Josh and I had this party planned ever since we moved in together in February, as part of our dewy-eyed dreaming about our future in this new home. We would have this great, huge party one Saturday in December with all of our friends over delicious food and plenty of drink. It would be the start of our bright future as expert party hosts. All of our friends would tell their friends, and our party would grow and grow every year to the ultimate event of the holiday season.
Okay, maybe that last part was a little over-ambitious. But our apartment had been cleaned, food and drinks laid out, and when our guests finally arrived, they all had a great time. We ate, drank, and were merry – the recipe for holiday cheer is as simple as it sounds. Honestly, I was afraid that everyone would be bored. We only had five guests, and I was afraid that it so few would make things awkward. And the only entertainment we had, other than each other’s company, were the carols playing from our Music Choice channel. But despite my worrying, everything went off without a hitch and our guests were happy to be there. I learned last night that a “grown-up” party is much different than a college rager. The amount of alcohol present does not necessarily correlate with your guests’ enjoyment. Although we had plenty of Great Lakes Christmas Ale, champagne, and two bottles of Loopy, that wasn’t the main reason everyone enjoyed themselves. And although there wasn’t a ton of people present (Josh and I had originally planned for ten…mind you, this was February planning), everyone had fun because they all got to spend more time with each other, unlike at college parties where you have to weave through the crowd to find that friend you haven’t seen all semester, and then five minutes later, you lose her to a different group of people you’ve never met.
Aside from the springtime-printed paper plates (at least we had paper plates – we never use them!), we had a festive spread that everyone enjoyed. I’ve already noted for next year that we will need more plain crackers, less crispy on the bruschetta, and a LOT more cranberry clove punch. It’s a very simple recipe that everyone enjoyed, and festive without being overwhelmingly spicy. All you need is:
64 oz. 100% cranberry juice
2 c. lemon-lime soda
1 navel orange
Combine first two ingredients in punch bowl. Slice the orange into 1/2 inch slices. Insert 10-12 cloves into each orange slice (about one per wedge)
Place oranges in punch and let steep. Serve.
I made the punch non-alcoholic for a few reasons; I knew people had to drive home, there were plenty of other alcoholic options, and if they wanted to, people could add some vodka or champagne to theirs. In actuality, everyone added a little bit of Loopy to their cup, and loved it. Adding that to next year’s notes…
Oh, and in addition to the second bottle of Loopy, my friend Shannon also brought a plate of iced persimmon cookies. Check persimmons off my foodie bucket list!
Everyone left around 10:30, which was fine with us – we didn’t have to stay up all night cleaning. I went to bed giddy over the fact that our party was, although small and low-key, a success. I can forget about my haphazard Sweet 16 that took place in a park pavilion with my mom, an ice cream cake, and two other girls from marching band, and my clarinet party where everyone was most excited over the Nerds. Until now, I had some major hostaphobia. Now I’m sitting at our kitchen table drinking some leftover champagne, wondering when our next party will be. Hopefully it won’t be too soon, because I don’t know how much longer we can live off leftovers that consist of mini hot dogs, cauliflower, pepperjack cheese, and beer.