Family style is ideal for serving a relaxed, somewhat informal holiday dinner at a small- to mid-sized get-together. For a family-style meal to work best, the table should be large enough not only for everyone to have a seat but also to hold all of the food being served. With a big group, this can be achieved by scooting card tables or even a coffee table close to the main table to make extra room.
During dinner, each person takes a portion of the food that is in front of them, and passes the dish to the next person. Choose a direction for everyone to pass the food, usually clockwise, to avoid colliding dishes and to make sure everyone gets a chance to try each dish. The family-style method of serving a meal lets the host or hostess join the group and begin eating and conversing with guests immediately.