Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 1 - Christmas Card Writing Party

Moonstruck Chocolate Advent Calendar, on Amazon


"Santa's List" Holiday Pop-Up Cards by Robert Sabuda, 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, address books, stamps, pens, photos, stickers, embellishments, glitter and other crafty supplies.

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 card they're writing in.

Nordic Snowflake Hole Punch, from Paper Source

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

MOMA "Santa in Sleigh" Holiday Cards, on Amazon


Wreath Moss Holiday Cards, from Paper Source

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

This is an ideal child-friendly party, too - other than it's a weeknight, school night party. Kids would love to come nibble on goodies and help make glittery, pretty Christmas cards to send to their relatives.


Christmas Card Writing Party, at Double Fun Parties


"Believe" Seasonal Pillow, at Pier 1 Imports

You may not have gone all out and fully decorated for the holiday yet. That's ok. You don't necessarily need decorations for this party - just a big 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.

Fresh Blue Ridge Decorated Wreath, from Target

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

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

"Tis the Season" Plates by Meri Meri, at Amazon

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


Winter Garland Candle, from Bath & 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


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.


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)

Christmas Nibbles (MSN Recipe Finder)

Five Little Nibbles With Puff Pastry (The Kitchn)

Homemade Cheese Straws (Martha Stewart)

Lemon Garlic Chickpea Dip with Veggies (Rachael Ray)

Lemon Thyme Bruschetta (The Kitchn)


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.

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


Brandied Mince Tarts Recipe, from King Arthur Flour

60 Christmas Cookies, at Woman's Day

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, 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)


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

Papercrafts for Christmas: Making Cards and Decorations, on Amazon


Christmas Card Babysitting Swap Idea (Over a Cuppa)

Christmas Card Quotes (

Christmas Quotes (Making Greeting Cards)

Christmas Letter Tips

5 Fabulous Christmas Card Tutorials (Passionately Artistic)

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

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

Santa Owls Holiday Cards, on Amazon

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