Christmas Tree-Trimming Party Article -
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Christmas Tree-Trimming Party

Light the fire, stir the cocoa, and sing along with the carolers: it's time to decorate the tree!

The Menu

Mini French dip sandwiches, little individual cheese balls, and bacon-wrapped dates will keep your decorating crew well-fed. For the finale, set out chocolate fondue and commence with a ceremonial lighting of the tree.

Game Plan

The Night Before

  • Pick up roast for French dip and gather all recipe ingredients.
  • Add mini sandwich rolls to the shopping list to replace full size French rolls.
  • Round up supplies for ornaments and garland: popcorn, cranberries, construction paper, glitter, and tape.
  • Cook date appetizers and green beans. Place in serving dishes; cover and refrigerate.
  • Let kids roll mini cheese balls in nuts, chopped parsley, or poppy seeds; refrigerate.

On Party Day

  • Put up the tree and string it with plenty of lights.
  • Add roast to slow cooker around noon.
  • Mid afternoon: turn on holiday music and start making ornaments and garland.
  • Just before party starts, fix Candy Cane Cocoa and coffee. Keep warm in thermal carafes, in a slow cooker, or on the stove.
  • Place drink toppers, and mix-ins (whipped cream, chocolate syrup, liqueurs) near beverages and let everyone add their own finishing touches.
  • Sip beverages, nibble on appetizers, and start decorating.
  • As decorators finish, set fondue on a coffee table. Let everyone plop on the floor or couch and admire their handiwork as they indulge in a chocolate reward.

Old-Fashioned Decorating Fun

Let kids express their inner artist with handmade decorations, from dough ornaments to popcorn garlands to simple ribbon ties.

  • Use holiday cookie cutters and currants, sprinkles and royal icing to make ornaments (recipes below).
  • Put on a favorite holiday movie and start making garlands: popcorn, cranberry, or paper chains.
  • Thread a needle with heavy-duty thread (double thickness) and string unbuttered air-popped popcorn along the length. Knot ends. Sew popcorn strips together to make garland.
  • Sort through bags of fresh cranberries and discard crushed or spoiled ones. String berries and knot ends.
  • Alternating berries and popcorn is a beautiful touch: string one cranberry after every five popcorn kernels--or make up your own pattern.
  • Let younger kids cut strips of red and green construction paper. Tape or staple together ends of green paper to form a circle. Thread a strip of red paper through the green circle and lock shut with tape. Repeat to form a long chain.
  • String together dried orange sections, pinecones, cinnamon sticks and cranberries for an aromatic garland.
  • Trace holiday cookie cutters onto thick construction or craft paper. Punch holes in tops of ornament shapes and thread with raffia or ribbon. Let kids decorate with crayons, glitter, or paint.
  • Let kids tie strips of ribbons on branches to form a simple, colorful bow.

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