Ready to Party? Jingle all the way this Christmas!

From popbox party… popbox-party.co.uk/ready-party-jingle-christmas/

Are you looking for a stylish but fun party theme for your Christmas events and celebrations? Celebrate in style and sparkle with this party in a box kit for all your Christmas celebrations.

Top tips 5 for a festive party for all the family:

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1. Plan the Menu

Getting a selection of party nibbles right for a mixed crowed can be tricky. Here’s our top suggestions for your family friendly party spread:

  • Crispy potato skins with creamy chive dip – recipe
  • Cranberry and sausage stuffing balls with bacon – recipe
  • Lamb & feta burgers with minty yogurt – recipe
  • Baked Camembert with garlic bread (warning, can get a little messy!) – recipe
  • Chicken Dippers – recipe

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    • Strawberry Santas – recipe
    • Spiced Christmas meringue wreath – recipe

2. Entertaining the Kids

  • Have christmas themed simple games ready such as Pin the nose on Rudolf
  • Christmas crafts. Try setting up as small craft table where the kids can cut out and decorate their own christmas tree – print this template on green card, it’s ideal!
  • Photo-props – these can be fun for the adults too. Get christmas photo-props and a disposable camera and let the giggles flow.

Christmas Party Kit

3. Set the Scene

  • Ensure you have all your christmas decorations up. Ensure you have inviting festive lights around your front door to welcome in your guests and of course a glittering tree!
  • Christmas party ware is essential. Napkins, plates and accessories to style your party buffet.
  • Cute christmas paper straws and creative cups are ideal for the kids.
  • Get a party kit with all the essentials and little touches to help you with these special but necessary touches.

4. Set the atmosphere

  • Music! A great place to get a easy music selection is iTunes radio. You can search through the listings and just play! Stick to the classic Christmas tunes, or opt for Disco classics to really get the party moving; or if it’s a more subdued affaire try a jazz station.
  • Welcoming scents. Lighting festive candles is ideal, but ensure they are in safe places away from the kids. Or try having some mulled wine warming on the stove, I generally don’t find it a popular drink choice but the smell is heartwarming.

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5. Get the drinks flowing

  • Cranberry cooler – Fill 6 glasses with ice, divide the gin, Grand Marnier and orange juice between them. Top with cranberry juice; garnish with orange slices.
  • Pomegranate Christmas cocktail – Stir together vermouth and pomegranate juice. Pour into martini glasses, adding an ice cube if you wish. Top up with ginger ale and serve.
  • Non-alcoholic tropical fizz – Fill 8 glasses with a mixture made up of strawberries, kiwi fruit and pineapple rings. Fill the glasses with equal amounts of chilled sparkling apple juice, chilled tropical fruit juice and chilled soda water.
  • Egg nog – Enjoy this classic homemade Christmas tipple laced with brandy to keep out the winter cold. – recipe

How to style a Christmas table

The presents are wrapped, the decorations are up and the fridge is stocked, assistant food editor Cassie Best, talks us through the finer details, like dressing the Christmas table.

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Plan ahead

Make a list of all the dishes you will be serving on the big day. The night before Christmas get out all of your big serving dishes and mark each one with a post-it note for what you will serve on every plate. This way you won’t be hunting around for the gravy boat come dinnertime.The presents are wrapped, the decorations are up and the fridge is stocked, as the big day approaches, take time to plan the finer details such as dressing the table and getting the dinner on it in one piece.

From the freezer Yorkies

Look out for recipes, which can be prepared a day or two in advance. You can blanche carrots and greens, peel and boil potatoes, make stuffing, wrap sausages in bacon and make all your sauces on Christmas Eve. Or why not have a couple of things already cooked and stashed in the freezer? These Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes can be cooked from frozen, leaving you time to concentrate on dressing the table.

If you don’t have time to make all the dinner accompaniments, shop-bought can still look beautiful. Decant sauces into pretty serving bowls, scatter cranberry sauce with a little orange zest and swirl a little melted butter, a few thyme leaves and some grated nutmeg into bread sauce. Wrap ready-made stuffing balls in half a slice of bacon and skewer with a rosemary stick.

seafood platter

With your oven full and hob space limited it’s a good idea to choose a cold starter, which can be prepared in advance. A sharing platter of seafood, cold meats, pate or a terrine are all great options- try potted shrimpcrab cups or ham hock terrine. Place them on a big wooden board in the middle of the table and let everyone tuck in.

If you’re hosting a big family get together but your dining table only seats four, create space by borrowing extra tables of the same height. Once the tables are covered with a tablecloth and dressed for dinner your guests will never know you’ve had to do a patch job!

Place settings

Place name cookies

Creating homemade place settings is a great way to welcome your guests to the table and adds a personal touch. Get the kids to make these sweet name place cookies. Wrap up in cellophane and tie with pretty ribbons.

Theme your table for a dramatic effect. Start by matching the colours to your dining room or other decorations. Use a simple tablecloth with a decorative table runner to create a central focus point. For a vintage theme look out for dramatic candelabras, lace napkins and antique napkin holders. Or follow the trend for a hunting lodge-themed interior with pinecone name placeholders, rustic fabrics for napkins and taxidermy-inspired centrepieces.

Create height

Your centrepiece will be the focus of the table, but you don’t want it to use up valuable space. Pick candelabras or vases with narrow bases so you can still see across the table and have plenty of space for the food.

Guinness, treacle and ginger pudding

Set up a small table or sideboard as a bar close to your dining table. Make sure you have a selection of drinks, glasses, ice and spare napkins so you don’t have to leave the table to fetch extra refreshments.

Christmas dinner wouldn’t be the same without a glorious steamed pudding. To make sure yours is ready to serve up on time, and to save hob space for your veggies, you can reheat your pudding in a slow cooker. Plug your slow cooker in (in another room if you want to save counter space) and half fill with boiling water. Place your pudding in the slow cooker and leave to steam for at least 2 hours or for up to 4 hours. We love this dark and fruity Guinness, treacle and ginger pud.

canapes-main From http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/

1. Mix it up

Plan your menu to make sure you have a nice mixture of canapés. For a party of eight or more, serve a variety of at least six different types of canapé with an equal split of meat, fish and vegetarian. Serving half cold and half hot will mean less time in the kitchen and more time to enjoy the soiree. Feta & cucumber bites Mini meatball sliders Anchovy palmiers

2. Get spearing

Serving your canapés on decorative skewers can transform your nibbles into stylish hors d’oeuvres. Look out for skewers in cookware shops or online, or use rosemary sprigs stripped of their leaves. Don’t forget to have plenty of napkins on hand and bowls for used skewers.

Pear platter

3. Pretty platters

Look out for large vintage serving platters in charity shops, wooden boards and trays, and pieces of slate to serve your canapés on. You’ll be able to fit more on, meaning you won’t have to keep returning to the kitchen.

4. Feeling saucy

Where canapés are served with a thick sauce or dip, you can blob the sauce directly onto the board in neat lines and place the canapés on top. Not only does this look stunning, it will hold the canapé in place meaning your plate of food will look up to caterer standard.

Leek and goat's cheese tartlets

5. Cases and bases

Transform shop bough goodies to save you time. Fill tiny ready-made pastry cases with fig preserve, crumbled blue cheese and a few thyme leaves or try topping blinis with smoked mackerel pâté, a few capers and a sprig of dill.

6. Bottoms up

Make sure you have a selection of spirits, wine and beer as well as soft drinks. Stock up on glasses; aim to have one wine glass, one cocktail glass and one tumbler per person. A few cocktails will go down well, mix the spirits for this Merry cherry fizz in a jug and top up with the sparkling juice just before serving.

mini New York cheesecakes

7. Sweet treats

To finish off the evening serve a selection of sweet canapés. These can all be assembled before the party and bought out when you are ready to start sending people home! These mini cheesecakesare sure to be a big hit!

8. A helping hand

For a large party of 15 or more, it’s a good idea to hire a few waiters and waitresses to serve food and drinks. Why not ask your children and their friends to help out for some extra pocket money? It will allow you to socialise and enjoy the party.

Tortilla chips and dips

9. Finishing touches

The finishing touches will really make your party a success. Play some soft music, dress the tables with flowers and bowls of nuts and crisps, and light the room with candles and fairy lights. Make extra space by pushing tables and chairs to the walls.

10. Wrap it up

For a party that your guests won’t forget, send them home with a homemade gift. Pop these delicious truffles into gift boxes or wrap up these Christmassy biscuits in cellophane and tie with ribbon. For more on entertaining with panache, read our tips for styling your Christmas table.

{PARTY IDEA} Festive Winter Wonderland

This beautiful theme posted on Birds Party Blog is elegant, modern and sparkling for christmas. The Winter Wonderland theme is perfect for your festive gatherings big or small and suits most tastes.

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Dreaming of a White Christmas’ was my inspiration. We ♥ snow, and the idea of styling a complete white party seemed very appropriate to bring the snow inside at any cost! 🙂
Inspired by snowfall and cosy winter days, I chose a white color palette to reflect a crisp, pristine but also very cozy look with a touch of glam – But without breaking the bank!
By mixing different textures, from fabrics, to paper, glass and ceramic, wool and fleece; you can create a monochrome white look without making it look too clinical. The addition of candles and mirrored tiles on the table, helped to bounce light around and add warmth to the whole set up.
Read the whole article at Birds Party Blog…

{PARTY IDEA} Reindeer Christmas Dinner Party

Getting set for the festive season and planning to have some guests over for dinner or the big day? Why not host a elegant Reindeer themed dinner party for your guests. This article from Kara’s Party Ideas shows you exactly how to create this bronzed theme…

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“This lovely SANTA’S REINDEER DINNER HOLIDAY CHRISTMAS PARTY was submitted by Jennifer Rogers of Cio Prints Design Studio! I am in love with this printable collection, and actually have the exact same plates from Target! Love the design. Jennifer did a fabulous job….such a  beautiful party with a lot of ideas…

Jennifer said this about planning the party- “This was a small dinner party for some of our closest friends and family. We wanted to do something special before the holiday season really kicked off and everyone was too busy with prior RSVP’s. After a trip to Santa’s workshop where they have actual reindeer we totally fell in love and had to do a party showcasing these beautiful creatures. We wanted a modern and elegant feel to the party, nothing to over the top. After finding some great reindeer plates and accessories at my favorite store (Target) the inspiration began flowing.”

Read the rest of this great article at Karas Party Ideas

Cocktail Inspiration: Blackberry Margarita

Ideal for welcoming guests to your party – get a tray of these cocktail delights ready when your guests arrive.

With Sunday Football parties in full effect, what a perfect way to welcome guests at your party.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup 100% agave blanco tequila
  • 3/4 cup Grand Marnier
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 12 ounces fresh blackberries

PREPARATION

Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar and kosher salt in a dish. Cut lime into 9 wedges; rub rims of 8 glasses with 1 lime wedge. Dip rims of glasses in salt mixture. Combine water and 1/2 cup sugar in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup. Microwave at HIGH 2 1/2 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar; cool. Combine syrup, tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice, and blackberries in a blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a pitcher; discard solids. Serve over ice. Garnish with remaining lime wedges.

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Creating a taco bar with all…

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Bourbon Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes

Ideals for your kids Halloween Parties. If you don’t have jars to serve these in use milkbottles!

Do It And How

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2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream or half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2-3 ounces of bourbon
frosting + sprinkles (or cinnamon sugar) for glasses

Click HERE for instructions

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{PARTY IDEA} Ice Cream Parlour Party

Another fantastic idea from Birds Party Blog, how about a Ice Cream Parlour theme for a birthday?

This party would be perfect for any birthday celebration (Who wouldn’t want a table filled with frozen treats for their birthday?!) or indeed a super sweet back to school celebration!

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Read the full article at Birds Party Blog…