Buddy Valastro, a.k.a. the Cake Boss, might have desserts on lock, but the television personality’s wife Lisa has the other 26 courses covered for Christmas dinner. Yep, you read that right: 26 courses.

For the past 23 years, the Valastros have hosted an epic Christmas dinner complete with a 70-person guest list and extensive menu to match—one that Lisa tackles herself with little, if any, help.

“Our house has always been the party house,” she tells Delish. “Everyone just comes over … [and] Christmas has been our holiday since before I could remember, basically since I met Buddy and we got married.”

Lisa Valastro

And while the very thought of cooking for say, five people (let alone 70), might send some into a full-blown panic (me! I’m talking about me here!), it’s become a second nature for Valastro.

“Believe it or not, I cook better for a lot of people than if it’s only four people,” she says. “Even when it was just us and the kids for dinner, I always made triple the amount. I don’t know how to scale it down.”

The fam’s annual tradition typically includes anywhere from 50 to 70 guests and between 22 and 26 dishes—”22 on the low end,” Lisa clarifies.

“I’m all about variety, so I do definitely go overboard. But to me, that’s the meaning of Christmas. That’s the meaning of getting together… we are a lot of people,” she says. “I’m the type of person that I don’t like to tell anyone that they have to bring anything, because I’m a little bit of a control freak.”

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Lisa Valastro

Valastro starts cooking two days in advance and employs a little assistance from a single helper. “I like to run my kitchen. I don’t like too many people in [there], so it’s always myself and one helper.” And while the menu is ever-changing, there are more than a few staples. Beef Wellington and ham are two mainstays.

“I always have the items that I know certain people like. Because once I make something, if someone says, ‘oh my God that’s my favorite, I look forward to that every year,’ I make sure I make that particular item every year,” she says.

Although Valastro cooks nearly everything days in advance and decorates the tables on Christmas Eve, the 25th is still game time.

“I take out all my trays out and I line them up, and put a sticky note on each of them on what time they need to go in the oven and what time I take them out. It’s a very organized disaster,” she says. “And it’s funny because when we redid our kitchen recently, I added five ovens. I purposely did that because I host the holidays and I needed oven space. I redid my kitchen to host people.”

When it comes time for the actual meal, Valastro isn’t eating. “My favorite part is once all my food is out and everyone is sitting down. Believe it or not, I don’t eat anything. I enjoy watching everyone eat my food and hearing their comments. That’s what I look forward to. I eat like five hours later.”