The holidays are a wonderful season of celebration with family and friends. But they can also be stressful as we try to fit everything in! Spending time together is a gift especially as life gets ever increasingly busy. I am blessed with a circle of girlfriends that have been there for me time and time again, and truly held me up over the years. We first met through theater and became fast friends – they are my New York family. One of the best things my group of girlfriends does is our annual holiday party. We take time every December to pick an evening and gather to celebrate the season and our friendship. As the years pass careers have grown, marriages and children have entered – we’ve all gotten so busy! It might take us awhile to find a date we can all agree on, but calendars are cleared, spouses, boyfriends, and kids are told they’re on their own for the night, and we gather to have a little fun.
To keep things fun (and fair), hostess duties rotate each year. After the year I dropped a pumpkin pie face down on the kitchen floor five minutes before the first guest showed up, it’s quite frankly a relief to share that duty. We offer to bring food and/or drinks, whatever we can so that no one person is responsible for the whole thing. Partying is no fun if you’re too stressed to relax. Thanks to Gloria Ferrer I was able to bring the drinks for the entire night! Warned that bubbly would be coming, my friend Nicole made these awesome drink tags for each of us. She chose a screen star legend for each of us and taped it to a candy cane with some sparkly jewels and hooked it over a glass. Part of the fun was guessing who she chose for each of us! I was Vivien Leigh – no surprise!
Nicole offered to cook for us, and I’m still dreaming of her ways with cheese and pomegranates. Theresa brought a flourless chocolate cake that wowed us. Rachel brought a ginger liqueur to add to the bubbly if anyone want to spice things up, and I can attest that it was delicious! Cara made us all homemade Irish Creme to have with dessert. The crowd favorite though was definitely the cheese plate, and everyone had fun tasting the different sparkling wines with them. The Sonoma Brut from Gloria Ferrer was a big hit with all the aged cheeses we had on hand. Having so many sparkling wines to try was really fun – we’re big fan of bubbly and firmly believe it adds so much to a celebration. When a show opens, when a show closes after a great run, at bridal showers or baby showers – it’s always a good idea to pop open a sparkling wine!
Another fun thing we do is our annual “Better Than Your Office Party” gift swap. We use an online service to draw secret Santa names and have a little fun surprising each other. My secret Santa gave me a tiara! Absolute perfection and far better than anything I ever got in an office exchange!
Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful to be perfect. We’ve learned over the years that all we really want is time together. Share the cooking and baking duties, and use the decorations that are already out this time of year. Taking the time to gather is what really counts.
I’m so glad I have these beautiful friends in my life!
Disclosure: Gloria Ferrer supplied me with the sparkling wine to share, but all opinions are my own.