Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Hey Guys! it's Christmas Time

It seems like the holidays seem to bring out a lot of people's inner Martha Stewart and start might entertaining...and then stress out over the reality of having a party.
For a number of years before we became parents, we would host an open house in addition to a cookie swap. I should have stressed out about these events, but I didn't.
I had a secret weapon.
I would have everything listed that I would need to do from food to drinks to where everyone would park. I have my little journal (I still use a sketchbook) which post it tape flags separating events and topics.
I would sketch out the buffet table display, as well as any centerpieces that I needed to make.
I would make appetizers ahead and freeze. Cookies were also baked & frozen, so right before the party I didn't have a lot to do.
I (gasp) used disposable dishes, glasses and silverware for easy clean up. My biggest thing was cleaning up my kitchen before I went to bed that night, because there's nothing worse than waking up to a mess.

Hosting an open house is a super easy party to start with. You pick a time frame (for example, 1-4) and people come and go. I am a big believer in a buffet, and just finger foods. My go to spread includes:
Bruschetta and crackers
Mushroom cashew or another type of pate, crackers
Cheese platter, crackers
A type of meat or shrimp tray
Vegetables & fruit platter
Any frozen appetizer that you want to add
Punch, soda & water (everyone knew my parties were non alcoholic)

Sometimes we would do a blind gift exchange: you got something for $5 or less, wrapped it and put it on the table & you left with another package. Another year was an ornament exchange. The best was the passive agressive white elephant exchange: you regift something truly horrendous.

I liked to have themes for my parties too. One year, it was ugly sweaters. Another year it was red, another year it was blue & silver (it was the 2nd night of Hanukah). The main purpose of the party was for the disparate groups of people in our lives to blend together: work, church, volunteer work, family, other people we knew and just have fun. Even though we didn't have kids at the time, I never excluded them and always had a play area set up (coloring, small toys, a few easy crafts). The main purpose was to have fun.

All the guest left with a little favor too. One year, it was spiced cider mix, another year it was cookie in a jar mix, yet another it was an ornament.

I love entertaining, and what better way to spread holiday cheer than by having a party? Because...hey guys...it's Christmas time!

1 gallon apple cider
1 gallon cranberry juice
1/4 c honey
1 tbsp whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp nutmeg

Add ingredients to a large sauce pan, add ingredients. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 30 mins. Skim off cloves & cinnamon. Transfer to a crockpot or airpot & serve warm.



Sheilagh Lee said...

Thank you for this informative post about how not to stress

MaryA said...

It sounds like most of us need you to come plan our next Christmas event. Great 3WW