The holidays usually come with several parties themed around Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s. But just because those special events pass doesn’t mean you can’t still have friends and family over to your home for a wintry get-together. Start planning a bash surrounding any of the following themes, then send out the party invitations:
I love winter for its blankets of beautiful sparkling snow, but I don’t necessarily want to go out in that weather. Host a warm-up party for your friends where you can encourage them to come dressed in their coziest attire.
What to do: Light your fireplace and have a stack of your favorite winter movies ready to watch. I recommend “The Holiday,” “Friends with Kids, “Happy Feet,” “Groundhog Day,” “Serendipity” or “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” Make sure everyone has comfortable seating, and set out lots of blankets and pillows in the viewing area before your guests arrive.
Drinks/food: Either make your own soups and chili or pick up a few different varieties of stews from a restaurant so your guests can choose what they would like to eat. Bake some warm bread in the oven to serve alongside the soup.
For dessert? Set up a hot chocolate bar to help your guests get cozy. Include mix-in options such as whipped cream, sprinkles, toffee bits, hot fudge, cinnamon sticks, peppermint sticks, marshmallows and liqueurs (for the adults).
Note: If you want, you can add a crafty element to your winter warm-up party. Pass out plain white mugs to all your guests and have them decorate the mug with a Sharpie marker. Bake the finished mugs in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes to set the design in place.
Gingerbread house party
This is a party idea that’s fun for both adults and kids. You can alter the event depending on who attends the party. If it’s mainly kids, pair them up with an adult and let the kids take creative direction. If the get-together is mainly adults, set up a competition to see who can decorate the best gingerbread house in a certain amount of time. You can also group together a few different guests and give each group a theme they have to adhere to while decorating.
What to do: Create a playlist beforehand so everyone has some music to listen to while they decorate. Arrange different bowls on the counter containing all of the candies, icing and gingerbread house pieces that people will need.
Drinks/food: People might be tempted to eat the gingerbread ingredients, so be sure to set out extras that are specifically designated for snacking on. You can also bake some gingerbread cookies beforehand and serve coffee or lattes for dunking.
Winter cocktail party
If you want to host a more sophisticated event geared toward adults only, consider throwing a winter cocktail party. Your guests can come dressed in their best (and warmest) cocktail attire.
What to do: Cocktail parties are all about letting your guests mingle with one another, but it never hurts to have some fun games stowed away, such as Apples to Apples, Catch Phrase or Scattergories.
Drinks/food: Make sure to set out a few appetizers for your guests to snack on throughout the evening, like bacon-wrapped figs, bruschetta, roasted nuts, pork sliders and stuffed mushrooms.
Give your cocktails a winter theme for your seasonal get-together. Here are a few of my personal favorite cocktails:
Pomegranate champagne: Pour 1 ounce chilled pomegranate juice (can be substituted for cranberry juice) into a champagne flute. Gradually add in 3 ounces of chilled champagne, then garnish with pomegranate seeds or cranberries.
Ultra Alexander: Add ice to a cocktail shaker, then pour in 2 ounces brandy, 2 ounces cream de cacao, 1 tablespoon whipping cream and 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup, and shake. Strain the concoction into a glass and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.