Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Favorite Event of The Year - Hoiday Brunch with My Besties!

Every year I host a holiday brunch for my very best friends from college. It is my most favorite event of the year. Here are the details...

The menu:
I normally love planning a menu but this year I had "chef's block" and couldn't think of what to make. To remedy the situation I introduced a little contest. I asked all of my friends to submit menu ideas and whoever submitted ideas that I used would win a door prize. After receiving a ton of ideas I put together the following menu and awarded two different prizes from the Anthousa Bath & Body Collection.
Croque Monsieur Sandwiches - absolutely delicious!
Butternut Squash Soup - my own variation on this recipe (coming soon)
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts - huge surprise that I made these, right?

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting - heaven on earth!

Mimosas & champagne cocktails (champagne with blood orange Italian soda mix), coffee, sparkling water

Party Favors:
Bags of homemade party mix (recipe posted Monday) with pretty ribbon and holiday tags

David Monn, the celebrated New York event planner, was recently quoted in a New York Times Style Section article saying "People love the permission to be comfortable". With that in mind I went for a very laid back setting this year and created a little tree-side picnic. On my living room floor, in front of our lit Christmas tree, I threw out a nice tablecloth, a drink tray, flowers and centerpieces, sparkling pine cones and candles all on the floor. Everyone was asked to wear sweats and after serving up a quick buffet style lunch, we all ate siting on the ground, with the Christmas tree lighting up the room. It was quite festive and very casual. Everyone loved it and said we should do it that way every year. After busting out my old college photo albums so we could have some good belly laughs at our uglier days it was time to get to work...

The highlight:
For the last few years I've hosted this annual holiday brinch. A few weeks prior, I work with a local charity to sponsor a family in need. We circulate the list and all of our friends jump at the chance to sign up for gifts. The day of the brunch everyone brings their gifts and after we eat a great meal and catch up it's time to get to work. It's like Santa's little elves at work, as everyone shares the gifts they bought and wraps them up with Christmas wrap and ribbons. It is so wonderful to look around the room at your favorite people in the world, who are so fortunate in their lives, working together to make Christmas magical for another family. My most favorite part is to look at the enormous stack of wrapped gifts we've collected and think of the family opening them Christmas day.

Here are my little "elves" hard at work...

The fruits of our labor... (toddler beds & mattresses, bedding, highchairs, a TV with DVD player, clothes, toys, books, a stroller, gift cards and more. Nice work ladies!!!)

If you have a great group of girlfriends who enjoy getting together for the holidays, I highly recommend this type of holiday party. I have so much fun and love having all my dearest friends over for such a fun event.

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