This year, hosting our annual holiday party was a bit more hectic than usual.  The party itself was super fun, but the days leading up to it were stressful.  I’m telling you, having less than four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas is NO GOOD. I had other commitments almost every night* leading up to the party meaning I didn’t have much time to work on party prep in advance.  But you know what?  I don’t care.  And that is why I’m writing this post.  This is my reminder to you that whether you have a ton of time to plan a fancy shindig, or one day to throw together a laid back gathering, your friends will appreciate it. The point of it all is spending time together.  The food, the details – that’s all secondary.

Many of you have been asking for pics and details of our party.  What you see here is pretty much all the photos I took. The morning of the party was also the one day of the year that Santa would be where we always take the kids to see him.  Even though I knew I would be giving up at least three hours of prep time to take them and we had to contend with very snowy weather conditions, I didn’t care.  Their memories are so much more important to me than my party.  Caroline didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap but did tell him from the safety of Dad’s arms that she would like some new books.  Andrew had a lengthy conversation with him, and then asked for a green toy dragon. It was perfect.

Since I knew I would be so short on time this year, I planned a menu of things that were pretty easy to throw together and that could mostly be made the night before the party so I wouldn’t have as much to do the day of.  Here’s what we had:
Stuffed mushrooms (this version as well as the spinach and sausage version from my Midwest Living spread)
Taquitos (pumpkin chorizo and a bean and cheese version) with roasted tomatillo salsa
Mac and cheese cups (there would be a riot if I ever didn’t serve these!)
Turkey cranberry sliders with sage butter topping
Cucumber bites

Salted caramel truffles
Cranberry hazelnut tartlets
Chocolate candy cane macarons
Eggnog macarons
Mini gingerbread cupcakes
Sugar cookie tree
Hot cocoa bar
As you can see above, I was a little bored of the usual red and green or blue and silver color schemes and decided to go multi-colored and bright this year.  I loved the happy color scheme, and so did Caroline as she spent time picking the sanding sugar off several of the sugar cookies :)  (Many did not survive to be hung on the cookie tree.)  As usual, I have to give a shout out to the fab ladies at The TomKat Studio for some fun food labels so the guests know what they are eating. Makes things so easy!

The only photo I have of things semi-set up is this Instagram.  It was a wonderful evening and as always, we are so grateful to all the friends and family who came to spend their evening with us.  We love you all so much!

*On the note of hectic schedules and calendars filling up, today’s holiday giveaway is for an awesome day planner from the Etsy sellers Ninj & Ninj.  Head on over to the giveaway page to learn more and enter!