- Fresh finger foods: the best party appetizers are those you can eat with your hands (or on the festive snowman napkins I got), and to help your guests avoid the holidays belly bulge, put out something light and healthy. We went with veggie crostinis, sauteed vegetables served on whole grain bread, and fresh and easy bruschetta. The real hit was the crostinis topped with artichoke spread, wild mushrooms, and sauteed leeks. Both healthy and delicious, these are simple to make ahead and set out for guests.
- Seasonal drinks: it's best to have options for your guests to choose from, so in addition to wine and beer, we had eggnog with rum (buy the light kind!), peppermint schnapps for hot chocolate, classic mulled wine (just simmer red wine in a saucepan on low with seasonal spices like cloves and nutmeg with a cinnamon stick and orange peel), and my "poinsettia cocktails" - cranberry juice, champagne, and a splash of vodka - the more drinks, the more merry!
- Something sweet: it's not the holidays without sweets, so I had to indulge a little here. I placed plates of chocolate cookies, homemade peppermint bark (this couldn't be easier to make - just melt white chocolate over a double boiler and add crumbled candy canes and pour over parchment paper to cool), and bowls of festive chocolate candies and candy canes scattered around. It's especially great to have something baking as guests arrive so the whole house smells like Christmas :)
- Decorations: combine good food with festive decor and you've got yourself a party. I of course had to get a Christmas tree and adorn with ornaments:
string a plethora of holiday lights throughout the apartment, using extra ornaments to make table pieces:hang stockings with care (find creative places if you lack a fireplace as we do):