The holidays are such a magical time of year! This season is filled with festive parties, great food, celebrations and cheer. (aka: “adult libations”). For the past 15 plus years, a core group of my friends have had our “Annual Ornament Exchange Party”. The location rotates each year and new friends float in and out, but the core remains the same.
It had been about 4 or 5 years since hosted the party. It is so much fun to plan, decorate and host the event. This year, I chose to use Evite invitations, to simplify and track the responses effectively. We had about a dozen close friends attend, which was absolutely perfect - time to really visit and catch up with everyone.
Each person brought an appetizer or dessert plus a nice bottle of wine. We tend to limit the desserts to just a few or the host provides. Each person tries a new appetizer each year and by the end of the evening, we all want to swap multiple recipes.
Put together a champagne bar this year with pomegranate and tangerine juices along with peach nectar to flavor the champagne. Various liquors adorned a tray on the kitchen island, so each person could make their own creation. Provided red and white wine for everyone, along with waters, sodas and beer.
Never want my guests to go hungry – you could call me a certified “food pusher”, so I made multiple appetizers and desserts for everyone to enjoy.
Rosemary-Brown Sugar Cashews
Crostini with fig jam, caramelized onions and blue cheese
Russian Tea Cake Cookies
Surprise English Toffee
Traditionally, we are all pretty competitive during the ornament exchange portion of the event and things get interesting. Couples tend to strategize together, to select the best ornaments, from their point of view. We draw numbers and a gift can be stolen 3 times and then it is “frozen” and off limits to everyone. Figured out that being a middle number typically pays off.
A wonderful time was had by all and the last person left close to one o’clock in the morning.