christmas cocktail party

sean and i hosted a small gathering of our closest friends for a little cocktail party thursday night.  it was nice and low key – i asked everyone to bring an appetizer or dessert, and we provided a few and the drinks.  i knew i couldn’t handle much stressful party prep, so here are my tips for the lazy man’s guide to a simple party:

– pictured above: pretty store bought cookies on a plate.  i threaded the yarn through as a small touch to tie in with the rest of my christmas decor.

-i pulled out my christmas plates, which i had totally forgotten about.  i never thought i’d be a christmas plate person, but 2 or 3 years ago i got these in the target clearance dollar section. read: 19 cents a plate!  also used were my in-law’s wedding dishes that my m.i.l. gifted to me.

– another super simple but easy touch, again tying in with the decor: fold up the napkins, lay on the fork and wrap with a piece of yarn. i prefer a knot, but a bow made more sense for quick untying for use.

– my only “real” decor for the night: all the candle sticks i own, scattered along the center of the table, along with a few ornaments and yarn wrapped mason jars.  the glittered candle sticks were from a christmas craft a couple years ago.

– another tip for ya: buy mason jars.  buy them whenever, wherever you see them.  i have tons in lots of sizes and never have paid much for them.  i use them for candles, drinks, flowers, gifts all the time!  pretty much everything looks good in a mason jar. *note to self: do a post on mason jar uses*

here’s me and my joy.  love her.  love her.  she is always good for yummy food, a listening ear, and when needed, comforting arms and a willingness to rescue my kids.  she’s a gift all on her own.  and my 3 kids are going to marry her 3 kids, so we’ll get to be family some day!

ok, so if you don’t know by now, i don’t like to clean my house.  well, its not so much that i don’t like to clean it, its just that i don’t prefer it.  i don’t really have time to do a decent job, with working and all, but when i do have time, i’d rather do anything else.  but hosting a party or gathering is a sure-fire way to get me to clean my house.  but i don’t have the determination to just clean, from top to bottom, all day long.  so i clean a little, then start to decorate.  examples: i set out all the pretty candles on the table.  then i swept and mopped under and around it.  its not until i am making something pretty that i have the desire to make the rest of the area clean.  when i set out the plates, i decided the counters really should be wiped down.  and when i was preheating food, the kitchen got a good wipe down.  so i reward myself for cleaning with a little decorating, ’cause really i’d rather ditch the cleaning and do only the pretty stuff!

oh, and the food – did i tell you i renamed costco “scratch”?  as in, all the food i served was “from scratch”.  all of it – brie, spanikopita, cream puffs, meatballs – so easy.

it was a fun night with long-time friends, a time when sean and i felt truly blessed at the group we had surrounding us and who God had placed so perfectly in our lives.


  1. 1

    everything looks great!

  2. 2

    the decor is simple and festive, but oh so beautiful!! i loved the candle tablescape!! and your outfit looked great – it will be a great addition to this week’s WIWW!

    merry christmas to your family!

  3. 3

    Love the decor!! Especially your use of yarn :)

  4. 4

    I love how costco is now “from scratch”. Great idea :). Love the decorations too! Merry Christmas!!

  5. 5

    Everything looks so pretty! I especially like all the candles and the yarn-tied silverware.

    Please, you definitely should do a post on mason jar uses! I was recently yard-saling with the ladies from my church and found a box of about 30 mason jars, in a few different sizes. I bought the whole box for $8; I couldn’t pass it up! I plan on using them for my wedding {someday}, but I’d love to know what you’d use them for!

  6. 6

    I’ve always wanted to dress my table the way you did. A lovely row of candle sticks and votive holders. I love your ‘scratch’ menu. There are so many times I get caught up in the prep that I’m too tired to enjoy things. I’ll take your lead on using Costco this year.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. 7

    You have the best sense of style! I love this.

  8. 8

    I love your theme for the party and the centerpiece was so fun and easy! I love your glitter candlesticks. I did a similar project this year with pumpkins…I saw them in Martha Stewart!


  9. 9

    Gotta love a simple and fun party. I am happy to join in next year that is if you invite total strangers. :P

  10. 10

    great ideas. love the yarn bits!

  11. 11

    I love that you renamed CostCo food – I might have to copy that! Simple parties are the best – I think everyone (especially the hostess) feels more relaxed!

  12. 12

    So much fun!! I love the simple ideas –

  13. 13

    Oh my goodness your table looked beautiful! Even though there were alot of candles there it still looked very simple because it was all one “thing.” Love your color scheme too:) Merry Christmas!

  14. 14

    Mason jars = love. They were my vases at my wedding and also lined the aisle with flowers in them and surrounded the dance floor with candles in them. I totally have them all over my hosue: holding candles, sponges, wooden spoons, etc. My sis-in-law Hannah uses them as drinking glasses! Soooo cute! Also nice are the glass water jars (carafs?)

  15. 15

    i love mason jars as well and pick them up when i see them. they are my ‘go’ to when i don’t know what else to put out.

    your house looks wonderful and so do you!
    Merry Christmas!

  16. 16

    Dang! We look good. I LOVE you, too! Thanks for hosting the fun party and for being willing to let your kids marry mine. :)

  17. 17

    love love love your new name for Costco! I am not a huge candlestick fan, but you might have just changed that for me with your table decor. your outfit is totally cute too!!

  18. 18

    Love it – I especially love the rename of Costco – so of course everything was From Scratch – I am definitely borrowing that!

  19. 19

    Your home looks so warm and inviting for the holidays! Looks like you had a wonderful time!

    I use mason jars for everything under the sun… storing dry goods in my screened pantry (makes it look a little less “helter-skelter” ), silverware on my everyday table, and also (my FAVORITE use…) to bring fresh lilac cuttings to all of my neighbors every spring. They are so affordable, but it really makes them happy when I say “No, no! You just keep the jar!”

  20. 20

    those plates are darling, as are the decos! please please please do a post on mason jars!! :)

    Happy Christmas!!

  21. 21

    I think of that cleaning style as “inspirational” cleaning – and I also find it very effective! Looks like a lovely party!

  22. 22

    Love your post – the cookies look so yummy..

  23. 23

    I love the colors you used in decorating! Genius idea on the yarn! And the candle display is amazing! Basically…I’m stealing all of your ideas LOL!

  24. 24

    I love your table and all the candles….looks so festive.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  25. 25

    My friend calls Costco, “Grandma Costco.” Grandma Costco made this pie.

  26. 26

    I think of that cleaning style as “inspirational” cleaning – and I also find it very effective! Looks like a lovely party!

  27. 27

    Love it!

    I am big into the retro/mid-century look, I have the same set of dishes and I love them! Been hunting online for more the past few years. IF you ever want to get rid of them I would totally buy them off you.

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