The invite list was 15-18 people long this year, with an expectation that about 1/3rd wouldn't be able to come due to prior holiday commitments and travel. The guess wasn't too far off; we ended up having a total of 10 guests will 10 delicious cookie creations! It was the perfect size for our apartment. And any more cookies to sample, I probably would have POPPED!
Cold mimosas, sweet treats, Christmas music and catching up with friends (a handful I hadn't seen since this happened!)...what more could you ask for?
I decided to go the traditional route this year and send out actual paper invitation, instead of an email invite or a Facebook event. That being said, I was lucky in that I was able to hand-delivery a lot of them myself. I took advantage of the situation by including a cookie, or two, to get the attendees in the mood. (Spritz cookies are such a low-maintenance classic. They're like the Ritz crackers of cookies!) The invitations I chose (via Tiny Prints) came with the ability to create a custom RSVP website to include on the card. I know I'm not the only one that hates having to call (and to remember to call!) to confirm my attendance. The custom web page went a step above simple email RSVPs in that the attendees could leave a message---say, what cookie they planned to bring? It was a perfect feature. If only it was easier to make the decision on what to bring!
For decor, I kept it fairly simple because: I was short on time, don't own a lot of Christmas decorations and didn't have a lot of money to spend (snacks > decorations after all!). So I lit some sugary scented candles, hung ornament-adorn deco mesh garlands over windows (blue and red), set out some poinsettias, decorated our mini christmas tree and a bling-ed out the dining room chandelier with sparkly ornaments.
In addition to the invites, I ordered two batches of matching stickers and used them in two different ways to tie in the theme. For one batch, I ordered blank so we could use them as cookie labels on our buffet of sugar! I simply stuck the labels onto a sheet of scrapbook paper, made a crease and cut them out.
I customized the other batch of stickers with a "thank you" message for use on the takeaway bags (something for everyone to tote their cookies away in!). I hung the bags on the window garlands like I did my first year to get them out of the way and add some more color---I hung them with some extra ornament hangers I had on-hand.
DRINKS & SNACKS
For something as sweet as a cookie party, there needs to be some salty snacks for balance. The party was also at 1PM, so I was guessing most people skipped lunch in anticipation of all the sugary calories. I decided to make SkinnyTaste's hot spinach & artichoke dip (a huge hit! assembled the night before and baked 15 minutes before people arrived), mini turkey & swiss croissants and a small fruit and cheese platter (2 cheeses, crackers, apples, grapes).
For drinks, I had my co-host bring supplies for a mimosa and poinsettia bar---everyone flocked to it! There was also ice water, coffee, milk and hot tea for those that wanted something tamer.
The moment you've been waiting for! Our cookie lineup included:
Red velvet peppermint crinkles
Cinnamon roll cookies
Flour-less rocky road cookies
Lemon sugar cookies
PB cup peanut butter cookies
Hot chocolate cookies
Caramel-stuffed salted chocolate cookies
Chocolate-dipped homemade marshmallows & red velvet graham crackers!
I made the final two, after wasting Lord knows how long trying to decided something crazier to make. There's still a list a mile long of cookies I want to make, but didn't want there to be too many chocolate / red & green / sugar / mint / spicy / etc. cookies at the party. My top three favorite of the day were the red velvet crinkles, lemon and caramel stuffed cookies! Garland loved the Oreo truffles the best, which was good news since we were gifted TONS of leftovers :)
Next year, I'm considering making the switch to instructing everyone to bring one large platter of cookies for mixing-and-matching. This year, I stuck with the practice of everyone packaging small batches of cookies for attendees to swap. It's a lot of cookies...although, they easily disappeared from my apartment ;)
Is it bad that I already can't wait until next year's?