Mad About ... Parties
(This is a continuation of the Tiki Party post. I decided to break it up into several posts to make it a little more manageable. The original post was dated December 14 and can, quickly, be found in Labels under "Parties.")
It only makes sense that my sample party be centered around Tiki culture! This is a template for a party. Obviously, you might want to do something different.
Date/Time: About two weeks before Christmas/4 pm - 9 pm (let's people mingle outside while the sun is still out and wraps things up early enough so you can clean up and relax).
Location: Home, in the backyard and living room/dining room.
Theme: Tiki Christmas party.
Number of Guests: Approximately 20 people - keeping it a small gathering.
Menu: See post.
Plates: Smaller cocktail plates - paper - in tropical designs and brightly colored plates. Shuffle them before setting out, so there is a selection.
Napkins: Plain white cocktail napkins with a small Christmas detail.
Cups: Clear plastic tumblers and champagne flutes. Since the gathering is pretty small, bust out some Tiki glasses.
Cutlery: Multi-color toothpicks and clear plastic forks.
Tablecloth: Plain white plastic table covering, tapped down. Over that, a plain white tablecloth.
Tableskirting: Grass skirt! Even though table skirts tend to be fancy, doesn't mean you can't get creative with it!
Serving Accessories: Plain white is always a good call because it can be embellished with decorations. Here it could also be fun to use retro-looking bowls or even natural bowls, made from hollowed out melons of coconuts.
Candy/Nut Cups: As mentioned above, little bowls are the best. For a Tiki party, kitschy is better.
Place Cards: Always stick with plain white cards, for the reasons I listed above, but embellish with one or two stickers in your tropical theme.
Centerpieces: Since this is a Christmas party, it only seems fitting that the tree be the centerpiece! A fake tree would be super retro, though natural is always nice. Some chunky, colorful lights; tinsel and retro decorations are a nice touch.
Room Decor: More lights, especially those big chunky, colorful lights that your grandparents probably put out, are perfect. Some other nice touches: snowflakes, fir garlands and tropical flowers and fruits.
Outdoor: The Tiki torches I recommended above are perfect for this occasion. Some more lights and paper lanterns keep it festive and shed some light.
Candles: Outside, bug-repellent candles are best. Cluster small groups of tea lights, or slightly bigger candles, on tables tops. Inside, big chunky candles with some banana leaves and holly circling them.
Confetti: Look for some snowflake shapes and tropical shapes; pineapples, palm trees and star fish are fun examples.
Invitations: If you do chose to send out paper invitations, go totally retro. You can make the cards yourself and print off some 1960's Christmas designs and Tiki designs. For a small party, it can go either way. Since the guest list is pretty small, addressing paper invitations isn't that big of a deal. Emailing the RSVP invitation and then sending physical invites to those that have confirmed, is a good compromise.
Thanks You Notes: If you like, you can keep the theme going but plain cards are just fine.
Party Favors: There's a fun British tradition of using "crackers" - they are a little weird to describe, but the basic idea is a tube that is filled with toys and a paper crown. You "crack" them open and fun ensues.
Candy: A couple sampler boxes of See's Candies is easy and always welcomed.
Goodie Bags: Mini-bottles of rum, candy, Christmas card - plain bag with tropical stickers.
Hats: You can check this off your list if you use the crackers. If not, then you can skip it or pick up something to your liking.
A good mix of Christmas songs and Bossa Nova will put everyone in the mood. Make your own play list and press play.