Christmas Entertaining: Decking the Halls

DATE: December 17, 2013

It’s time for the family to return to Sanibel and spend Christmas with us. Just like with Thanksgiving, the plan is to have the big meal at Sundial Resort but do a few more casual activities at the house.

However, before the out-of-towners arrive, my husband and I are hosting a Friendsmas. Friendsmas, a.k.a. Friends Christmas, is a fun way for all of us to gather and celebrate the holiday without it conflicting with travel plans and family time.

Since we get to host this year, I thought it would be fun to share with all of you what’s planned so that you may be able to use some of my ideas at your own holiday parties. To make it easy, I’ll break everything down by category: Music, Food, Drinks and Activities.


Mixing Holiday with Everyday – I have found that most people enjoy holiday music but it can sometimes get a little tiring. One way to keep your music festive but not oppressive is by using Pandora Radio’s ‘add variety’ option. Click on your favorite station and then select the ‘add variety’ option. It will give you a search box where you can enter the name of a holiday themed station (I like Today’s Christmas). This way, tried and true Christmas music staples can be interspersed with songs from the current chart topping artists.


Flavorful, Festive and Finger Friendly – The best way to keep people well fed but still mingling is to prepare hors d’oeuvres that don’t require utensils and can be eaten in 1 – 2 bites. You also want to offer dishes that are reflective of the season or your own personal traditions. Here are a few of my favorites that are sure to make an appearance at this weekend’s Friendsmas:

Mount Chevrest Cheese Puff Tower – not the simplest preparation but the final product is not only delicious, it’s also piled high in the shape of a Christmas tree

Lobster Avocado Cocktail – seafood is always on the menu at our holiday meals and this shooter-sized dish makes a great addition

Appetizers, Hors d’Oeuvres, Finger Food, Mini Desserts Pinterest Board: I found this board while prepping my menu and it is a great source for a huge variety of tiny treats


Classics, Cocoa and Eggnog – Whenever you are hosting a group of people it is important to have a variety of drink options. Your basic bar stock should include red and white wine, light beer, vodka, rum, gin and a few mixers. This will cover most of your bases and allow guests to mix their own drinks as well. To add a holiday touch, try these two options:

Hot Chocolate Bar – Set up a table with all of the fixings for a variety of hot chocolates. Offer milk, dark and white chocolate along with toppings and seasonings like nutmeg, cinnamon, marshmallows and even mint sticks or candy canes. For a little extra fun, put out a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream or Kahlua.

Eggnog – This drink is the embodiment of Christmas, only in liquid form. Take a step away from the pre-made kind and make your own in just 15 minutes. Feel free to add some cocoa to the mix for a chocolate version.


White Elephant Re-Mix – If you don’t know what a White Elephant gift exchange is click here. Most people will put a price limit on the gifts that go into the pool but I thought it might be more fun to make it a size restriction. Pick up small postal boxes (free at any post office or online at and give 2 to each guest when you invite them to the party. Let them know the gifts can be anything they want as long as it fits inside the box. Bringing two presents allows each guest to draw numbers twice for twice the gifting.

Hopefully some of these ideas will help you have a little more fun planning your holiday parties.

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