As promised, here is a Christmasy post from my dear friend and fellow food, travel, and life-lover, Breanne from The Vintage Box.
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.
What is the best Christmas party you’ve ever been to?