I married a baker. Not really. He’s a lobbyist, but he bakes for fun. Some people like to put their feet up and watch TV when they get home from work, others might relax with a book… My husband likes to bake. Every year, he makes 20-30 different kinds of Christmas cookies. (For our wedding, we ditched the wedding cake and had a cookie buffet instead.) Starting in October, my husband will begin baking batches of cookies which he then freezes until Christmas. He usually gives out boxes of cookies to colleagues, but since he changed jobs and I’m staying at home, we don’t run into the same people as much anymore. So this year, since we have a new house and a new baby, we decided to invite people over to pick up their cookies!
We decided to do a happy hour party and called it our “Cookies and Cocktails” party. To go with the name, I immediately started searching Pinterest for cookie-themed drinks. (There are several!) I was thinking that maybe we’d have a couple signature cocktails, like a chocolate chip martini or something with one of those crazy sweet flavored vodkas in it. Then I found a handy-dandy cookie and wine pairing guide. I considered having multiple bottles of wine on hand so that people could sample the cookie-wine matches for themselves.
Then the guest list grew to 40 or 50 people. I decided to keep things as SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE.
Cookies (we ended up with 27 different kinds! I made 6! Hubby made the rest.)
Cocktails (I made big batches of white wine sangria and a vodka and cranberry punch)
Non-alcoholic drinks (hot chocolate, sparkling cider, sodas and water)
Snacks (picked up a cheese and charcuterie tray,a ton of crackers, fruit and veggie platters, chips and pretzels – nothing that we would have to cook or heat up!)
Stuff for the kids (S’mores ingredients, a gingerbread house kit, and an ornament making kit)
Like most of my shopping, everything came from Amazon! Right down to the paper trays, plates, napkins, straws, and goodie bags so that people could take cookies home with them! (My husband loves baking them, but we also like getting them out of the house so we don’t eat them all!)
Give the kids at the party their own space where they can hang out, but still be supervised. I had a room where the kids could watch Christmas movies that I DVRed and set out the ornament kits and gingerbread houses. That way, the kids weren’t totally bored while the adults all milled around and talked.
Make sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks, and also – if you’re making big batch drinks, consider serving something that doesn’t have wine in it. Turns out, one of our guests has a sulfite allergy so she said that usually when she goes to parties, she has to pass on the beverages because people usually serve wine. She was glad that we had the vodka and cranberry punch!
Set a time limit for your party. Some party invitations will say “From 3 p.m. – ?????” inviting guests to linger as long as they like. We said our party would be from 3-6 p.m. It was short, but we had a definitive end time so that we would have time to clean up afterwards and then do our son’s bath and bedtime routine.
And again, always keep it simple. We had all of our snacks laid out on the table well before everyone arrived so that when guests did show up, we weren’t still finishing things in the kitchen. We were able to greet our guests, mingle, and enjoy ourselves without worrying about whether or not the food was ready.
I have a Cookies and Cocktails Pinterest board with lots of party planning ideas, but I bet what you really want are the cookie recipes. My husband also has a Christmas Cookie board with some of his most popular cookie treats. My favorite are the cookie dough sandwiches! They were the first ones to go at the party!