Christmas Ornament Exchange Party

Christmas Party InvitationLast year, when we were decorating our Christmas tree, I noticed that our ornament collection was looking a little sad. Several were chipped or broken. The once shiny metal ones were tarnished, and the glass bulbs were cloudy. The collection has gotten smaller, as broken ornaments were not replaced. The ones that survived the toddler years are, for the most part, made of felt, metal or plastic.

Of course we have added quite a few beloved ones: the plaster-of-Paris snowman that weighs about three pounds and makes the tree lean to whichever side it’s on. The thumbprints that say, “Thumbunny loves me,” made in preschool, and the “My first Christmas” ornaments, to name a few. Still, it might be time to add to the collection.

I’ve always wanted to have an ornament exchange party. Pear Tree has the cutest tree-shaped, die-cut Christmas party invitations that would be perfect for an ornament exchange. Or maybe I’ll suggest it to my girlfriends when we’re talking about gift exchange party ideas this year.

I’ve never been one for themed Christmas trees, with matching ornaments and trendy color schemes. Christmas ornaments just don’t have much meaning when you buy a dozen at a time. I love walking into a store that has thousands of ornaments and walking out with just one—the perfect one, carefully chosen for the friend who will think of me every time she hangs it on her tree.

It’s homemade—the best kind of gift!

Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas #Christmas #holidays #giftideas #peartreegreetings
Many of us love to bake during the holiday season, and share our treats with friends and neighbors. Cookies, fudge, toffee, dipped pretzels, popcorn balls, flavored oils and vinegars, liqueurs—whatever you love to make is what makes those great homemade Christmas gift ideas, because they comes from the heart.

I love opening the door to our friendly neighbor, who is hand delivering her annual gift of chocolate-covered toffee. We exchange holiday greetings and catch up on the neighborhood news. She, like everyone I know who shares the gift of their cooking, simply loves to do things for others and never expects anything more than a happy greeting in return.

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What are you thankful for?

Thanksgiving Traditions: What are you thankful for? #thanksgiving #peartreegreetings #thankful
If you are lucky enough to have a warm home to go to this Thanksgiving, filled with the mouthwatering smell of roasting turkey and the happy chatter of family and friends, then you have plenty of reasons to be thankful. It’s easy to get swept up in the hubbub of cooking and decorating, not to mention family tensions, and lose sight of what’s most important on this uniquely American holiday.

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Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas

Hostess gift ideas I don’t know about you, but I’m not one of those people who keeps a closet full of candles, chocolates and tip towels wrapped and waiting to be used as last-minute hostess gifts. No, during that last minute before a party I’m usually running to pick up a bottle of wine, a gift that displays as much thought as the dozen other bottles of wine lined up inside the hostess’s door. This holiday season, I vow to be a more thoughtful guest. Continue reading

Fun Christmas Party Ideas: Cookie Exchange

Christmas cookie exchange partyA Christmas cookie exchange is one of those fun Christmas party ideas that puts everyone in the holiday spirit. Hmmm, could it be because you leave with dozens of cookies to eat and lots of new recipes to try?

I have to admit, I had an ulterior motive to hosting my first Cookie Exchange. I like baking cookies, but don’t have the patience to bake more than one or two varieties. Hosting a cookie exchange would guarantee me lots of different kinds of cookies, and enough to last through the holidays!

The idea is pretty simple. You invite friends and ask them to bring cookies. Lots of cookies. Enough cookies to give half a dozen or a dozen to everyone attending. As the hostess, you get to set the rules (number of guests, amount of cookies to bring, how to package them, etc.) and you should communicate this information in your Christmas party invitations.

There are different ways to do it, but I invited eight guests, and asked each guest to bring eight-dozen cookies, all the same kind. It sounds like a lot, but most of my guests agreed that it was a lot easier to double or triple a single recipe than to make dozens of different kinds. Adding to the fun, I also asked each guest to create a recipe card for the cookies they made, and to bring enough copies for each guest to take home.

My guests arrived with large boxes and trays of cookies, and we set them all around my table. I provided each guest with an empty holiday cookie tin and wax paper for layering. (Lined boxes or plastic containers would also work.) We shared wine, hors d’oeuvres, and funny cookie-baking stories, but the highlight of the evening was parading around the table, filling up our cookie tins.

I expected the Christmas spirit, but was surprised by the feeling of sisterhood that developed. It felt like an old-fashioned quilting bee, where the women of the village join forces to create something we could never have done on our own. Everyone went home happy, with eight different kinds of cookies, a tin to keep them fresh, and recipes to try next year—in short, a very successful, very satisfying party.

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