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Planning the Perfect Christmas Party

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Ah! The magic of Christmas.....

Like no other season, there is a certain magic about Christmas! The cosy welcoming atmosphere, even when it is cold outside, makes everyone want to spend time together and enjoy the festive season... So, even if you are not used to planning a party for other times of the year – then certainly at Christmastime, it’s an excellent idea. But – as with other occasions – planning is key. The Little Black Book Cyprus has spoken to some industry professionals and has come up with a few tips and ideas to help you on your way....

 

 

• Save the date! The Christmas season is usually packed with festive events, so it is a good idea to send out a little card for people to save the date, so as not to clash with other people’s plans

• A guest list. The number of people you invite will certainly depend on the type of event you are planning. If you are thinking only of having a quiet evening with close friends and family then limiting the guest list is preferable –perhaps an adults-only party. Extending the guest list to work colleagues may stretch your budget, especially if they bring extra guests of their own! Something to bear in mind if your event is an at-home one.

• Venue. Many Christmas parties are held at home, simply because this is the time of year when the family home can be decorated beautifully, to reflect your own personality to your guests. However, if your party is at a restaurant or other venue, early booking will be most advisable – many places are booked from one year straight on to the next!

• Invitations. It is very sensible to send out the invitations to your party as soon as the venue and date are confirmed. The Christmas season is very busy and people receive many invitations – including work events which people will be reluctant to miss. At this stage, you may want to tell people if there is a specific theme to your party – for instance, fancy-dress, so that they can plan ahead. If they have to hire costumes, it is good to have prior warning! Home made invitations are a nice touch and are quite simple to do, with festive decorations on them.

• Food. Deciding what to give your guests at a Christmas party can be tricky, yet can determine the type of event you are planning. For instance, a party at home can mean that guests will favour all home-made food and events at outside venues may mean hiring outside caterers or using the residential restaurant or hotel. Of course, one vital point to remember is to check to see if any guests have food allergies or cultural/religious preferences Even two months ahead is not too soon to organise food shopping ahead, filling the freezer with the best of Christmas fare and planning different recipes and trying them out beforehand. Guests will probably appreciate having some traditional food, such as mince pies, eggnog etc...after all it IS Christmas! Little Black Book Cyprus has had the most delicious canapé suggestion from HadeelPink Peppercorn Catering in Cyprus. Just the thing for a Christmas party.....!

Mini Christmas Cheese Balls Canape

This is a surprisingly easy and insanely delicious festive canape to get you in the Christmassy mood! The cinnamon and cranberries ensure that you taste Christmas with each bite.
The recipe below makes 6 balls. I would recommend doubling the recipe because trust me, they won’t last on the platter for long! You can easily substitute ingredients if you need to; mix and match nuts, seeds and fruits as you wish. For example, dried apricots, goats’ cheese, pecans would be great too. Enjoy!

Recipe Ingredients:

For the filling: 

100g cream cheese 
40g halloumi, grated 
3 tbsp raisins 
1 tbsp almonds, sliced 
1 tbsp sunflower seeds 
½-1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 tsp chia seeds

To roll the balls: 

2 tbsp walnuts, sliced 
2 tbsp dried cranberries, sliced 
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds 
1 tbsp parsley, chopped 
6 pretzel sticks 
Drizzle of honey

Method:

1. In a bowl, add the filling ingredients and mix well.
2. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to chill.
3. Put ingredients to roll on a plate and mix.
4. Roll the cheese mixture into small balls and roll in the cranberry mixture.
5. Stick a pretzel stick into each ball.
6. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
7. Drizzle a little honey over them and devour!

• Drinks. This is the time of year when people are happy to try new drinks such as Christmas cocktails or a punch. However, it is a good idea to have non-alcoholic drinks available for those non-drinkers, drivers and of course any children attending. Always have plenty of ice ....bag up trays of ice cubes well ahead of your party!

Little Black Book Cyprus likes this Christmas Punch with a kick from Aimee Moss from The Wine Effect Cyprus.....

Christmas Punch

To make it, You will need the following:

- A bunch of Red Grapes - 750ml Prosecco
- 1L cloudy apple juice
- 250ml sloe gin
- 50ml Jägermeister
- 1 ball stem ginger, finely sliced plus 2 tbsp of the ginger syrup
- 3-4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 Clementine finely sliced

Method

The day before you want to serve, put the grapes in the freezer for around 8-12 hrs or until frozen. Chill the prosecco and apple juice in the fridge.

1. When you're ready to serve, put the frozen grapes and a generous handful of ice in a large 2-3 litre punch bowl and pour all of the remaining ingredients on top.
Stir gently to combine, then serve.
Sits well for up to 3 hrs before putting the ice in.

 

• Decorations What is Christmas without a tree? You can go to town on themed decorations for your tree or choose a specific colourway. The tree can be your centrepiece in your room or venue and can determine the image you want to give. Setting the table with sprayed twigs, dried flowers and ribbons can look simply magical and of course, the use of candles everywhere can not only set the scene but soften the lighting beautifully. Festive decorations are usually sparkly, but it depends on your theme....rustic hangings and muted shades can be very attractive too. Of course, a welcoming wreath on your front door, if partying at home, is the ultimate welcome for your guests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Entertainment/games This is something to plan way ahead. If you are having an at-home party, you can bring out all the old favourite board games. This is the season to play them, and of course the ubiquitous Charades! Christmas is a time for children, and if your guests will be bringing their youngsters, do make sure to set up a special corner with games and activities just for them. They will not always be able to join other events at your party – so it is better for them to have their own space at parties.

• Gifts Of course, no Christmas is complete without gifts! It is a good idea to have a Secret Santa [every guest buys a gift for another named guest] or a White Elephant [every guest brings a funny gift which anyone could enjoy and guests choose which they like].

• Ambience. To create a Christmas mood, it is a good idea to have appropriate music such as choir music or carols playing softly in the background as guests arrive. Not too loud, as this will create problems with guests interacting and having conversation.

 

Whatever type of event you are planning for Christmas, do remember to allow yourself to ENJOY it! Your guests will appreciate all you do, but a relaxed host/hostess is paramount to a successful party. Last of all - have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 

By Helen Barrett November 2019 

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Little Black Book Cyprus

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