|Extended Family Enjoying One Another|
First things first: forget about comparing your home to someone else's. Some of the best parties I have been to were in small, very modestly furnished trailers or apartments. I have also been to some wonderful parties in beautifully furnished, large homes. There were three key components that made these parties enjoyable: fellowship, sharing the work, and creativity. About creativity: if you don't feel you are a creative person, borrow ideas from me, from Pinterest, or from magazines. Above all, keep it simple so you can have enough energy to enjoy yourself.
1. Impromptu Parties
. Invite some friends home from church for soup and dessert.
. Have your neighbors over for coffee and dessert, or wine and cheese.
. Call a couple of friends and say, "Do you have any plans for tonight or
tomorrow? I'd like you to come over for ___________."
2. Cookie Exchange
This takes a little more preparation, because you will have to have coffee
or tea, or both. Also, you could have punch. Some easy protein such as
cheese squares, which you can buy already cut up and a deli-tray with
the celery, carrots, dip, etc. might be nice, because it offsets the
sweetness of cookies. Also, it is a nice thing for the carbohydrate
sensitive folks you know. You could even ask someone who has a
problem with eating sweets to bring some of these items, instead of
cookies. Ask your guests to make their favorite Christmas cookie,
perhaps a couple of dozen if you invite 10 people. It would be nice
if everyone made enough cookies to take some home on a paper plate,
in one of those pretty colored boxes that look like Chinese carryout
(can buy these at a craft store, like Michaels), or in a small plastic
container from the grocery store. Ask each person to bring 10 copies
of their recipe, which is part of the exchange.
3. Cold Cut Trays from the Deli, a Variety of Breads, a Variety of Mustards,
and Mayonaisse & Beverages. Good for a small crowd or a large crowd.
4. Soup, Salad, Bread, and Dessert
Good for a crowd or a small dinner party.
5. Finger Food Buffet
Have your friends bring their favorite party food. You provide paper
plates, plastic forks, napkins, cups, and beverages.
If you don't like to use throw aways, be prepared to wash dishes or let
some friends help.
6. Pot Luck
This is the same idea as Finger Food Buffet. If you want a little more
control, you could ask your friends to bring a vegetable, dessert,
beverages, or bread. You could provide the meat.
7. In addition to the various kinds of parties you can have, you could also do
a white elephant exchange. Each guest brings a funny, yummy, or unusual
gift. Each person draws a number: #1 goes first, unwraps his/her gift,
then the next person #2 goes. #2 has the option of picking a gift to
unwrap or take the gift from #1. If #1 gets his gift taken away, he
chooses another gift and unwraps it. Play the game until everyone has an
opportunity to choose a gift. One of the funniest gifts I remember seemed
very uncharacteristic for the person who unwrapped it. She unwrapped a
toilet seat with sixties' type flowers painted on it, then proceeded to set it
on the couch and sit on it. We were all young married couples, and we
could hardly stop laughing. What I remember about that party is the
fun and fellowship. Also, my best Texas friend brought either winter
squash or sweet potatoes with apples in it. That party was over thirty
years ago, and I still remember.
I hope this gave you some ideas. Tomorrow, I will give you some ideas and recipes for a make ahead menu.
By the way, do not forget the power of deli-cheesecake, frozen pies, and cakes from the bakery. Also, for those who are on a frugal budget: there are some delicious bean and hambone soups that I have never seen anyone turn down.
P.S. Did I remind you? Let friends and family help. And it doesn't have to be perfect, whatever that is -- maybe, imperfect Is perfect.