CHRISTMAS PARTY: ideas, themes, games & HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING: easy, recipes, menus, decor, I enjoy it all*”

 Vol. 2,  No. 29, December 11th, 2011

TITLE: “CHRISTMAS PARTY: ideas, themes, games & HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING: easy recipes, menus, decor, I enjoy it all*”

December is the month for Christmas parties and holiday entertaining. This week, I will turn my attention to workplace parties and entertaining at home. You’re invited. See you there! My book of the week is Williams-Sonoma Entertaining: Dinner Parties [Hardcover] Williams-Sonoma (Author). This is another in the continuing series on holidays and special dates.
Next week, in the continuing series on holidays and special dates, I will republish my annual Christmas post with an update. It’s just in time and worth checking out.

In December, as most people can relate, I have many parties to attend and sometimes two in one evening. It is a lot of fun, but sometimes, it is very exhausting. Of course, I also entertain for Christmas. 
Office Christmas parties: My experience spans the last ten years. This past Friday night, still invited as a new retiree, I attended my (former) workplace Christmas party. It gave me a chance to see the many wonderful co-workers with whom I worked for so many years and also the many friends that I’ve made.  The meal was beef and vegetables … rubber chicken good. The dessert was Christmas log and little sugar pies. The DJ played hits from the 70s and 80s and better.  It was great fun.

House parties: This weekend, I was invited to two. On Friday night, I had a house party given by a dear girl friend with the old gang. On leaving early from the office party, I rushed across the city and after getting lost, arrived at a house full of party makers. Food pot luck style and line dancing was a beautiful mix. We enjoyed a second dessert and left. I was pretty tired after the drivie home. Saturday night, I had a Christmas cocktail party given by  dear family friends. The Christmas tree, wall decorations and table cloth were Christmas friendly.  It was intimate with a few couples, one of which were new meets …lovely people.  The food was scrumptuous. The conversation was all the way from serious issues of the day to the ridiculous. We had some interesting debate and also some laughs. Coffee lattes from the new machine of our hosts was delightfully good.  A good time was had by all.

In-home entertaining: It started slow this weekend. I had a small tea and dessert Sunday afternoon. There was some serious talk mixed in with smiles.  Now, I am looking forward to the BIG ONE …Christmas day lunch. This involves a lot of preparations – cleaning and shopping. Then I cook for days. Although it is a lot of work, I always feel happy and satisfied at the end of the day watching everybody around the table enjoying the meal and conversation.  My family appreciates it.  Between Christmas and New Year’s day, I sometimes invite friends over. 
BOOK AUTHOR:  Williams-Sonoma (Author) 
“Charles E. (Chuck) Williams (born October 2, 1915) is the founder of the Williams-Sonoma company and author and editor of dozens of books on the subject of cooking.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –


Williams Sonoma is the author of following books:
– 2010 – The Williams-sonoma Baking Book Essential Recipes for Today’s Home Baker
– 2010 – Williams-sonoma Essentials of Latin Cooking Recipes Techniques for Authentic Home-cooked Meals
– 2010 – Williams-sonoma Comfort Food
– 2009 – Williams-sonoma Essentials of Roasting Revised Recipes and Techniques for Delicious Oven-cooked Meals
– 2009 – Williams-sonoma the Weeknight Cook Fresh Simple Recipes for Good Food Everyday
– 2009 – Williams-sonoma on the Grill Adventures in Fire and Smoke
– 2009 – Williams-sonoma Eat Well New Ways to Enjoy Foods You Love Every Day
– 2009 – Williams-sonoma Family Meals Creating Traditions in the Kitchen
– 2008 – Williams-sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers Classic Recipes Redefined [Williams-Sonoma New Flavors]
– 2008 – The Williams-sonoma Cookbook the Essential Recipe Collection for Today’s Home Cook
– 2008 – Tools Techniques
– 2007 – Williams-sonoma Entertaining Dinner Parties
– 2006 – Williams-sonoma Mastering Poultry Made Easy with Step-by-step Photographs [Williams Sonoma Mastering]
– 2006 – Williams-sonoma Mastering Cookies Brownies [Williams Sonoma Mastering]
– 2004 – Recipes for Delicious Cookies
– 2002 – Savoring America Recipes and Reflections on American Cooking [The Savoring Series]
– 2002 – Savoring Provence Recipes and Reflections on Provencal Cooking [The Savoring Series]
– 2001 – Complete Grilling Cookbook [Williams Sonoma Kitchen Library]
– 2000 – Fun Food
– Williams-sonoma Easy Entertaining
– Complete Seasonal Cookbook [Williams-Sonoma Complete Cookbooks]

BOOK: Williams-Sonoma Entertaining: Dinner Parties [Hardcover] Williams-Sonoma (Author)
The topic is dining room extravaganzas: casual ‘easy’ eating all the way to fancy pants sit downs. This Williams-Sonoma book is a guide to better dinner parties.  This is a HOW-TO for the hostess with the mostest. Hosts can also learn something here. There are decorating ideas including tabletop settings. There are recipes, simple and new wave type. There are seven seasonal menus. Each includes plans, serving suggestions, tips, etc. The photography is great. The food looks good enough to eat.

Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Besides the religious aspect, it is a time of receiving, but also giving. Entertaining is another way of giving.  I am speaking about family get-togethers and socializing with friends. It can be very rewarding. This sets the atmosphere for this joyful season.  Attending parties are one of the pleasures of this happy times.  
Personal Comments
 I think workplace parties are great because it gives you a chance, outside the normal office environment, to get to know colleagues better. 
I think accepting invitations from friends and neighbours and going to their house parties is another opportunity to socialize and make new friends.
I think having those near, close and dear in your home is so enriching and satisfying. 
At the end of December, even if partied out, I might ask: “Wouldn’t it be dull if there weren’t any parties or entertaining during this wonderful season?”  
The Point
I wish and pray that you and yours enjoy the month-long party season.
For party season, I have a few suggestions – I call them Antoinette’s Rules*. I think every lady should:   
Attending Office Christmas parties
1. Dress appropriately; more precisely,
1.1 Don’t wear revealing clothing.  After all, it’s an office party not a nightclub.
2. Be careful with the alcohol intake; more precisely,
2.1 Have one or two – making a fool of yourself at an office Christmas party is stupid. Also, remember that you have to face your co-workers come Monday morning. 
2.2 Don’t drink and drive;
3. Have fun but be professional – there have been stories of people who have said and done things that they have regretted the next day and in some cases lost their jobs because of it. Needless to say, these people were drunk at that point. 
Accepting house parties invitations
1. Show up on time – it’s just courteous;
2. Bring a house gift: wine, pastry/dessert, chocolates, flowers, etc. 
3. Drink responsibly; in this regard,
3.1 Limit your alcohol intake;
3.2 Recognize that drinking to excess might make others uncomfortable;  
3.3 Arrange a drive home;
4. Behave properly -you’ll have just as much fun … perhaps more;   
5. Reciprocate, if accepting invitations from friends;
If entertaining at home
1. Get organized; in this regard,
1.1 Make a list of everything you need for the party.
2. Start early – cleaning and decorating should be done in advance;
3. Plan the meal:  soup to-nuts & don’t forget the fruit cake; this means reviewing recipes;
4, Prepare some dishes beforehand, if possible;
5. Set aside sufficient time (on the day of the party) for grooming and dressing –  the hostess should look her best!
6. Leave fifteen minutes leeway before the guests arrive to make a final inspection allowing for last minute stuff.
December holiday lunches, dinners and parties mean good wine and drink, good eats and desserts, good songs and dance…most of all good cheer! Party on!    
And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours?*
Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
“Books are life; and they make life better!*”
P.S. Big News: There are big changes coming to my blog – Please stay tuned.
P.P.S. #1 I have a TWITTER page. Consider becoming a follower? Visit –   saveandread
P.P.S. #2 I also have a FACEBOOK page. Consider becoming a friend? Visit: – Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
P.P.S. #3 I am on Linkedin. Consider becoming a connection? Visit – Antoinette La Posta
*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #1: Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg (who spent some $70 million of his own money to clinch New York’s Mayoral election in 2002) was famed for his extravagance. “There was the notorious Christmas party thrown in 2000 by his London office that cost close to $2 million,” Buzz Bissinger once reported. “Based on the theme of the seven deadly sins, the party featured entertainers representing avarice walking around waving cash and yelling, ‘Money – ain’t it gorgeous?’ while guests interested in gluttony could watch other entertainers posing as ‘fatties’ have food stuffed into their mouths.”
(Source: Anecdotage) –   
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #2: Jo Brand & the Albanian Anthem
In January 2004, comedian Jo Brand and the BBC formally apologised for a comment made by Brand on the “EastEnders Christmas Party” special. The problem? Brand had offended countless Albanians by offering to break wind to the sound of the country’s national anthem!
(Source: Anecdotage) –   
S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #3: Axl Rose: Axl’s Nuts?
At a Christmas party one year, Victoria’s Secret model Stephanie Seymour found herself in a heated confrontation with drunk Guns ‘n’ Roses frontman Axl Rose. During the ensuing fight, Seymour later admitted, she had grabbed Rose’s testicles!
(Source: Anecdotage) –  
S & R* QUOTE #1: Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain
I have now reigned about 50 years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen. (960 C.E.)
(Source: Wisdom Quotes) –
S & R* QUOTE #2: Albert Camus
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
(Source: Wisdom Quotes) –
S & R* QUOTE #3: Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.
(Source: Wisdom Quotes) –
“For today, my word/phrase(s) are:  “party”; “entertaining”; “”
A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, or recreation. A party will typically feature food and beverages, and often music and dancing as well.
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –
Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time.
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –
Between 2005 and 2011, the proportion of young adults living in their parents’ home increased, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The percentage of men age 25 to 34 living in the home of their parents rose from 14 percent in 2005 to 19 percent in 2011 and from 8 percent to 10 percent over the period for women.
(See Figure 1.)
These statistics come from America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011, a series of tables from the 2011 Current Population Survey providing a look at the socioeconomic characteristics of families and households at the national level. “The increase in 25 to 34 year olds living in their parents’ home began before the recent recession, and has continued beyond it,” said the author, Rose Kreider, a family demographer with the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch.
Similarly, 59 percent of men age 18 to 24 and 50 percent of women that age resided in their parents’ home in 2011, up from 53 percent and 46 percent, respectively, in 2005. It should be noted that college students living in a dormitory are counted in their parents’ home, so they are included in these percentages.
(Source:  U.S. Census Bureau) –
S & R* NEWS ALERT* #1: Dinner Party Perfection
Dinner parties are a special time for family and friends to come together, share laughs and enjoy each other’s company. But, organizing that perfect party to satisfy every guest can be a challenge. It’s important to consider guest preferences while still representing your personal entertaining style. Check out the below tips from co-authors of the Bite Me! cookbooks, Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat on how to make the next dinner party the one everyone will remember.
Don’t break the bank!
All you need is some imagination, some dependable recipes and a willingness to follow the prepared motto. Metro’s Irresistibles line has a wide variety of dinner party favourites that provide great value, including prepared dips, local cheese baskets and cured meats.
Set it up.
Set the table with linens or mats, dishes, flatware, flowers, candles one or two days ahead to give you one less thing to think about.
Create sensory appeals
Feed all the senses by lighting scented candles, playing themed music and having bowls of candy and nuts scattered throughout the house.
Tantalizing themes
Want to throw a Candy Land party? Line glass rims with Pop Rocks, put frozen gummy bears in cocktails, and line the table with candy necklaces. More of a roll-the-dice crowd? Make it games night, using game boards as serving platters or placemats!
Bottled Bevvies
1 (750ml) bottle of wine is approximately 5 glasses. Depending on whom you’ve invited, plan on ½ to ¾ bottle per person.
Keep it simple
Stop fussing with flowers. Put a large glass bowl in the centre of the table, fill it ¾ full with water, pour in a bag or 2 of fresh cranberries, and, there you have it.
Fake it like you made it
If homemade appetizers are too daunting, check out Metro’s delicious Irresistibles Frozen Appetizers or Irresistibles Life Smart tzaziki, hummus, white bean and basil or low fat spinach. Mix in fresh lemon juice, chopped fresh parsley or some ground black pepper to make it your own.
For more dinner party suggestions visit
S & R* NEWS ALERT* #2: Holiday entertaining with festive flair
Janette Ewen is an expert when it comes to making holidays happier as a décor and lifestyle expert, she knows how to deck the halls in style. This year, follow her dos and don’ts to get into the holiday spirit, without the holiday stress:
Choose a theme. This can help to guide décor, food and even background music choices. Whether it’s winter wonderland, or something more elaborate like an evening in Rome, you’ll have more fun and your guests will remember it for years to come.
Embrace the tinsel and the glitter. Forget about restraint. This year, more is more. Look for bright, off-beat items at dollar stores that can add a splash without the cash.
Create a beautiful first impression. Make sure the entrance to your home is spotless since it’s the first thing your guests will see. Stash cleaning supplies close to where you’ll need them. Janette suggests a Swiffer Sweepervac in the front hall closet for quick clean-ups.
Exhaust yourself cleaning. If you’re having a party, get as much done as you can a few days before hand. The most important thing: clear away the clutter. Not sure where to put it? File it in festive-print boxes and make it part of the décor.
Spend all your time cooking. There are excellent prepared foods available so you won’t be exhausted when guests arrive. Fake don’t bake just dress everything up on beautiful plates with your own garnishes. To create the aroma of freshly baked cookies, keep a product like Febreze Air Effects on hand with the ‘cinnamon sugar & home’ scent. It will give you all the aroma and none of the fuss.
Get overwhelmed with the post-party clean-up. Load your dishwasher as dirty dishes get collected from the table, so you’ll have one less thing to worry about at the end of the party. Even if you can’t run your dishwasher until the next day, use a quality dishwashing tablet, like Cascade All-in-One ActionPacs, which can help power away 24-hour stuck-on foods from the night before.
*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 11th, 2011 at 9:09 pm and is filed under Special Dates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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