Saturday night friends Garrison, Gavin, Emma and Lizzy joined us for our annual Christmas party. In years past we have hosted this party on the day the kids got out of school, but Mary Ashley came home from school sick. She fell asleep about 3:15 in the afternoon on Thursday and hardly opened her eyes until Saturday morning. Our Sleeping Beauty needed rest after this hectic week leading up to Christmas vacation!
Our tradition is to host a little party for our favorite pair of brothers and favorite pair of sisters so the kids can spend time with their friends and channel their boundless holiday excitement into a planned activity. In years past, we have decorated gingerbread houses, painted Christmas canvases at our p-ART-y, and rocked the night away with a Jingle Bell Rock.
This week's schedule included coordinating our elementary school's teacher appreciation brunch, a night out with friends, cooking for and attending the children's classroom parties, plus assorted sporting events throughout the week. I was not sure we could pull off a party after all these other activities, but choosing an easy theme and taking lots of shortcuts helped us pull everything together.
We love the movie Elf, so decided to offer dinner and a movie for this year's party. This was such a fun, easy theme to carry out, and much of the preparation could be carried out earlier this month.
A wrapping paper runner added festive color to our table, topped with peppermint-striped plates from Walmart (purchased last year). Polka dot napkins, Walmart.
I found darling elves at Books-a-Million and purchased three so we could keep one and send the others home with the Lyles and Browns.
Elf Movie Party Menu
Popcorn & Bottled Root Beer
Garlic Bread Sticks
Hot Cocoa Bar
We enjoyed a three-course meal at our party. I had popcorn and bottled root beers ready for the kids when they arrived. We were eager to start the movie, and while they munched on their appetizers I finished up supper.
Here is a view of the coffee table set up for movie time. Buddy the Elf printables from Anders Ruff were adorable and helped me pull of this year's party. I ordered the digital files this fall and had them printed at a local copy shop this week. When I found these designs I knew they would be perfect!
Fun Anders-Ruff printables turn these popcorn boxes from the dollar section at Target into festive holiday packages.
Last week I shared the Christmas gift we gave our teachers: spaghetti casserole prepared in a casserole dish they can keep. (See that post and recipe here.) Well, during my big night of cooking a couple of weeks ago, I put together a large casserole to serve at our Elf viewing party. We timed an intermission for dinner perfectly -- right after Buddy and family enjoyed their spaghetti dinner in the movie. We did forgo the syrup on our spaghetti, but I think Buddy would have been pleased. I put together a tossed salad while the casserole cooked and served it alongside garlic bread sticks I picked up from my grocer's freezer.
Our dessert was so cute I had to display it on the table as part of our tablescape. Ordering cookies from Lisa at Batches saved me so much time, and it is always such a delight to open the box and see how she has brought our party theme to life.
To go along with our cookies, I set up a hot cocoa bar on a small table we pulled into the kitchen. The kids were eager to visit the Candy Cane Forest for some sweet treats.
Lisa's cookies were so cute with elf hats, elf shoes and presents that coordinated with the printables from Anders Ruff. I have a few cookies left to serve on Christmas Day.
The children loved fixing up their hot chocolate with marshmallows, Heath crumbles, sprinkles, chocolate chips, candy canes and whipped cream. I like to make homemade hot chocolate, but store-bought instant hot chocolate was a time saver. Carson poured the canister into an apothecary jar for me, and we ladled it into the cups with a pretty spoon.
We plan to serve hot chocolate again Christmas Day, but I will add a few more toppings to tempt our group.
I just need to fill the vase in the middle of the table with fresh, hot bread sticks, and we will be set to celebrate.
Here are the sweet children who make our parties so special. I got choked up before we said the prayer before our meal because I am literally watching these children grow up before my eyes. I can't wait to celebrate with them next year.
And you'd better believe, I am already thinking about what we will do for our annual Christmas break party with our dear friends the Browns and the Lyles.