One of my least favorite tasks at Christmas is wrapping. Not because I don't enjoy wrapping gifts, I do, but because it always feels rushed and stressful. I am that person up at midnight on Christmas Eve begrudgingly wrapping the final gifts I bought just hours before.
Until I began a festive and fun tradition with my best gal pal Meghan: A holiday wrapping party!
A little backstory: Meghan and I have been friends since we were teenagers, and one of the things we bonded over was our love of all things holiday (hello eggnog lattes! YUM!). We would swoon over Christmas decorations & music, and have the time of our lives watching every cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie.
I can't remember what the impetus was for us to start this tradition but we haven't missed a single year since we began.
So what exactly is it?
It was the week before Christmas and all through the house
Not a present was wrapped, not even the ones for my spouse
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
But all of my presents looked sad and bare
1. The most important piece of your wrapping party is the person/people you wrap with!
A wrapping party can be as many or as few people as you like! Just you and your best, or maybe you've got a group of girlfriends who adore the holidays! You could even make it a holiday tradition for you and your spouse!
Meg and I always wrap at her parent's house (even though we're both married), because her parent's are part of our tradition. They chat with us and watch over us while we wrap all of our presents and share our favorite Christmas memories.. I could never imagine a wrapping party without them!
2. Wrapping Supplies & Gifts!
Obviously you'll need wrapping supplies: wrapping paper, scissors, tape, boxes, gift bags, ribbon, - and don't forget the gift tags!
This year I caved in and bought from the Sugar Paper for Target gift wrap collection. Polka dots, stripes, and gold foil *sigh*
It doesn't matter where you get your wrapping supplies, but I would suggest buying at least two kinds of wrapping paper that compliment each other. It is an easy way to make your wrapping look a little fancier without have to do much extra work!
And, of course, you'll need gifts. If you're struggling to find the perfect gift check out these awesome gift guide:
The Everygirl's Gift Guide - this one has something for everyone & is easy on your budget
Lace&Scone Gift Guide - I love Lace&Scone because they are doing great things for the homeless and jobless. They have put together a great guide of companies that are doing good in the world (including us for all of our planet friendly gifts!)
Rising Tide Society Gift Guide - this is extra special because the artists and companies on this guide are all small businesses that are a part of the Rising Tide Society!
3. Holiday Beverages & Snacks
Let's be honest here for a second: what is the point of a party if you can't eat & drink your favorite holiday themed beverages & foods?! Can I get an amen?
Let's start with beverages:
1 part champagne
1 part cranberry juice
1 part vodka (this is optional - if you want to keep it a bit sweeter then leave the vodka out!).
Combine all parts into a pretty cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange peel or a few cranberries!
Eggnog is one of my favorite holiday drinks! I love mine with a shot of spiced rum or whisky, and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top! You can drink it spiked or not. Either way, serve it in an adorable tumbler to make it a bit fancier!
Spiced Hot Cider
Spiced cider is one of my favorite drinks to sip on all winter long. My secret is to warm it in a crockpot so I can have hot cider anytime I like. Plus, making it in the crockpot allows the spices to really blend with the cider.
Apple Cider - there are always lots of options with cider. I love to get a couple of gallons from my local farm as they often press their own cider, and it's incredibly fresh! You can also just get apple juice from the store. Once it cooks up in the crock pot no one will even know *wink*
Cranberry juice - I like to add a cup or two of cranberry juice to my cider as it adds a bit of tart to the sweet apple flavor.
Cinnamon sticks - for every large crockpot full I use 5-7 cinnamon sticks
Cloves & Oranges - Push a handful of cloves into 2 oranges and allow them to steep in your cider. You'll get the tangy orange flavor from the peel, and the spice from the cloves!
How To Cook:
Put all of the ingredients into a large crockpot. Cook on the high setting for 2-3 hours or until the liquid is at drinking temperature. Leave on low for 2-3 more hours to really get the spices mingling.
Or make this night before and leave it on low all night. You'll wake up to delicious spiced hot cider!
Now onto the food:
Sweet treats: this year I bought a couple of bags of Pepperidge Farms cookies. I also love the white chocolate and peppermint covered pretzels! Whatever sweets your heart desires will be a lovely addition to your holiday wrapping party.
No holiday season would be complete without Chex Mix. It may seem a bit silly but truly it doesn't feel like the holidays until I bake my first batch of Chex Mix. And we ALWAYS have Chex Mix at our parties. Over the years I have honed my recipe, based on the recipe on the back of the Chex boxes about 10 years ago (their recipes have changed in that time). I have never shared this recipe publicly - so enjoy! Forewarning: this version is extra flavorful & intense. P.S. Use the powder version of the garlic & onion salt if you are watching your salt intake!
1 stick of butter
4 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
1 teaspoon onion salt or powder
3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
3 Cups Wheat Chex
1 cup pretzels
1 cup mixed nuts
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees
Combine all chex, pretzels, and mixed nuts into a large mixing bowl with a lid.
Melt the butter in the microwave. I usually use a mug for this as it makes pouring so much easier!
Once the butter is melted add the Worcestershire Sauce, celery salt, onion salt/powder, garlic salt/powder to the butter. Mix thoroughly. Pour the wet mixture evenly over the chex, pretzels, and nuts. Place the lid firmly on the mixing bowl and shake the bowl until all of the ingredients are evenly covered with the wet mixture.
Pour the chex mix out onto a baking sheet. Bake at 250 degree for an hour, turning & mixing the mixture every 15 minutes.
Serve in a cute bowl, or in individual cups for the perfect salty snack at your wrapping party!
4. Wrap those gifts!
And, of course, commence with the wrapping! Find a spot on the floor, or on a large table and wrap away!
We like to listen to Christmas music or watch Hallmark Christmas movies while we wrap.
Here's a quick list of a few Hallmark movies to check out for your wrapping party:
1. A Wish For Christmas
2. The Mistletoe Promise
3. Christmas Cookies
4. My Christmas Dream
5. Sleigh Bells Ring
Here are a few of my favorite Christmas albums:
1. Luther Vandross: This Is Christmas. Favorite song: "The Mistletoe Jam (Everybody Kiss Somebody)"
2. Michael Buble: Christmas. Favorite song: "Cold December Night"
3. Harry Connick Jr: When My Heart Finds Christmas. Favorite song: "Sleigh Ride"
4. Nat King Cole: The Magic of Christmas. Favorite song: "Caroling, Caroling"
5. Josh Groban: Noël. Favorite song: "Angels We Have Heard On High" Featuring Brian McKnight
6. Celine Dion: These Are Special Times. Favorite song: O Holy Night.
Wrapping parties help take the stress out of wrapping and make it festive & fun instead. And it gives you the opportunity create holiday memories.
Happy Holidays from Earl Grey & Polka Dots! If you plan a wrapping party please let me know either over on Instagram: @earlgreyandpolkadots, or through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to know what things you chose to make your wrapping party special!
With love & tea & holiday magic,
Sara (& Meghan!)