Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Party #2: Christmas Card Writing Party

Moonstruck Chocolates' Mr. and Mrs. Claus Truffles, on Amazon

Make a holiday chore much more fun by inviting several friends to join you for company while you all write your Christmas cards. You'll serve them tasty snacks, put on high energy Christmas music (No "White Christmas" or "Blue Christmas" tonight!) and indulge in some delicious beverages while you work.

CHRISTMAS PARTY ACTIVITY:

MOMA "Santa's Tree" Pop-Up Card, on Amazon

Gather together with friends to get an important chore out of the way: holiday card writing. Invite people to bring over their cards, fancy papers, address books, stamps, pens, photos, stickers, embellishments, glitter and other crafty supplies. Some people might prefer to craft and create their own cards; others will want to just buy holiday cards at the store to simply write and address them at your party.

You can chat, listen to music, and keep each other company while you work on your Christmas cards. I prefer not to show movies at Christmas card writing parties, since movies make people want to look up at the screen instead of down at the cards they're writing in.

Skiing Gnomes Stickers, from Paper Source

Encourage each other to finish. Inspire each other when you struggle to think of something to say to a particular relative.

"Moose in Forest" Christmas Cards, on Amazon

CHRISTMAS PARTY GUESTS:

Santa Embellishments, from Paper Source

Your guest list will most likely be comprised mainly of women - possibly mostly older women, since letter writing is a tradition that's dying out, sadly.

This is an ideal child-friendly party, too - Sunday is a schoolnight, so you'd host the party earlier in the afternoon. Kids would love to come nibble on goodies and help make glittery, pretty Christmas cards to send to their relatives.

CHRISTMAS PARTY INSPIRATION:

Christmas Card Writing Party, at Gigmasters

Holiday Card Party, at Luci's Morsels


CHRISTMAS PARTY DECORATIONS:



Whimsy Reindeer Pillow, from Pier 1 Imports

You may not have gone all out and fully decorated for the holidays yet - it's still early in the month! That's perfectly ok. You don't necessarily need decorations for this party - just a big cleared off table for everyone to spread out their things and work on. Or you could all settle in comfy chairs and lounge on couches, writing on lap desks or on magazines propped in your laps.

If you do decorate, stick to traditional red-and-white, red-and-gold or red-and-green, cheerful and colorful decor. You want to spark your guests' inspiration and put them in a festive holiday mood.

Jewel Tone Ornament Wreath, from Pier 1 Imports

Be sure to have a festive wreath welcoming guests at your front door!

Lay the table with a festive, washable holiday tablecloth that you won't mind getting gluey, glittery and inky from everyone's lovely card projects.

Caspari Christmas Paper Plates, on Amazon

Serve food on paper plates to make this Sunday evening worknight party easy to clean up afterwards!

CHRISTMAS PARTY FRAGRANCE:


Winter Candy Apple Candle, from Bath and Body Works

Make things cozy by lighting a fire, setting out lit candles, and spraying your home with a holiday fragrance. Bring in fresh evergreen cuttings from your back yard, if you live in a wooded area.

Also, you can inexpensively make your house smell fantastically festive with this simple trick: Put one stick of cinnamon in a big pan of water on the stove and simmer it. Start about twenty minutes before guests arrive, and refill the pan with water a couple times during the party. (Don't forget to check now and then to make sure the pan hasn't boiled dry!) You can buy a jar of eight or so cinnamon sticks for less than $3 at Trader Joe's

MUSIC:




Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, by the Ray Conniff Singers, on YouTube

Buy the Ray Conniff "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" MP3 on Amazon for 99 cents


Christmas With the Rat Pack, on Amazon

Because December is so new, your guests will likely be excited about the upcoming holiday. I recommend classic traditional Christmas songs. (Later on in the month when people are tired of hearing Christmas music everywhere, it's time to haul out things like the fun, modern new Annie Lennox holiday CD).


A Winter Romance, by Dean Martin, on Amazon

Select albums and compilations with happy, poppy, energetic songs to keep your guests' energy levels up. I recommend Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, Brenda Lee, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and similar recording artists.

CHRISTMAS PARTY APPETIZERS:



Cheddar Dill Puffs Recipe, from Gourmet Magazine

Because this is a weeknight party on a work night, you probably won't want to serve a sit-down dinner. That uses up too much time that your guests need to use writing and making their Christmas cards.

Instead, serve finger foods and appetizers. Try to keep them easy to pick up and easy to eat. Have plenty of napkins nearby - your guests will be using their hands to work with paper and envelopes, so they'll need a way to keep their hands clean as they nibble on treats.

Christmas Card Writing Party Appetizers (Taste of Home)

Five Little Nibbles With Puff Pastry (The Kitchn)

Four Christmas Party Nibbles (A Life of Geekery)

Homemade Cheese Straws (Martha Stewart)

Lemon Garlic Chickpea Dip with Veggies (Rachael Ray)

Lemon Thyme Bruschetta (The Kitchn)

CHRISTMAS PARTY BEVERAGES:


Because this is a worknight party, I wouldn't serve too many alcoholic drinks. Perhaps just a festive Grinch cocktail or a Holly Berry for each guest. Then I'd move on to non-alcoholic beverages if they're thirsty, and hot drinks if they're chilled.


Wow your guests with a San Pellegrino sparkling soda they've probably never seen: Chinotto. Serve it over ice for a non-alcoholic beverage, or create cocktails with it.


This bitter orange drink might be too strange for some of your guests, so also have standard festive fare on hand like Martinelli's sparkling juices or sparkling beverages from Trader Joe's.

Republic of Tea's Downton Abbey Christmas Tea, on Amazon

Also offer hot beverages - tea and coffee in both caffeinated and decaf varieties, as well as a festive mug of steaming hot cocoa.

Bobby Flay's Mulled Cider, at Food Network

Christmas Party Cider with Honey, from Nibbles and Feasts

CHRISTMAS PARTY DESSERTS:



Brandied Mince Tarts Recipe, from King Arthur Flour

Lofthouse Style Sugar Cookies Recipe, from Brown Eyed Baker

Serve desserts that are easy to pick up with one hand and eat while writing with the other. Things like cookies or mini tarts. Nothing that requires a spoon or fork! I also wouldn't serve mini cupcakes because the frosting is messy, whoopie pies, or powdered sugar cookies like Linzer or Russian teacakes.


Easy Christmas Cookies, at Delish

If you have time, bake cookies ahead of time. Or pick some up at an elegant bakery - try to avoid just picking up a bag of Chips Ahoy or boring Pepperidge Farm at the grocery store. Trader Joe's has some good quality, attractive cookies at an inexpensive price, too.

Candy Cane Cookies (A Good Appetite)

Mini Pecan Tarts (Mehan's Kitchen)

BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS PARTY PLANNING:


A Handmade Christmas: Sentiments for Christmas Cards, Kindle Edition, on Amazon


Merry Christmas From: 150 Cards You Wish You'd Received, at Amazon


Papercrafts for Christmas: Making Cards and Decorations, on Amazon

RELATED LINKS:


Christmas Card Babysitting Swap Idea (Over a Cuppa)

Christmas Card Quotes (About.com)

Christmas Quotes (Making Greeting Cards)

Christmas Letter Tips

5 Fabulous Christmas Card Tutorials (Passionately Artistic)

Mastering the Art of the Christmas Card (The Wordslinger)

Simple Pleasures: Homemade Cards (This Time, This Space)

What Not to Do: Readers Share Notoriously Bad Christmas Letters (MSNBC)


Otter Holiday Cards, on Amazon