Sunday, 11 December 2016

Halloween and Christmas Dinner

Since moving into my new apartment with my husband I've been into hosting dinners and parties for my friends. We now have the space and freedom to entertain guests whenever we like, sometimes for holidays or special occasions and sometimes just because! This year we hosted a Halloween party and a Christmas dinner for the first time and I think they were both pretty successful. Here are some of my tips for hosting 'grown up' parties while still keeping it fun and cute.
I often get excited in the week coming up to an event and start decorating or setting the table even though there's days to go. This does end up being helpful on the day since there's less to prepare but I do realise it's a bit of a silly habit. We borrowed a portable table from Adams parents for the Halloween party so we had plenty of room for snacks and decorations.

Australian shops seem to be more and more into Halloween every year so it was pretty easy to find themed paper plates, napkins etc. for reasonable prices. We mainly shopped at Daiso, Target and Discount Party Warehouse.

For food we focused on candy and sweets, as well as ordering Halloween themed donuts from Krispy Kreme. We chose soft drinks with interesting colours like baby blue and green, and for dinner we made mini pizzas.

The apartment was already decorated for Halloween so we just got some balloons to finish the look.

During the party we played a spooky playlist (you can listen to it here) with muted videos (playlist here) on the TV. We had a selection of Halloween movies to choose from and ended up watching the new Ghostbusters. 

By the time the party was over I felt Halloweened out! We cleaned up a lot of the decorations the next day and I started itching for Christmas.

Last night Adam and I hosted a Christmas dinner for our friends. He made an amazing vegan roast from scratch that included rosemary and thyme potatoes, parsnips, carrot, paprika garlic and lemon zest cauliflower with tomato and sherry, a red onion, brussel sprout, red wine vinegar, radish, sultana and wild rice salad that I had never seen before and vegan sausages. He even prepared homemade vegan gravy! He was cooking for 2 and a half hours nonstop. We also had Christmas themed Krispy Kreme donuts, sparkling grape and apple drinks and vegan gelato for dessert. 
It was important to us that the entire meal (aside from the donuts) be vegan-friendly. Two of our guests are vegetarians and one is vegan. We researched recipes for Christmas dinners that excluded animal products and found that Jamie Oliver had plenty! If you are thinking about hosting a dinner where guests have special dietary requirements my advice is to make every aspect of the meal suitable for them so everyone can enjoy and no one misses out.

To set the mood I made a Christmas playlist on Spotify (you can listen to it here) and let it play while Christmas themed videos played silently on the tv (you can watch them here). Because videos are muted they won't distract from conversation but there is still enough sound from the music to fill the space.
I also lit candles and made sure the candles on the table were gold and white to match the theme. The scent in the room was really lovely and the warm light set a nice vibe for the dinner.

Our Christmas decorations are pink and gold so the crackers and napkins on the table also matched this theme.

We finished the night by opening gifts and watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It was a really lovely evening that I hope starts a new tradition!

Hosting parties can be a little challenging, especially since Adam and I are quite new to it. I feel like after planning a wedding we can take on anything, but there are always little anxieties- will everyone like the food? Will the playlist work? Is the house tidy enough? Is everyone comfortable? I find that I'm always rushing around during the evening answering the door, getting pillows for people and clearing the table. I definitely need to learn to settle down and enjoy the party more!

I always enjoy the day after a party- the apartment is usually still tidy, there's left over food to snack on and I get to look at the photos that were taken the night before. A lot goes into preparing a dinner or party, but of course, at the end of the day it's all worth it.

The next party will be New Years Eve! I think I'm just going to have a small night in with my best friend Audrey watching movies and drinking champagne. Sometimes some food and good company is all you need.

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