It's our Second Annual Christmas Cocktail Party & Gift Exchange! Who doesn't love a festive Christmas party?!
We had so much fun hosting friends this year, and I have to share the details of the party and a few of our favorite recipes that we made! Our party starts as a cocktail party, then we transition to a white elephant gift exchange. We ask everyone to bring a *legit* $50 gift that they would want to leave with or that is "steal-worthy!" Everyone gets excited for the gift exchange and it's so fun to see what people bring as their gift.
I'm pleased to share that my gift that I brought was stolen twice - a drill and drill bit set from Home Depot! (a $75 value! haha). Other favorite gifts included an Ugg throw blanket, an ice cream maker, restaurant gift cards, Dallas Stars tickets, nice golf balls (lol) and the gift I ended up with - Anthropologie flutes!
Overall, everyone got the memo to bring something legit...except for one guest (ha!)...who brought A HAMSTER!! As in...a rodent!!! He also included a bottle of wine, but he brought a live hamster in a little cage, and it was hilarious. Luckily, we had a consolation prize for the girl who opened it, and the hamster went home with someone who was going to regift to a nephew. (Ha!)
Our friend who brought the hamster is definitely a jokester and wanted to make sure we had a memorable evening ;) Everyone was cracking up!
We had a few gifts to give out to people who brought the "best gifts" aka the ones that kept getting stolen. We had small and large "Carl the Snowman" from Kate Weiser, which is always a fun gift. You have to try one if you haven't had him before! ;)
We did a mix of homemade and "catered" bites. When guests are asked to bring a $50 gift, we don't want anyone to worry about needing to bake something or bring a snack, so we like to serve heavy apps. That way if someone hasn't had dinner, they're ok. Here is a breakdown of what we made vs. ordered.
Christmas Tree Pizza Bites
This was a fun and easy one! I used this recipe as a guideline, but it's a very simple recipe using a can of pizza dough and mozzarella string cheese as your two main ingredients. A crowd pleaser!
Sparkling Cranberry Vodka Punch
This was a great recipe to make ahead and serve from a beverage dispenser. I usually don't like people to mix their own drinks, so I'll make a punch like this for large parties. I used this recipe and let guests garnish with orange slices and fresh cranberries.
A Wood family favorite!
Pretty much everything we served had cheese in it. I don't normally tip-toe around friends with food restrictions, BUT I do have menu signage to display ingredients so that it's clear what they're eating. Kept it simple with these: mozzarella pearls, cherry tomatoes, basil, and balsamic glaze (not the same as balsamic vinegar!).
Adam's Bacon-Wrapped Cheese-Filled Dates
No recipe, but you get the idea ;) This year he added a spicy harissa dipping sauce.
Chips & Queso
Honestly, I just love queso, so I made it. Of course, everyone else loves it too, so we went through quite a bit!
My favorite dish of the night?
Chick-fil-a Nugget Tray! It was a huge hit. Honestly, if you want to be the hero of a party, show up with a nugget tray - always a winner. I wanted to make sure we had some hearty bites available and nuggets are usually a safe bet. I ordered the medium tray of 120 nuggets and at the end of the party there were 2 left, which I happily took care of ;)
Came from a local favorite, Stein's Bakery, in Dallas. My MIL picked them up for me as a surprise and they were a huge hit! There was one snowflake left at the end of the party, and I handled it. ;)