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A Canadian Christmas Party: Books, Friends and Homemade Doughnuts

As promised, here is a Christmasy post from my dear friend and fellow food, travel, and life-lover, Breanne from The Vintage Box.

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It was borne from an evening of brainstorming. We were farm sitting way out in rural Alberta; very cheap rent but far from any friends or family. Christmas was coming and our loneliness brought to life the idea of hosting a holiday party. But it had to be a little different than just exchanging gifts and enjoying Christmas baking.

And then we landed on it.

We would host a Book Party.

And so it was, that in the winter-land of Eastern Alberta, the first Book Party proper was held. It featured a full on coffee bar where guests could choose anything from eggnog lattes to peppermint hot chocolate, from straight up espresso to everything else in between. The table was laden with sweet and savory contributions like fruit studded Christmas bread and homemade elk sausage.

We sat around the crackling wood stove, sipping from hot mugs and enjoying deep conversation centered around the books that had been brought and exchanged.

The next year found us living in Montreal, Quebec. We got together with a few friends and the second Book Party was held, this time featuring homemade doughnuts. Everyone gathered in the kitchen, eating the hot glazed doughnuts made from a family recipe. We heaped our plates with vegetables, baguette spread with goat cheese and olive tapenade, filled our mugs with hot apple cider and retreated to the living room. Curled up on the soft couch and chairs, we discussed books, music, culture, and food. Originally all from Alberta, the Book Party again met our need for companionship in a home away from home. Everyone left with a new book to read and invigorated by the conversations.

This year, we were gathered in our very own hobbit hole, as I affectionately refer to our basement suite, back in Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton.

Every available surface was twinkling and glowing with the mystical atmosphere of candles and rich cider filled the air with a decidedly Christmas aroma. There was a definite British flair present with a Christmas cake brimming with raisins and almonds, yummy balls (a concoction of Caramilk chocolate, malt biscuits, and condensed milk), shortbread and apple pastries. We filled our glasses with homemade eggnog and munched on sweet potato rounds topped with goat cheese and cranberry compote. And to add a whimsey touch, I made little penguins out of cream cheese, olives and carrots. They were an absolute hit, and not only provided table decoration, but something unique to nosh on.


Each guest brought a book and piled it on the coffee table. Then we went around in a circle, and introduced the book to the group. Next was a fun exchange of the books. Each one would pick a book from the table or could even ‘steal’ it from one of the other guests. Books flew around the room until finally everyone had settled on a new book to take home, and had accumulated a long list of books that they now wanted to read!

The candles were burned low by the time the last guest left, the luminaries on the walk long since burned out, and we left the kitchen clean up for the morning, tired and very happy with the success of our evening, and looking forward to the anticipation of what next year would bring.

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Click here to read more from Breanne, including her most recent post: “Deep Breaths and Apple Butter

What is the best Christmas party you’ve ever been to?




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Joanne - A Christmas book party…I LOVE it! I definitely don’t read enough or as much as I used to but this is such a great reminder of how fun reading and discussing good books with friends can be.Β  And getting together to eat awesome food.Β  Always a good time.

Anonymous - Sounds like an absolutely lovely Christmas party – lucky you! Love the photos…captures the “coziness” that is the holiday season. Thanks for
sharing πŸ™‚

Anonymous - enjoyed this so very much…will be trying some of these ideas most joyously πŸ™‚

Andi Perullo - Holy cow, best party ever!!!!!!!!

Krista - Isn’t it the BEST idea, Joanne? πŸ™‚ I love it too. πŸ™‚ I’ve started reading more this year but I want to read even MORE!!! Here’s to good books! πŸ™‚

Krista - Aren’t they such cozy pictures, Tuula?! I love them too. πŸ™‚

Krista - I’m SO glad, dear Susan! I thought it was the nicest holiday idea I’ve heard in ages. πŸ™‚

Krista - Isn’t it, Andi?! It gave me such a thrill when I heard about it. πŸ™‚

El - Great idea. I absolutely love the penguin olives. Adorable.

Katy Stewart - Such warm and inviting pictures – I want to be there! What a brilliant Christmas party – I’ve done book exchanges before but never in such a fun environment – I’m definitely going to make those penguin snacks – so cute!

Krista - Aren’t they darling, El? I think they’re so cute too. πŸ™‚

Krista - Me too, Katy! Aren’t they so cozy and welcoming? I feel like a fly on the wall of this wonderful party. πŸ™‚

jennifer laceda - What a cozy-looking christmas party! love the mood with all those candle lights!

Rae - Krista, what a beautiful idea!Β  I love it.Β  Do you know what the whole quote is on the wall?Β 
(I can’t wait to catch up with your blog this week – I always save it for a time when I can slow down and appreciate all your beautiful photos. πŸ™‚

Krista - I love the mood too, Jennifer. πŸ™‚ Makes me long for a cold, winter night. πŸ™‚

Krista - Oh, thank you, dear Rae! I hope you love it and feel cozy and inspired. πŸ™‚ I don’t know the entire quote, but I will find out for you. πŸ™‚

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