Christmas is a time for family and friends, we all love to get together during the holiday season.  If you’re looking for an excuse to throw a quick informal get together with friends and family how about a tree trimming party? These days you may want to limit your party to a few close friends or maybe just family, depending on your community’s rules and regulations.

It shouldn’t take long to organize and should be relatively inexpensive to host.  Best of all you get the tree trimmed while visiting with  a small group of friends and family!

Here are some ideas to get you plan your tree trimming party!

Since it’s a very informal gathering you can call, text, or email invitations.  However if you want to and you have enough time you can also send invitation cards.  Just be sure you get a general idea of who will be attending.  No matter how informal the event you will still need a fairly accurate guest count so that you have enough food and drink.

To accommodate as many busy schedules you might consider setting a time period instead of a specific time.  It’s also a good way to socially distance.  For example you can let guests know that the tree trimming will be from 6pm-9pm in the evening and they are welcome to drop by at a specific time within that time frame; you’ll just need to decide on a time slot so that you don’t exceed the guest limit.

Have the tree set up and the decorations ready to be hung before the first guest arrives.  It’s not the time to haul stuff out of closets or the garage when the house is filled with guest.  If possible have ornament hangers already on the ornaments, or at least easily available.

Play some Christmas music during your party, it gets everyone in the holiday spirit.  Encourage everyone to sing along.

The easiest and really best way to serve food and beverage is on buffets, bars, or stations.  Guests will be arriving at different times and they will be busy during the time that they are there.  A buffet or stations will allow guests to serve themselves.  Just be sure you have someone periodically check the food to see if anything needs refilling.

Sandwich bar

If you are serving a meal, brunch, lunch, or dinner a DIY sandwich bar or pancake bar are the easiest and most economical choices.
To keep everything sanitary you may want to pre-package sandwich fixings and condiments so that guest can grab what they need for their sandwiches.  For instance place portions of deli meats and cheeses in clear plastic sandwich bags, use packets of condiments, and provide a basket or tray of single serve chips.

Pancake bar

For  breakfast or brunch a pancake, waffle, or french toast station would be great.  But these days you many want to do a cereal bar using single serve little boxes of cereal instead.  You can also have a selection of single serve fruit cups and juices.

Snack bar

If you aren’t serving a meal you can set-up a snack station, you can serve finger foods, tea cakes, and other snacks.  All single served packages of course.  Just put the bags of chips, popcorn, twinkies, and other snacks in pretty baskets and trays and you’ll have a festive table in no time!

Candy barWhatever you decide to serve you will need a beverage bar and a sweet station.  They don’t have to be fancy, but at Christmas time everyone expects sweet treats!  You can pre-package individual treats in clear plastic bags, yes even cookies and brownies.  They can double as favors!

Guests can take them home or enjoy them while trimming the tree!

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Speaking of brownies I thought I’d share my recipe for

Decadent Brownies

Ingredients:

1 Cup Butter

3 1/2 OZ.  Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars

3 Tbs. Valrhona Cocoa Powder

1 1/2 Cup Flour

1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 Tsp. Salt

4 Eggs

2 Cups Baker’s Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Pre-heat Oven to 350 degrees

Place butter and baking chocolate in a double boiler to melt.

Set aside and cool.

Prepare 9×13 baking pan with butter or baking spray.  Set aside until ready to use.

Sift dry ingredients except the sugar together.

Place eggs in stand mixer (you can use a portable mixer) and beat until creamy.

Slowly add sugar while beating.

Add vanilla and cooled butter mixture and mix well.

Stir in dry ingredients until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Spread in prepared baking pan.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over the batter.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until center is set.

Cool completely then cut into bars.