I know it may be a little old fashioned but I think it's time we bring back Christmas caroling. That's right, you guessed it, let's throw a Christmas caroling party. Invite a group of people over (we all know a few American Idol wannabes) then put on your big coats and head out into the cold to sing for your neighbors. Afterwards invite everyone back in for some hot soup and a hot chocolate bar. Make this party particularly memorable and ask guests to wear their tackiest Christmas sweaters. To make this party your own
Invites: To emphasize the tacky sweater concept create mini sweaters for invites. Visit your local Goodwill to scout large, chunky, cheesy sweaters. Cut into pieces and glue onto red or green metallic card stock. Cut the card stock/sweater into mini sweater shapes about 4x5 inches (you want it to fit into a regular sized envelope). The front should look like a mini sweater and on the back you can write in the specifics of the party. Slide into an addressed envelope and send to your guests.
Menu: Keep the menu uncomplicated, serve a crab dip, crackers, and fresh sliced salami while you wait for all the guests to arrive. Leave a creamy tomato soup warming on the stove for after the caroling. Serve mini ham and cheese sandwiches with the soup. Pair chocolate fudge and rice crispy treats with the hot chocolate bar.
Decorations: This is one party where no decorations are necessary. The tacky sweaters are decorations themselves and act as conversation starters. Don't light candles and leave the house to go caroling because, potentially, this could lead to a fire risk. Create a booklet of lyrics to the Christmas songs you plan to sing and give each of your guests one upon their arrival. When you return from caroling ask a friend to light a fire and another to light your candles. Turn on some music and bowl up the soup.
Music: Pump up guests by playing a CD of the Christmas carols you are going to sing at the start of the party. For the after party portion when you return from caroling your friends may be Christmas caroled out so put a few of your latest favs on rotation. My picks: Gwen Stefani's Sweet Escape, Fergie's The Dutchess, and the Killer's Sam's Town.
Drinks: When guests arrive offer them an apple pie shooter to loosen up their inhibitions and put them in the singing spirit. For drinks you can plan a naughty & nice hot chocolate station. Start with a good hot chocolate base (which you can leave on super-low heat, stirring every so often) and leave out a tray of nice: mini-marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, whip cream, dinner mints, etc. and a tray of naughty: grand marnier, kahlua, irish cream, etc. If your guests are not interested in the hot chocolate you can always serve Port, sparkling wines (and juices) or mulled wine.