Holiday Party Ideas for Christmas

Tis the season for holiday parties, and Daniel and I will be throwing our first one this year!  If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll see I’ve been fervently pinning holiday party ideas like crazy.  While I’m still pinning last minute ideas, we had to finalize our menu and activities so we could get our invites out.

If you want more ideas, definitely check out my holiday party ideas board, but here’s what we’ve decided on… We will be throwing a Christmas sweater (ugly optional), white elephant, finger food potluck!  The reason why an ugly sweater is optional is because Daniel bought a sweater that isn’t technically ugly, and I haven’t bought mine yet… So who knows what I’ll find!

Brownie in a Cup White Elephant GiftI’ve always enjoyed playing white elephant at holiday parties, and it’s fun to see how creative people get with their gifts!  We chose to put a $10 limit on gifts, mainly because we don’t want anyone to feel obligated to spend too much.  I thought this would be a fun gift to give and very easy to do!  You could most likely find white mugs at a dollar store, then all you have to do is Sharpie the instructions on the mug!  Most tutorials I’ve seen say to bake it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  I’m thinking of adding a second mug and writing the “cookie in a mug” instructions so they can be a pair!

After searching through pins, I decided that I was a huge fan of food being the decorations.  I saw these great appetizer ideas, which provided most of my inspiration.

Christmas Tree Cheese Platter

Grape and Cheese Christmas Tree Platter

Meat and Cheese Christmas Tree Platter

We plan to do combination of all of the these!

Wine Glass Holiday Decorations

 

While the food will be the decorations on the main table, I plan to do this on our coffee table.  It’s going to be so easy and yet so chic!  Daniel also had a great idea to use some of our tree clippings to surround the wine glasses!  I plan on getting the candles and some new ornaments at the Dollar Store!

For our main course we will be serving cookie cutter pizzas.  These are actually the reason I chose to make it a finger food potluck.  They were just too cute and festive, I was smitten with them as soon as I saw them!

Cookie Cutter Christmas Pizzas

If you happen to be strapped for time though (which we might be), you could also just make full size pizzas like these.

Full Size Veggie Holiday Pizza

Full Size Holiday Pizzas

I saw these melted snowman cookies all over Instragram, and I think they will be a hit for dessert!

Melted Snowman Christmas Cookies

Melted Snowmen Cookies

Melted Snowman Cookies

Gingerbread CookiesIt looks like they are usually sugar cookies, but I plan to switch it up and make gingerbread cookies instead.  I think it would be more Christmas-y, and they will also look like the ground the snowmen melted on!  Daniel and I made gingerbread cookies last week so we could test a recipe out, and it was a winner!  We used the Nauvoo Gingerbread Cookie recipe, and here it is with my changes.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

We halved the recipe and it made about 30 cookies.  The original recipe called for lard, but we replaced it with butter, because ew.  It also uses white sugar, which we ended up using, but for the party I’ll be using brown sugar because I think it will give it more dimension.  I also added a few new spices and upped the amount on others

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, molasses, butter and hot water.  Mix in egg.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until dough forms.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until firm.
  2. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a well-floured surface.  Cut out shapes with cookies cutters, and place cookies onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool on cooling racks.

We iced ours with royal icing and they were delicious!

Pomegranate Champagne Christmas DrinksOf course, we also need drinks at our party!  I saw this awesome looking pin, which has since been repinned over 100 times from me!  I clearly have to do it now.  The original pin was a broken link and didn’t have any information, but I’m pretty sure those are pomegranate seeds at the bottom, glasses are filled with champagne, and coarse green sugar is rimming the top.  If you buy ready to use pomegranate seeds, this drink will take no time at all, yet looks super impressive!

Another drink we’ll be serving is, of course, eggnog!  Which happens to be Daniel’s specialty, and the recipe he uses is amazing.

Here’s what you need:

  •  6 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground or grated

Begin with pre-chilled ingredients for the best results.

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs together until they’re very frothy.  Add sugar and continue beating.
  2. Sprinkle in nutmeg and vanilla, continue beating.  A little at a time, add in the whipping cream and continue to beat.
  3. Beat in the milk also a little at a time.  Lastly, beat in the rum and brandy.
  4. Chill for 1-2 hours and serve cold.

Hot Chocolate Stirring SticksLast but not least – party favors!  I’ve never hosted a dinner party before, or been to one that gave out favors, but I personally think it’s a nice touch.  I also think that homemade gifts are often the best kind, and these hot chocolate stirring sticks seemed like a great choice!  I think they will be fairly easy and fast to make – we plan to pop a few in a cellophane bag with a pack of hot cocoa!

Other than white elephant, we also plan to play board games, and if we want to get a little rowdy… a Christmas Vacation drinking game!  We will also have a variety of santa hats and other Christmas costume pieces, for anyone that wants to take photobooth-esque pictures.

I hope this gave you a few ideas for your party, and if you want more, remember to check out my Holiday Party Ideas on Pinterest.  I can’t wait to show you all how everything turned out!  Happy Planning!


DIY T Shirt Frame Christmas Gift

DIY T Shirt Artwork

A few years ago, I was searching for Christmas gifts for Daniel, and I stumbled upon t shirt frames on Urban Outfitters’ website.  Daniel has quite the collection of graphic tees, like two stuffed drawers worth.  It just so happened that that very year he decided to weed out some of his shirts.

I noticed that a lot of the shirts he was going to get rid of he still really liked, but they had shrunk or otherwise become unwearable.  Well, you can imagine I was pretty excited!  This was the perfect gift to keep his favorite t shirts AND have really awesome artwork!  The only problem was that the t shirt frames at Urban Outfitters had really bad reviews.  In fact, any “t shirt” frame I found had poor ratings.

I was still determined to get this gift, and some of the reviews had mentioned the frames were just shadow boxes.  With that knowledge, I knew I could easily do this DIY t shirt frame Christmas gift!  I found great frames on Amazon – highly rated and not too expensive.  When they arrived, I was more than pleased!  They are very well made and look expensive.

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 black shadow box frames
  • 4 graphic t shirts
  • A pencil
  • Scissors

Here’s what you do:

T Shirt for DIY ArtworkThe frames come in cardboard boxes, so I recycled and used them to make the framework!  I simply used the glass from the frame as a template, and traced it onto the cardboard with a pencil.  I then cut it out with scissors, although you could also use an exacto knife for even quicker results.

I then positioned the cardboard over the part of the t shirt I wanted visible.

Tightly fold the shirt around the cardboard square.  You could secure the shirt with safety pins or masking tape, but I didn’t find that necessary.

Folded T Shirt for DIY Artwork

Place the folded shirt into the frame and replace the backing.  Not sure if you can tell in the picture, but the frames each come with four push pins.  I decided to leave them on, my reasoning was that it would provide more support for the folded t shirt.

T Shirt in Shadow Box

Repeat steps for each frame, and voila!

DIY Christmas Gift

DIY T Shirt Frame Artwork

Daniel Unwrapping T Shirt Frame ArtworkI LOVE how these turned out.  I chose to do four frames because I like how they looked together.  You could certainly do as many or as little as you want.  This was such a great gift for my creative, t shirt loving guy!  I know he was wondering why I wanted to keep his old shirts, I think he was pretty happy with the results!  🙂

 


Vintage and Folk Art Handcrafted Christmas Gifts

Christmas is approaching fast, and I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get a little stressed out about it!  I’m usually really on top of gift buying and start two months in advance, but for some reason it snuck up on me this year!  I also never seem to have a problem coming up with ideas on my own… until now, that is.  Maybe things have been too hectic from traveling during Thanksgiving, or maybe it’s because I’m on a tight budget, but I’ve been finding it hard to find inspiration!

Handmade Heart SoapsI’m sure some of you out there are feeling the same stress, so I wanted to share a few more wonderful Etsy shops, which happen to belong to my mom!  Rose Cottage Soaps sells handmade and high quality soaps that are 100% kosher glycerin, cruelty-free, and that use natural, skin-safe ingredients.

Daniel and I got a few bars for Christmas last year, and we both loved them!  They smell amazing, feel great on the skin, and suds up really well!  I know I probably sound pretty partial, since it’s my mom after all, but if you take a look at her reviews on Etsy you’ll see other people love her soaps as well!  She puts a lot of care, love, and time not only into the soap itself, but also the packaging and shipping.

I particularly love the holiday soaps she has right now, I think they would make great party favors for your holiday party guests!  Very memorable and unique, and I personally think handcrafted Christmas gifts are the best!

Rose Cottage Handmade Christmas Soaps

Rose Cottage Snowflake Soaps

Rose Cottage Christmas Sled Soaps

Handmade Snowflake Soaps

Handemade Sled Soaps

She sells a variety of different scents and styles for men, women, and children that would make great stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts.  I really love these kids ones, although I think they would be fun for your favorite nerdy friend as well!

Handmade Star Wars Soaps

Rose Cottage Star Wars Soap

Handmade Robot Soaps

Country Rose Cottage Beeswax Ornament

Her second shop is called Country Rose Cottage, which specializes in handcrafted items and vintage pieces.  This shop is perfect for anyone that loves a vintage, shabby chic style, as well as folk art.

You’ll find a variety of handcrafted items here as well, including these wonderful handmade beeswax ornaments.

Rose Cottage Beeswax Ornaments

Country Rose Cottage Christmas Beeswax Ornaments

Handcrafted Beeswax Christmas Ornaments

Anyone that loves a country style would be thrilled by these, and they would look great on their tree!  Well, I hope you have found a few more gift ideas from this post, and best of luck on all your Christmas shopping adventures!


Christmas Time at Disneyland

Disneyland Snowflake Entrance

Ok, so if you read my Halloweentime at Disneyland travel post, you know that it’s my absolute favorite time to visit.  But a VERY close second is during Christmas Time at Disneyland!  Seriously, if you love the Christmas season, this is the perfect time to plan your Disneyland trip.  Disney goes all out with their decorations, festive food, and entertainment.

The entire park is adorned with holiday touches, aromas of gingerbread waft from cafes, shops have a variety of Christmas gifts and ornaments – but don’t take my word for it, check out some of my photos and tips below!

As you walk into the park, you’ll see Main Street is all decked out!

Main Street Christmas Decorations

Disneyland City Hall Christmas Decorations

Make sure to get your picture taken in front of the HUGE Christmas tree!

Disneyland Christmas Tree

Daniel & Michele with Disneyland Christmas Tree

Sleeping Beauty’s castle gets a Christmas makeover as well.  Another great photo opportunity!

Christmas Sleeping Beauty Castle

Daniel & Michele with Christmas Sleeping Beauty Castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle Christmas Decorations

I love how they decorate New Orleans Square within the theme.

New Orleans Square Christmas Decorations

New Orleans Square Santa Decorations

Disneyland Christmas Desserts

I’m sure you can guess that Disneyland’s bakeries would have a plethora of Christmas treats, well, you’re right!  My favorite treat that I had to get every year was the hot chocolate!  I was sort of expecting it to just be a packaged Swiss Miss-like drink, but was pleasantly surprised at the richness and quality of the chocolate.  So good!  Plus, it will help to keep you warm as the sun goes down!

Tip:  While some of you from colder states may think:  “how cold can LA possibly get?”  You’d be surprised!  I’m originally from Maine, and I was often taken aback at the how cold it got, especially at night.  Certainly not that face burning, nose hair freezing frigidness, but it still manages to chill you to the bone!  We would always see tourists looking pretty miserable, because they were unprepared for the cold.  I suggest dressing in layers, wearing warm shoes, and having a stash of gloves, hats, and scarves.  Take advantage of the lockers at the entrance of the park, so you don’t have to carry everything all day long! Read more »


Unique Christmas Gift Ideas

Happy December to you all, and I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday!  Daniel and I traveled to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving, and while it was fun to be back there for a bit, it’s SO good to be back in Portland.  Guess it already feels like home!  I’m also super excited that I can finally get completely immersed into the Christmas spirit!  I always try to give each holiday its rightful turn, but oh man, I can’t tell you how hard it was to hold out on decorating and sharing Christmas posts.

I plan to feature a variety of gift ideas, DIY’s, decorating tips, recipes, and LOTS more – so be sure to stay tuned!

Today I want to share some unique Christmas gift ideas.  I’ve always enjoyed giving and receiving artwork as gifts, and you can find some awesome pop art paintings at an Etsy shop called imDaniel. I may be a little bit biased, since (if you couldn’t guess) it’s my boyfriend’s shop.  I am always so beyond impressed by his paintings, that I honestly can’t help sharing his amazing work.  Take a look at some of his paintings below:

Marty McFly Pop Art Painting Marty McFly from Back to the Future

 

WALL-E and Eva Pop Art PaintingWall-e and Eva from Pixar’s WALL-E
(These paintings were my Valentine’s Day gift last year!)

 

Audrey Hepburn Pop Art PaintingAudrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

 

The Big Lebowski Pop At PaintingWalter from The Big Lebowski

 

The Joker Pop Art PaintingThe Joker from The Dark Knight

These paintings would be an amazing and standout gift for anyone that not only loves pop art, but that’s also a fan of cult and classic movies.  Also, if you have a character in mind that you don’t see here, Daniel is totally willing to work on a custom design just for you!  And if you head over to his Facebook page by December 15th, you can snag a 15% off coupon!

Ok, I hope I didn’t gush too much while writing this post, but what can I say – I’m a proud girlfriend!  I hope this post comes in handy if you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift, and I can’t wait to share more holiday ideas with you all!