Wherever You Find Love: Throwing a Great Holiday Party
Wherever you find love…
My favorite holiday movie is A Muppets Christmas Carol for a million reasons. It’s truly a sweet movie, it came out when I was a child, and whenever my mother saw the Ghost of Christmas Present she said it was like my Grandpa and like my Dad. I want my son to know that my Dad was that joyful. Did you know that the book “A Christmas Carol” is itself a ghost in literary terms? Now you do! But that lyric, wherever you find love is so so true when it comes to entertaining. If you’ve known me for more than two seconds you know I love to throw parties and I love entertaining. I love making life a little special and to top it off I have wonderful friends and family who are loving and hilarious. Any excuse to hang out is good enough for me. Here are some tried and true ideas from some of my fave hosts and things that make parties extra special.
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Since having a child, I have been extra eco conscious for a million reasons. Sustainability is a huge deal to me and to be honest I get a little sad in party stores because I wonder how that stuff will biodegrade and how it was made. I am far from perfect with this and I’m still learning. However, you can purchase sustainable things. Here are some cute festive things that won’t break the bank but won’t take forever to biodegrade.
Paper straws. These are festive and add some flair to your drinks.
Compostable plates and cutlery. These work for everything and you can save what you don’t use. The bamboo forks are sturdier than you think!
Mason Jar drinking glasses. Yes, I got married in 2014 and mason jars were everywhere. I know there are people who don’t get their appeal. However, can you think of a more versatile item in your home. These are glasses, vases, food storage, decorative, and they are cute. They work for any occasion and you can use them over and over again.
Food and Themes
I asked my friends who were hosts with the most for tips for things to do.
My mother, a consummate hostess, told me that when she hosts a party she wants to make sure everything is finger foods, that there is a good mix of textures, and that is everything is done before the guests arrive. You don’t want to be scrambling around the kitchen. Make sure there are food and drinks for children and that everyone feels comfortable
My friend Elliott throws amazing parties and I look forward to them every year. One year his theme was “Meli Kalikimaka” and the decor and food was all Hawaiian. The drinks had umbrellas and he had sweet Hawaiian meatballs roasting in the crockpot. He always has a fruit and veggie plate. HIs house is always welcoming and you wind up being friends with everyone there. Those are the best parties, where you make new friends.Elliot’s parties are elegant but not pretentious. You’ll have festive decor and boxed wine (tip it!) He also makes sure to have games. One of my favorites that is great for a large crowd is Taboo. Games where people can be creative and competitive are awesome. Charades are another good one. Are these holiday themed? Not necessarily but you want games with people that help other people be comfortable and don’t isolate people.
My friend LaTonya threw one of the most interesting holiday parties that I have ever been to. I asked her for some tips and here is what she said “If it’s adults only, an evening party, I like to do alcohol samples for a few of the drinks I serve as guest take homes. They can go with a little sampler that would go with the drink. This is not for a huge party, but samples can be bought in bulk for not a huge cost. If it’s a party with kids, they can put together an ornament they can give their parents or grandparents or someone important. Parents can donate to the “mix” of ingredients to make the items. If it’s moms or women having the party, it can be a crafting and cocktail party. Everyone bring an ingredient for a simple craft. And have fairly simple holiday cocktails.” She suggested doing a simple embroidery hoop wreath craft. I found this idea from Seeking Lavender Lane. Another idea that I got to experience at a LaTonya party was she had a hot chocolate bar with chocolate dipped spoons. She had spoons with crushed peppermint and marshmallows. You could stir the hot chocolate with the spoon and add alcohol if you were an adult or just keep it “virgin.” It was lovely and simple and added to the ambiance. She also does cakes and cupcakes for events. Seriously, follow her on Pinterest.
Cocktails and Music
Picture it: Madison, WI 2009. There was such a bad snowstorm the buses weren’t running and you have no money. You walk to the liquor store down the street and create a Hot Toddy with your roommates and watch Lifetime movies. It’s a wonderful winter memory. I found this lovely recipe for Hot Toddy’s at Epicurious. Another winter memory, you’re at a supper club in Wisconsin. Velvet adorns the walls, you’re waiting for your fish fry and twice baked potato, Robert Goulet is crooning on the overhead speakers, and you look for a cocktail on the menu and choose a Brandy Alexander. This is an old fashioned cocktail that is perfect for a cool winter evening. I found this recipe at Genius Kitchen. It’s also a song by Feist.
Speaking of music, it’s difficult to choose a good mix. My favorites are Nat King Cole “Cole, Christmas, and Kids”, Vince Guaraldi Trio “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, and this is an oldie but a goodie and purely sentimental N Sync “Home for Christmas.” I actually got into that album later because it’s so cheesy and it reminds me of some of my favorite people. One of my friends from college is in a band called Living Body based out of Leeds, UK. Anyway, my friend Jeff from that band created a “Festive Party Mix” which has a bunch of mid-century deep cuts. I like to listen to these while I wrap presents. Anyway, Living Body did a cover of “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.
Party on friends
I hope these tips help you plan a wonderful holiday party with your loved ones. The best part of the season is seeing family and friends. Also, you can wear sequins during the day. I can get behind that. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and feel free to share recipes and holiday traditions.