Christmas Party

Last week was a super busy week around our house, because we were hosting our annual Christmas Open House on Saturday! We've hosted this party every year for 25 years, and we have the best memories from it. As much as this has been a big event in our family life, I've been terrible about taking any pictures by which to remember it. I was determined that this was not going to happen this year, so I snapped pictures from the beginning of the preparations all through to the end of the party.

Every party starts with lots of baking. This year's menu was: 

Gingerbread Men
Snowflake-shaped Sugar Cookies (my grandma's recipe)
Chocolate Raspberry Bars

Baked Spiral-Sliced Ham with Pineapple-Habanero Glaze
Antipasto Skewers
Assorted Cheeses and Crackers
Vegetables with Chipotle-Garlic Dip
Olives and Pickles

Lindt Truffles

Cranberry and Orange Infused Water

We were expecting almost 60 people for the party. I divided my week into baking, which happened Monday through Wednesday, and grocery and flower shopping on Thursday, cleaning and savory prepping on Friday, and final party prep on Saturday, the day of the party.

Lots of silver polishing happened that Friday...of all the serving pieces we were using for the party, as well as any silver that sits on the open hutch. It's important to me that everything be clean and sparkling for the party...light dancing off everything is a big part of making an evening gathering feel festive.

And fresh flowers are important too! This crystal vase with a big bouquet was destined for the dining room table, where all the food would be spread. The dining room is painted a pretty icy shade of green, so it try to stick with greens and white flowers there, with maybe a minimal pop of red.

The morning of the party! I love how the winter light streams into my kitchen. And when it's completely ready for a party, well...that's even better!

The candy jars on the kitchen island were full of tempting sweets, allowing all the small (and not so small) guests unfettered access to the candy. I was amused that only the smallest jar, containing gum drops, was empty by the end of the night. I think it was the easiest jar for the little ones to reach. Too cute!

All dressed up and the party is just a couple hours from starting, but we paused for some pictures.

In the final 15 minutes before the party is supposed to start, I sweep through the house and make sure all the Christmas lights are turned on, the dimmers are dimmed to just the right amount of light to keep people awake and yet make them relaxed, and I light all the candles.

I guess I only took video of the food table (which you can view in my archived stories on my Instagram account @goodwifeh), but here is a trio of cake plates sporting cookies.

It is SO difficult to take pictures during the party, because I want to devote my time entirely to our guests. This year, probably owing to the fact that I wore black velvet jeans and could just slip my phone into my back pocket, I did manage to take a few. Our party is a happy mix of family, friends from our town, friends from church, and more.

I loved this sweet grouping of a party happening within a party!

My peeps (as the young people say) from our town's historical society, where I volunteeer.

And this sweet peep is 97 1/2 years old! She still lives in her own home, starts a fire in her fireplace every night, and she drives a Mini Cooper. She is a precious, precious soul.

Adorable granddaughter spying out her present under the tree.

And our youngest grandson chomping down on a gingerbread man. We make many types of cookies each year, but the gingerbread men have happened every one of the 25 years.

Final moment, about midnight, when all the guest had gone home and all the dishes had been washed and dried. Christmas lights twinkling and soft Christmas jazz music playing and feet up. 

On Instagram, I had a heap of questions about the food and the tradition of our party. I've archived that story for future reference. But I'm more than happy to answer questions here too!


  1. It was such a treat to be allowed a behind-the-scenes peek at the party prep! (Your kitchen is gorgeous!) I loved hearing your break down of chores leading up to the big day. For me, that's the only way to do a big event . . . breaking it down into parts (otherwise I am spinning around in circles, getting little accomplished) . . . so it was helpful to read your plan.

    What fortunate guests to be invited to this beautiful, festive evening! (If I was near, I'd hint for an invitation. ~wink~)


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