The holidays are upon us. With Christmas about a week away the franticness that has been slowly descending since Thanksgiving has now fully landed. There is little time to do much more than what absolutely has to be done, and for many of us this means last minute shopping, quick visits with friends, and midnight gift wrapping sessions. There's little to no time to do those thing you really want to be doing this time of year-- like sitting by the Christmas tree leisurely enjoying a winter cocktail, or socializing next to a cozy fireplace with friends for hours (without once glancing at the clock and feeling guilty about the presents you're not wrapping, or the ten other Christmas parties you still have to dash off to). Believe it or not, there is a solution to this chaos, and it involves a lot of those holiday-have-to-dos, plus some much needed low-key socializing with your closest pals. Behold the wonder that is the Gift Wrapping Party.
I was invited recently to such a party by my friend and blogger, Katie Williamsen and it was just what I needed in the middle of this holiday madness. Running a small, independent retail business during the holidays is about as stressful as it comes, and I seldom allow myself social breaks during this time of year. Which is why I loved that this party offered me the chance to visit with my friends while still crossing things off my To-Do list. It was also such a blast to see what my friends were gifting their loved ones, and I got so many gift wrapping ideas by watching them pretty up their presents!
Hosting your own Gift Wrapping party is easy: Simply invite a handful of friends over for an afternoon or early evening get together, and ask each guest to bring the gifts they still need to wrap, and any wrapping paper, ribbons, or gift tags they may have. If everyone brings what they have to share, you'd be amazed by the interesting and eclectic combinations that can be made!
Simple treats such as green and red M&M's, cupcakes, and madelines made for a dessert display that looked a lot fancier and time intensive than it actually was. Ask your friends to each bring something sweet to share, and you'll have an impressive dessert table everyone will enjoy for relatively little effort at all.
When we first arrived Katie served up the most amazing Mint Champagne Cocktail. This drink was everything I want in a drink-- a little sparkle, a little sweetness, and a some balancing herbal notes. The Icy Mint Simple Syrup made these look like pretty little snowball cocktails. In a phrase- the perfect winter cocktail. I had to know how she made these drink, and Katie graciously offered to share her recipe with us:
2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 package of fresh mint
1 bottle champagne (or your favorite sparkling wine)
First make a simple syrup, pour the sugar into the water and bring it to a boil. When all of the sugar has dissolved remove from heat and place all of the mint sprigs in the syrup. (Reserve one sprig for garnish.) Cover the pot and let the mixture stand until cool. Remove the mint sprigs and pour into a freeze safe container (or a zip-lock bag). Seal and freeze.
Take frozen syrup out of the freezer 15 minutes before serving so there is a slushy consistency. Fill champagne glasses half full with slush and top with champagne.
**Thank you Katie! Be sure to visit her blog, Twin Stripe where she often shares these sort of super pretty, super tasty (but secretly super easy) recipes, plus she posts tons of great design, and lifestyle content!
As you can see the party was a huge success! We all got stacks of gifts wrapped, enjoyed a great winter cocktail and some seriously delicious sweets, while enjoying each others company! I left the party feeling totally recharged, and totally accomplished. Take that To-Do list.
All photos by Sara Logan Photography.