I love the holidays. It really is the most wonderful time of the year AND it allows for extra entertaining!! This year I decided to do a Favourite Things Party with a group of girlfriends. We take turns entertaining in each other’s home throughout the year…sometimes there are themes involved and sometimes it’s just fun and friendship.
To get the party started I set the scene with these really sweet invitations. I ordered the invitations from Brown Paper Studios on Etsy. She did a super cute job. I had them printed on cardstock and mailed them to my guests to get them excited.
If you have never heard of a Favourite Things Party you are in for a treat. They are super fun.
Each guest must purchase 3 of their favourite things. IE- if your favourite thing is cosy socks you would buy 3 pairs of socks. They can be different colours but must be the same. The host gives the dollar amount per gift…and you hope your guests stick to the amount. There are different ways to do the gift exchange but this is how I did it…when my guests arrived I had them write their names on a card and put them in a hat. On their card was a sticky with a number that my guest was told she must keep.
Once we had our share of nibblies and cocktails we moved into the living room to start the game. The person with sticky number 1 was called to the front of the room where all of the gorgeous gifts were piled. They then reached into the hat and pulled out 3 names. The number 1 person then gave her 3 gifts to the ladies that she picked and told them why the item was her Favourite Thing. The 3 names went back into the hat when she was done. Then number 2 came up and did the same thing. Once a person’s name was called out 3 times and she received her 3 gifts her name was removed from the hat. It is a great way to introduce your friends to things that you already love…
I pulled out some of my decorations and tried to create a cosy atmosphere. I kept my Christmas decorating very traditional this year using a lot of red, green and plaids. I have a lot of decorative Christmas trees and used them throughout the living and dining room.
The tablescape design played off of the classic holiday look I created in the living room. I found these sweet plates at Home Goods in the US and brought them home with me. The plates were purchased for $5.99 each. A complete steal. I was only able to buy 6 at my local store. I looked for more online and found a site called Replacement.com they did have 4 plates but at $25 each, I decided to pass. I happened to be at another Home Goods store and found 4 more plates that were of the same make but a slightly different print on them.
Each place setting featured gold flatware tied with a green bow. I added a Christmas brooch to each of the bows.
My centrepiece was a gorgeous surprise floral arrangement that had arrived the day before. One of my guests had sent it to me and it fit perfectly with the traditional setting.
You might notice by the legs that I got a new dining table. As much as I loved the last one it was just too small and it did not have extensions. I gave it to my son and daughter in law and they are happily using it in their dining room. I bought this one from FB Market (I think that is what it is called) Anyway seats 10-12 people. It came with two extensions. It has a few marks on it but that is ok…it is going to be a spring project for me. I am going to paint it black to match the buffet that you can see on the right side of this photo. The buffet is actually a TV unit. LOL…but it works perfectly!
The chargers and chairs were both rented from Special Event Rentals…… Just as an FYI…if you plan on renting chairs that will be used on hardwood…go to the dollar store and buy felt tips. I use them all the time on my rentals and they save the floors from scratches. These wreaths were purchased from Dollarama for a dollar. I removed the bells that were hanging on them and added white ribbons.
I placed votive candles in each of the Christmas trees to add to the ambience.
I served each of my guests a glass of champagne when they arrived. To add to the festive look I added a raspberry to each glass. Some glasses were adorned with a candy cane. Excuse my hand…lol…I guess I didn’t get it out of the way in time! LOL
A couple of ladies brought the apps – fresh vegetables and homemade dip. The dip was so amazing I asked for the recipe and am sharing with all of you at the bottom of the post. …the charcuterie board was just beyond!!!!! Janet should start her own business with these boards!!! Gorgeous. Honestly, by the time we were done grazing we were full!!
Dinner was kept simple…I made some penne pasta with bolognese sauce and another with a vegan sauce using mushrooms instead of meat. For dessert one of the guests brought some vegan sorbet that was to die for!! I shared the recipe for it below. I also put out a cheese and chocolate board served with Port. I also had a few trays set up with the fixings for speciality coffees. PS…these sweet little cups came from none other….Dollarama. I think I paid $1.99 I have been seeing them everywhere from $9.99 to $23.99!! Isn’t that crazy!! You would be hard-pressed to find any differences between them.
What a great idea this was to add some extra decor and a bit of bling to the app station. Janet printed some signs and put them in these sparkly frames. So simple and elegant.
I love these tree ornaments from the Trius Vineyard in NOTL. Not only are we getting a great gift but now every time we decorate our trees we will be reminded of the fun night we spent together. There is a better photo of them below but I wanted you to see how they were attached to the gifts.
I LOVE, LOVE this gift bag. I am actually saving it for next Christmas.
Guess who bought us the gift of pillows? LOL Do you remember my blog post on the crazy lady with all the pillows? If you missed it you can read it HERE
This was the first time I have ever hosted a Favourite Things party…I am thinking it won’t be the last!! We all gave and received the most beautiful and thoughtful gifts. So much effort was put into the presentation too. Our evening was filled with laughter, delicious food (with the help of my friends), cocktails and super great company. It was above and beyond my expectations…because truth be told…..I was just winging the whole thing! LOL
Ina Garten ….. Pan Fried Onion Dip
- 2 large yellow onions
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
- Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.) Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.
- Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.