Simply Celebrate Life!
I decided I wanted to Host a Christmas Girls Night, and what better theme than ‘Santa Baby!?”
I hosted a Girls Night In for a group of my friends to celebrate the Holidays and show them how much I love them! I decided on a ‘Santa’ theme and had so much fun with this easy theme. Instead of cheesy childish Santa motifs, I used more specific elements like Santa hats, Santa belts, and Santa boots to make it more grown up and modern! HoHoHo! Naughty or Nice? North Pole! Red, White, and Black! White fur trim and Gold Glitter!
What’s not to get our tinsel in a tangle over?
I LOVE this Invitation! It was all about simplicity and texture for me. I found these fun cardstocks at my local Scrapbook store. I used a raised dot red cardstock for the ‘suit and the base of my card. I punched a couple little holes, and added eyelets for the ‘Belt’ onto a metallic textured black cardstock strip. I found a Gold glittered page and used a jumbo square scallop punch and a large square punch to create the ‘buckle.’ These were so easy and SO adorable! They really set the mood and style for my whole party.
Here is the inside of my Invitation. I thought it was pretty creative and had a lot of fun creating it! Feel free to use any or all of my wording for your own Parties!
DIY Cake Plates
I was inspired to make these cake plates because of a project I saw on Pinterest! These really couldn’t be cheaper or easier to make!
To begin, I found these ugly Stove covers at the Dollar Store! Yes, a pack of two for only $1!!
I simply traced each cover onto the backs of my cute scrapbook papers and cut them out. Then I decoupaged the papers onto my covers with some Modge Podge. I put one paper on the top, and a different coordinating paper on the underside, so I have a reversible Cake Plate now!
To finish them, I hot glued some red rick rack around the edge and THAT IS IT!!
I simply attached my ‘plates’ to some chunky Candlesticks with some Silly Putty.
Here, you can see the red Holiday paper that I attached to the inside of the cover.
You could epoxy the covers to your base if you want them to be more permanent, but I just used a little silly putty since I use these chucky candlesticks for different things all the time! Also, I made them temporary so that I could flip the cover over and make it reversible for different parties.
Here, you can see the cute black polka dot that I attached to the top of the cover.
This centerpiece was so easy and created completely from things I had on hand. I layered a couple of pedestal cake plates that I own. The bottom one was fun because it has a metal scroll pattern that I wove some fur trim into that I found in the ribbon section at Hobby Lobby. I topped that with the red Christmas ornaments I made as favors for my guests. I topped the whole thing with the centerpiece that is usually on my dining table, for a little height and drama. I just wrapped the Hurricane vase with a Santa ‘belt’ made from sequined ribbon and a ‘buckle’ like the ones I used for my Invitations.
Easy and Cute Decorations
I have a group of red Hurricane vases that are always out for Christmas, I wrapped ALL of them with Santa ‘belts’ made with scrapbook paper, they were so cute and easy, even if my Hubby teased me for going a little overboard.
I thought these ‘Believe’ decorations I had on hand made a cute vignette to add to my decorated kitchen.
Serve it up in Santa Style
I didn’t set a formal table since it was a more informal get together, so I dressed up the counter with cute plates and serving pieces. I wrapped this red bucket with another Santa ‘belt.’ The bucket was filled with the red napkins that were rolled and wrapped with their own Santa ‘belts.’
Here are the cute napkins on the plates. Simply roll up the napkins and create an easy napkin ring with scrapbook papers for more ‘belts.’
I used these cute Christmas dessert plates, I love finding fun serving pieces at the after Christmas sales, or of course, you can always find cute paper plates!
The Dessert Bar
What’s better for a party with the girls than a dessert bar?? No savory tonight, it’s all about the sweets!
This is one of my FAVORITE cookie recipes, they’re so soft and buttery, they just melt in your mouth, and go perfectly with a hot cup of tea or cocoa!
Classic Shortbread Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour and salt, and mix until smooth. Dough should be soft, but not sticky.
I use a small cookie scoop to make dough balls, and then stamp them with a cookie stamp. You can use the bottom of a glass (dipped in sugar 😉 to press them as well.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
Christmas has to include Sugar Cookies in fun shapes, I used a couple fun cookie cutters related to my Santa theme.
I tried a different Sugar Cookie recipe this time that I got from sweetopia.net
2 1/2 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder (*take this out if you don’t want your cookies to spread)
1 tsp salt
1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed. (Use the paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.
Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough. If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
2. Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Add to mixing bowl. Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract. Stir briefly.
4. Sift your dry ingredients together. (Flour, baking powder and salt).
5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape. Mix on low speed for 3o seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready. It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).
6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Re-roll scraps and repeat.
8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again. They will then hold their shape better when baked.
9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown. The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!
I used a Simple Flow Icing to decorate the sugar cookies, and black non-pareils for the blades on the Sleighs, and some crystal Sugar for ‘snow’ on the tops.
I can’t have a dessert bar without having cupcakes or cake pops these days. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There is nothing wrong with using a Cake Box. And the real secret is that as long as you top it with a fabulous frosting, no one would know the difference! Don’t get me wrong, I love cupcakes made from scratch too, but since I’m making lot’s of treats, I don’t mind making this one a little easier.
For the cupcakes, I used a Pillsbury Devils Food Chocolate Cake Mix
But for the frosting, I made my favorite Cream Cheese Vanilla Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
splash of milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
dash of salt
Cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, almond, salt and a few drops of food coloring (optional). Mix together until smooth and fluffy. Add splash of milk if it’s too thick and continue adding and whipping until it’s the right consistency.
These are another of my new favorite treats, it took me a couple tries to get them right, but now I have to make them more often because my kids and friends can’t get enough of them! I’ve tried a few different recipes, but this one is my favorite!
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup superfine white sugar
Preheat oven to 200desgrees F. Use parchment paper or a silpat mat.
Beat egg whites in a stand mixer with whisk attachment until foamy, then add salt, and cream of tartar. When soft peaks form, very gradually add sugar and mix until stiff peaks form and get glossy. You can test a little in between your fingers, if grainy, keep mixing.
Pipe from large pastry bag onto baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat mat. Bake 200 degrees for about 2 hours or until dry (don’t make these on a wet, humid day, they won’t work). Then let finish drying in oven with door cracked open with a wooden spoon. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 2 dozen.
I love to make molded Chocolates for a themed party because you can find fun Chocolate molds for only a couple dollars to match almost any theme! They are so easy if you only make one color, but these molds were begging for two colors to match my theme.
I painted the melted red chocolate into the molds for the ribbons and snowflakes. Let the red chocolate completely cool in the fridge or the freezer if you are in a hurry. Then top them with the melted white chocolate. I found mint White Chocolate at my local Restaurant Supply Store and it’s my new favorite for these kind of candies. Let those cool completely and then pop them out and make another round. See, easy and so cute!
One hint about melting chocolate, you can always melt it on the stove in a double boiler. But I frequently melt mine in the microwave too. Just put your chocolate into a glass bowl and cook for 30 seconds at a time, and then stir… alternating cooking and stirring until the chocolate is melted and smooth, but be careful to not overcook it!
Santa Hat Ice Cream Cones
These are so simple and so cute! I used some Sugar Cones and originally tried just dipping them in the red chocolate. It made the chocolate thicker than I wanted so I ended up painting my red melted chocolate onto the cones with a clean little paintbrush. I simply piped some thick frosting around the top and bottom to make the Santa hat trim. These are in their glasses and ready for a scoop of Peppermint Ice Cream.
I love Peppermint Ice Cream at Christmas time, and dressed up my yummy Ice Cream with my Santa Hat Sugar Cones… the kids especially LOVED these!!
Funny enough, these don’t look like they are supposed to and this was the dessert that inspired my entire party! When I went to the store, I couldn’t find any strawberries, none at all! It’s the wrong time of year for fresh strawberries, and I had to abandon my original plan, oh well… They still tasted great!
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup good quality cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350, and grease a 9×13 pan. In medium bowl, stir together butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs, with a spoon and beat well. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, gradually add to egg mixture; beating until well blended. Stir in nuts. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake 40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack, frost if desired.
They were supposed to be topped with a Strawberry, and a little whipped cream to look like a Santa Hat. Like these…
These are what they were supposed to look like, inspired from this cute blog!
I filled this cute bowl with red and silver Kisses if you’re Nice,and tossed in some Chocolate lumps of Coal for the Naughty girls too!
That looks good enough to eat! Mmm, yummy!! I bet Santa could be happy with that plate of Cookies and Milk!
And if that’s not enough ideas for you, check out my Pinterest Inspiration Board, Santa Baby, with even MORE Ideas!
I dressed up my little Shot glasses by dipping the rims in melted Chocolate and then dipping the Chocolate into some Christmas sprinkles! So festive and fun!
What goes better with cookies, and cupcakes, and chocolate than a cold glass of Milk? So here are some cute little Milk shots!
Hot Cocoa Bar
As if we didn’t have enough sugar at our Dessert Bar, I also had a Hot Cocoa Bar! Plus, It wouldn’t be a Santa party without Hot Cocoa?!
For the full details of my Cocoa Bar with recipes and more pics, check out my Santa Baby Cocoa Bar post!
Oh, how I love a Cocoa Bar! I kept this one focused on the Peppermint because of my theme and colors! I’ll have to do another post with my full Cocoa Bar ideas!
Now, that looks like a yummy cup of Cocoa with the Peppermint Snowflake Marshmallow on top!
For anyone that knows me, one of my favorite things in the whole world is my CocoMotion!
Here is my easy go to recipe for Cocoa…
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of kosher salt
Place all ingredients into CocoMotion, and turn on… That’s it! See why I love it!
As if Cookies and Milk, and a Cocoa Bar are not enough? I had to have these fun Mocktails because the look is just perfect… but more than that, with all the sweets, it was nice to have something a little tart and tangy to quench our thirst!
Naturally, I had to use Martini glasses as a sort of upside down Santa Hat. For the garnish, I ran a lime around the edge of my glasses and then dipped them into some Kosher Salt. I called them my Santa Spritzer. I mixed a little Cran-Raspberry juice with some Ginger Ale, and a splash of lime for a simple pretty red drink that packed a lot of punch!
Santa Belt Ornament Favors
I made these simple Ornaments for my guests to take home.
I simply wrapped Red Ball Ornaments that I found at Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby with Black Ribbon that I hot glued on. I topped that with squares of my Gold Glitter Scrapbook paper to make the buckles… SO easy and SO cute! They all loved them, and became a fun reminder of our fun night together!
Sugar Cookie Santas
I just made these extra special Santa Sugar Cookies as favors for my guests. I wrapped them in cute Cellophane bags and tied them up with a pretty ribbon. Easy and cute, and they were able to take a home a sweet memory of our sweet night together.
Family and Friends
And here is the reason I do these fun and cute parties, it’s my way of showing my family and friends how much they mean to me!
And seeing the smiles in these pics tells me it’s worth all the time in my kitchen!
Now, take some of my ideas and go plan your own Holiday Party to show your friends and family how much you love them!
“Think of all the fun I’ve missed,
Think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed…
Next year I’ll be just as good,
If you’d check off my Christmas list…
Boo doo bee doo!”
And go plan your own party, because Santa Claus is Coming to Town!