Let's make merry!! It wouldn't be the holidays without a few festive get-togethers. I think we'll look at a couple popular, fun entertaining scenarios: the evening wine and cheese party; the afternoon open house, and; the skating party.
Let's start with the adults only wine and cheese party. We'll invite the kiddies along later.
There are two staple ingredients necessary for a wine and cheese party, which I think you can guess. I'll help you out here by providing a useful link from Canadian Living on the cheese and wine basics.
Much as I love both cheese and wine, I'm more interested today in scouting out the fun add-ons. For example, a sweet onion confit like this one from lemonbird, would be a decadent and savoury addition to any cheese tray.
To add a little crunch to the cheese table, a bowl of spiced or sweet nuts is a perennial favorite. These nuts by marasmaples combine sweet and salty: spiced maple pecans.
Now for some fun party accessories. Cocktail napkins are necessary. But the paper ones are not exactly eco-friendly, and they really don't swipe up too much excess wine from the upper lip. Fabric cocktail napkins in festive fabrics are a much better option. These ones come from fabnaps.
You'll probably want to avoid having moisture rings appear on your polished wood furniture. These handy little coasters can slip right onto the base of a stemmed glass, so no need to worry about finding a coaster as you travel, and no confusing your glass with someone else's. DimmalimmHome is the genius behind these.
There we go, that covers the basics for a good wine and cheese party. Let's move onto the afternoon Open House, which is probably best not scheduled for the early afternoon following the wine and cheese party.
For this more casual get together, where guests come and go at no real appointed time, it is best to have on hand a selection of warm and cold drinks. This may be an event that is best alcohol-free unless most of your guests are local and likely to arrive on foot. There are plenty of fabulous alcohol free beverages though that are fitting for the season: cranberry juice, or punch; pomegranate Italian soda or sparkling water; and of course the ever-pleasing warm mug of mulled cider. The added benefit of cider being that as you mull the cider, the intoxicating warming aromas fill your home. I have tried to use my own spices to mull cider before, but I never seem to get it right. This spice blend from bayberrymeadowherbs has all the necessary pleasing elements however, as well as cinnamon sticks to add style when served.
To go with the cider, I can think of nothing better than a crumbly, melt in your mouth shortbread. Don't these not-quite- traditional brown sugar gingerspice shortbread look divine? You can thank whimsyandspice for these creations.
Brew some coffee and tea, and offer a biscotti alongside. Whimsyandspice also has tempting biscotti flavours on offer.
And for parting gifts, treat your guests to a little treat to go. Maybe a couple of assorted caramels? LeBellaCaramella offers an intriguing assortment of flavoured soft caramels. Pictured here are the fall flavoured caramels, but I am verrry intrigued also, by the thai coconut and lemongrass flavour.
Just tuck a few caramels into some favour boxes, traditionally used for weddings, but just fine also for any occassion. I love these simple yet elegant black and white damask pattern boxes.
Whewww... one more party down, one more to go. This next one is easy. We'll be heading to the rink soon, and then back to the house to warm up. All you really need for this party is a warm and cozy treat to bring the warmth back to cold noses and toes.
A frothy cup of hot chocolate....mmmmm. For a change of pace, why not try a French Vanilla hot chocolate mix. This one is from tetoncocoacompany.
And if everyone was extra good today, they surely deserve a marshmallow. I love the idea of these candy cane flavoured 'mallows from haveitconfections.
And, that's it. Our entertaining responsibilities are over. Next, we get to enjoy being a guest, and we will do it dressed in full holiday glam. Tomorrow, we prepare for our night out.