Merry & Bright

I know, I know, I know.  It’s been awhile since I last posted on my blog but with the holiday season now over, I now have the time too.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I love this time of year, it is one of my favorites! The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family and friends.  I hosted the holiday party with my friends this year a few weeks ago, after that small snow storm we had to be exact.  The snow just adds that extra magic to the holiday season.  It makes everything more cozy and warm and looks just beautiful when falling. I love it!

I was planning this Christmas party for weeks and really wanted a bright and festive theme which I think I achieved.  I told everyone to come dressed festive, which meant they could wear an ugly Christmas sweater or come dressed as one of Santa’s elves.  Whatever their heart desired.

I had decorated the house in my traditional Christmas decor and just added a few details for the party.  A lot of my decorations are from Christmas Tree Shop, Michaels, Walmart and TJMaxx.  I really try to find the best deal on an item and I do a lot of research online when I see an idea on Pinterest.  I want my house to look just right without spending a pretty penny.  Many times I’ll buy things after the holidays to use the following year.


I usually will have my dining room table set for the holidays, however we were not hosting this year so I decided not to set it this time.  The centerpiece I had gotten on sale at Michaels after the season last year and the brass candle holders and sticks are my grandma’s.  I love that I am able to include some of my family’s items into my decor style.


Every year I always display red poinsettias and lighted garland on top of my hutch. I love poinsettias during the Christmas season, they are just beautiful.  This year I added a ‘Believe’ banner that I had purchased at Kirkland’s.  I love using banners in my decor, they’re the perfect detail for any holiday.


This year I decorated my kitchen and I never do that.  I saw a few pins on Pinterest for kitchen decorations and I thought what a great idea! I decided to hang mini wreaths on the cabinets and cover the entire span of my cabinetry with lighted garland on the top. It turned out great!

The mini wreaths I had made with 15 foot single strand garland from Dollar Tree.  I formed 3 wreaths into small circles and 3 other ones a little bit bigger.  I applied the 3M Command hooks on the inside door of the cabinet upside down and tied red ribbon that I had purchased at Michaels for 70% off to the wreath and hook and voila! They really came out nice and for very little money!


Now that you’ve seen how I decorated our house, let’s talk about the Christmas Party!  Like I said earlier, I wanted it to be bright and festive.  I searched on Pinterest for party ideas and came across a lot of ugly sweater, Santa’s workshop and North Pole parties and decided to incorporate all of them.

To decorate my dining room table, I placed a few boxes down the center of the table and covered with buffalo snow to create a runner.  Buffalo snow can be purchased at any craft store such as Michaels along with Christmas Tree Shops, Walmart and even Dollar Tree.  I placed two peppermint snowman candles on either end and in the middle 3 elves.  Next to the 3 elves, I placed a framed printable of the ‘Code of the Elves’ from Elf that I had found here and a metal glittered tree from Michaels.


In front of the hutch I set up a table for the bar and hot cocoa station.  I purchased a ‘Be Merry’ banner from Kirklands on sale and a North Pole directional sign from Michaels, also on sale.  On one end I had a Christmas sangria in a holiday-themed mason jar beverage dispenser that was given to me as a gift the year before.  On the other end I had one of my crockpots set up with hot cocoa melting into creamy, chocolatey liquid heaven.  It was delicious!


I made a Christmas sangria as one of my signature libations for the night.  It was delicious! I soaked fresh cranberries and sprigs of fresh rosemary in the sangria as well.  It gave that festive look along with flavor of the fruit and herb.  I placed a ladle beside the  dispenser so everyone that was drinking it could place a few sprigs of rosemary and cranberries in their own glass.  I also had festive paper straws on the table to give that extra flair to their cocktails.  Paper straws do easily fall apart from the liquid, they are made of paper after all, but they do add that extra detail to any party.

The homemade hot chocolate took awhile to actually melt down. It’s made with milk, heavy cream and chocolate morsels, totally delicious and perfect for winter!  I also set up some additions to the hot chocolate which included gingerbread marshmallow men, red and green Christmas marshmarmallow trees and regular marshmallows.  I also had Kahlua and Bailey’s in case anyone wanted to make an adult hot chocolate.  Everyone raved about how smooth and creamy the hot chocolate was.  I will definitely be making this again!

On the island I had the appetizers set up.  Several dishes didn’t fit on there so I had them next to the desserts on the dining room table. It actually worked out because then people weren’t all crowded around the island and they were able to mingle.


Last year after the season, I bought these mini Christmas stockings at Walmart on sale.  I thought they would be perfect as utensil holders.  I simply inserted a folded Christmas napkin in the stocking along with white plastic cutlery and placed them in a Christmas basket.  Super easy for each guest to just pick one up and use for the night. The melamine appetizer plates were from Christmas Tree Shops for $1 each! Super cheap, festive and reusable!

Now for the appetizers.  I premade my menu a week before the party to make it easier on me when I was ready to food shop.  I also like to try and make a few items the day or even a few days before to save on time the day of.  Several friends brought appetizers and dessert as well which I always appreciate.


These are Andouille sausage bites with a dijonaisse sauce that were to die for! Everyone raved about them, in fact one of my best friends asked me for the recipe for her family Christmas party!  The bites are so easy to make with puff pastry and the dijonaisse sauce can be made at least a day ahead.  You could even pair them with any mustard that you already have in your fridge!  I plan to make these again for my birthday party and they would be perfect for your next Super Bowl party as well!

Who doesn’t love buffalo chicken dip? Well pretty much this is the dip wrapped up in tortilla and sliced into bite-size pieces.  They are so delectable and scrumptious.  These are also another appetizer that could be served during a Super Bowl party.  The perfect mesh of a chicken wing and traditional blue cheese dressing.


This is a pull-apart Christmas tree bread with a side of marinara sauce.  Tasted just like pizza and so easy to make!  Simply slice Pillsbury pizza dough into small squares and fill each with a mozzarella cheese filling, place into the shape of a Christmas tree and bake in the oven.  So simple!  You could pretty much arrange the little balls into any shape on the cookie sheet to match the theme of your party.

After we had munched on the appetizers for a bit, it was time for dessert.  I had made chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing and two of my friends had also brought dessert – brownie, marshmallow and strawberry skewers and orange cranberry cupcakes which are to die for!  I don’t have the recipe for those unfortunately but I know she had found it on Pinterest.

I decorated mine to look like a string of lights atop each cupcake. Pretty easy to do, simply use a tube of decorating icing and swirl it around on top and use M&Ms for the light bulbs.  Super cute!


One of the highlights of the party were the signature cocktails.  I set up a mini martini bar on the one end of my dining room table and had bought enough liquor to make four different holiday cocktails.  The most popular one was the peppermintini.  I swirled crushed candy cane on the rim and garnished with a mini candy cane.  They were delicious and just the right amount of peppermint.  It wasn’t too overpowering.

The other three cocktails that I bought ingredients for were white chocolate snowflake martini,  sugar cookie martini and a Santa Claus-moplitan martini.  Even if the holidays are over, who cares, try these cocktails and let me know what ya think!

After enjoying the delicious foods and libations, it was time to take some photos in the photo booth! Now everyone knows how I love a good photo booth.  I just think it’s so mich fun to pose with props and capture some funny moments with friends!  One of the props I was really excited for was the “selfie frame”.  I made it out of cardboard and wrapped the frame with festive Chritstmas paper and decorated with ornaments. It was a huge hit! Here are some of our ‘selfies’ :

Besides using the “selfie frame”, we also took some great photos in the photo booth that I had set up in one of the spare bedrooms.  I set up some props – garland, Santa and elf hats and stick props, on a small table for everyone to pick and choose what they wanted to use.


And here are some of our fun moments captured:


For the party favors, I made homemade holiday truffles in four different flavors –peppermintsugar cookiegingerbread and eggnog.  My favorite truffle were the eggnog ones.  The eggnog wasn’t too overpowering and so creamy.  It was delicious!  I don’t have a food processor so crumbling up the ingredients for each one was a little bit time consuming using a hammer and cutting board, but totally worth it!


I bought holiday tins from DollarTree and taped the truffle flavors on the inside of the lid so each guest would know what the flavors were.  Each tin held 8 truffles so each person was able to have 2 of every flavor.  The truffles were creamy, smooth bite-size pieces of heaven, perfect for the holiday season!

We did a Secret Santa Exchange for gifts this year and had a lot of fun doing that.  It’s easy to do and can be a ton of fun when people start to steal gifts from each other.  After we exchanged and everyone was ready to leave, we took a group photo this year.  My friends are my family, so a family portrait was appropriate:


I know this post was super long, but it included everything from Christmas.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a safe and fun New Years!




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