Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Did I Promise a Party?

Extended Family Enjoying One Another
It is a busy time of year, so I am going to make a bare bones blog post for you to read about types of parties.  I have a feeling that I am only skimming the surface, so feel free to comment and suggest ideas.  The first ideas I am choosing for the ease of getting it together.

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.

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It's always lovely hearing from you. xoxo, Deborah