Christmas parties are way too fun. Why? It's the time of year to give yourself a free pass and drink all the eggnog your stomach can handle (I have yet to discover my threshold). It's also a great excuse to cook from the Betty Crocker Christmas cookbook (cans of cheese soup as a main ingredient wouldn't fly come January). I am going to go ahead and say it: Betty Crocker Christmas cookbook is amazing. We use it every year, and it has the best, simplest, stress-free super tasty recipes. ( sorry fans - no quinoa or kale). Great gift idea - although maybe your mother has one that you can eternally borrow, like we did.. ;)
I have found to set a very beautiful food table, its a good idea to have different heights for serving plates - it adds a lot of dimension and makes a table look awesome.
For a fairly cheap decoration, put leftover tree branches with a few red roses in a jar. You can take off the top metal hanger-part of a round ornament, leaving a hole, and stick it upside down on a bamboo skewer to add another element to this Christmas bouquet. You can also glue a bamboo skewer to a pinecone.
As for drinks, here are the best ones we had:
Gingerbread Martini: Mix with shaker/ice: 1 oz vodka, 1/2 oz Kahlua, 1 oz Gingerbread syrup*, 1 oz half n' half. Top with whip cream and gingerbread cookie.
* You can get Gingerbread syrup for 12.95 at Starbucks - they sell it behind the counter so you have to ask and in my case the employee wasn't too sure, so you might have to ask a manager.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate: This you can leave on the stove top while people help themselves. Use Hersheys Cocoa (4 cups milk + 8 tbs cocoa + 4-8 tbs sugar) and add Peppermint Schnapps to taste. Top with whip cream, red sprinkles and a mini candy cane to get yourself ready to "Baby It's Cold Outside" karaoke.