I love using our Christofle silver punch bowl to add a level of elegance to our brunches – silver makes everything taste better you know!
  • Offer a specialty themed drink in a punch bowl. Who would the Traberts be without their themes?  We just love a good thematic brunch.  With a holiday inspiration, we turned to a Trabert Top Pick, Tracy Stern Tea&Co., for a delightful tea inspired cocktail that we could serve from a punch bowl.  We pulled out our vintage mid-century punch server, mixed up a batch of hibiscus tea, champagne, a splash of cranberry juice and garnished it with a few fresh cranberries and mint to add some holiday themed cheer.  The guests loved it and it was easy to serve.  See the whimsical Tea&Co. Peruvian Mistletoe recipe for inspiration.  (Just remember for tea steeping – Boil 2 Cups of water and pour over tea bags in a gallon container, steep for 12 mins. and fill remainder with 6 Cups of cold water then remove tea bag and squeeze excess flavor.)   

  • Don’t just lay your place-settings down, display them. When building your brunch buffet table, put some thought into not only creating a visually stimulating table-setting display but also adds an easy grab-and-go element to serving.  Offering both small and big plates allows guests the option of just nibbling or going all-in for a full holiday feast.  I created a unique and bold holiday tree arrangement out of the forks instead of just flopping them on the table for guests to grab.  Remember – only place utensils down that people will use to eat with, otherwise leave it out of your display as to not add confusion.  In this case, we only served our guests recipes that required a fork since we opted for a very casual dining atmosphere. I dislike asking guests to navigate a knife, fork and spoon for a brunch if not absolutely necessary.
  • Take a coffee break. Make some coffee in a festive holiday flavor, you’ll be surprised at the number of guests who love to sip a beautiful cappuccino or latte with holiday flare. Your coffee is home-made with love and doesn’t have the $8.00 each corporate price tag, so who would not want to enjoy a cup or two. Never forget, each aspect of a brunch is a gift to your guests, so pick up a small bag of holiday butter cookies to place on the saucer when you serve the coffee.  What a simple way of saying every detail is executed in honor of your guests.
  • Opt for a casual seating arrangement. Don’t stress if you are lacking seating around the dining table. Each home has its limitations on space, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box and use your entire home as one big entertaining space.  Invite guests to walk and gather about your home, inside and out, by creating seating areas scattered throughout.  This will also allow you to float from group to group and spend time with all your guests as they enjoy your home.  A seating nook in a side room or bedroom, decorated in a festive way, is so cozy and inviting.  A casual corner in a den can create an intimate conversation nook.  Bring in some extra chairs and build a group seating arrangement around the coffee table.  Look at your home and find unique ways to create conversation areas that guests can relax and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Keep the conversation Moving. As a host it is your responsibility to keep all of your guests engaged in conversation, making sure no one feels left out or worse yet becomes offended by any polarizing topics.  Sometimes this requires skills like that of a General navigating his troops through a minefield, but in the end, making sure everyone has an enjoyable time is quite rewarding and I will drink to that!

I wish you all a great Sunday Funday Brunch with these Trabert Tips!  I welcome any questions about creating your own festive holiday brunch.