Holiday season is in full swing, and the New Year is just around the corner. Find tips for throwing a fabulously festive party, amazing recipes for drinks, appetizers, & desserts, and some gift ideas I love in today’s special holiday edition of Thymeline!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links at no additional cost to you. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
With the holidays upon us and Christmas less than a week away, I thought I’d share some last-minute tips and links to help you make it through the rest of the season. If you are stressing out, or overwhelmed, remember you are not alone. Take some deep breaths, gather supportive people around you, and make some space to relax and have fun!
Throwing a Fabulously Festive Fete
Whether in celebration of the holidays or the New Year, the winter season is full of parties and get-togethers. If you’re hosting one, I’m here to help you with a minimal stress and bar set-up that works in any home. Follow these tips!
- Beer & Wine: Want to keep it simple? Nix hard liquor and just keep a big cooler of beer, wine, and hard cider. Make sure a bottle opener or two are in easy reach. Super easy!
- Cocktail Bar Basics: If you choose to go the cocktail route, don’t get stuck playing bartender all night. Create a big batch cocktail (or mocktail) to keep it in a punch bowl or pitcher. You can also set up a bar with some basic mixers for people to make two or three ingredient drinks for themselves (think gin & tonic, rum & Coke, vodka cranberry, etc.). Put out some limes, some mixers, and a few bottles of booze to match and you’ll be all set.
- Signature Drinks: If you don’t mind a little extra prep work before the party sets, you can always decide on a signature drink for the party. I like to set out a recipe or two for some simple but special cocktails (like a Paloma, Ginger Jungle Bird, or Whiskey Smash), and invite guests to help themselves.
- Small Bites: You are likely going to be doing last minute cleaning, so go for appetizers that require very little prep the day of. I love having more substantial food than just chips and dips (like pastry pigs and cheesy pretzels), but I always make sure to choose recipes I can make ahead, freeze, and then just pop into the oven to serve. That being said, never underestimate the crowd-pleasing appeal of a well-curated cheese platter!
If you need some more ideas, I got you. Check out these simple small plate ideas and these 25 Fabulous Recipes For A Festive Holiday Cocktail Party for some beautiful recipes perfect for this (and any other) season.
Delicious Gifts to Give This Holiday Season
Every year, I make piles of cookies and treats to send out and give as gifts. I hope no one minds getting cookies, jars of fancy homemade jam, and bottles of booze for the holidays, because it’s my usual go-to. Give what you’d love to receive, right?
In a bit of a selfish endeavor to discover some new, totally giftable recipes this year, I created this list of 25 Holiday Treats To Gift This Christmas from bloggers across the web. I chose recipes that looked like they would pack and travel well – whether it’s just in a long car ride in a cookie tin, or packaged up in a box to ship across the country.
I’m definitely making a few myself this year. The gift hoard will include these Double Mint Chocolate Chip Crinkle Cookies , a batch of Honey Gingerbread (picture of the process above), Bakery-Style Butter Cookies filled with my own homemade Mixed Berry Jam, trays of Candied Pecans, and chocolate peanut clusters courtesy of the Sally’s Candy Addiction cookbook.
And speaking of cookbooks, they make great gifts for the hosts and home cooks in your life. The Washington Post put up their 2017 cookbook recommendations last week. You can also check out my reviews of various cookbooks, including one of those top picks:
- Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark (One of my personal favorites)
- Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook by Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu
- Peppers of the Americas by Maricel E. Presilla
- Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South by Vivian Howard
- The Dumpling Galaxy by Helen You
All of my recommendations in 2016’s Cookbook Gift Guide also make great gifts!
Hope all of your holidays are beautiful, and you have a chance to relax this season. From my family to yours, Happy Holidays and cheers to the upcoming New Year!