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How to throw a lavish Christmas party

It's Christmas time! And what have you done? If the answer is nothing, there’s no need to panic. Even with almost no notice at all, there is time to put together a last-minute Christmas celebration just by exercising a bit of ingenuity.

brunch Updated: Dec 24, 2011 19:59 IST
Mignonne Dsouza
Mignonne Dsouza
Hindustan Times

It’s never too late to throw a Christmas party with (almost) all the trimmings.

And so this is Christmas

And what have you done? If the answer is nothing, there’s no need to panic. Even with almost no notice at all, there is time to put together a last-minute Christmas celebration just by exercising a bit of ingenuity.

After all, it isn’t every day that there’s an excuse to throw a party, and since the end of the festive season is almost upon us, it’s time to make the most of it. So send out your SMS invites, and let the planning begin.

wreathThe holly and the ivy

This is an easy one, since the theme is obviously red and green. You can stretch a point and make it red, white and green. So bring out all your red or green plates, cups and serving bowls, and get them washed.

When it comes to decorating the house, there’s no limit to the imagination even on a limited time frame. For a quick-fix tree, Yashika Punjabee and Pragnya Rao of Groovy Two Shoes, a Mumbai-based boutique events house, recommend using post-it notes (if you have green ones, even better) and sticking them on to a wall in rows slightly overlapping each other in the shape of a cone to create a tree. Write your favourite quotes on it, and leave bunched-up fairy lights at its foot.

Alternatively, you can buy a small tree and ornaments, and make decorating the tree into a group activity once all your friends arrive.

For bunting, you can hang up red, green and white dupattas and shawls (wrap the fairy lights around them), or, as Groovy Two Shoes advises, tear out pages of an old book and fold them over, and tie (or staple) them to a string.

Fairy lights can be used in abundance get your friends to bring over their own, and try to use them as the only source of illumination. And as Yashika and Pragnya suggest, light candles in glass jars or clear vases, decorated with pearls or faux gold baubles.

Vanilla, cranberry and pine-scented candles (if you have them) will also add a fantastic ambience.

Finally, red and green satin ribbon can be used to good effect.

stockingsThe First Noel

Once the house looks festive enough, set the mood. Various Internet radio stations offer Christmas and Holiday music meaning that they play nothing but carols (choose from folk, country, rock and instrumental stations).

Google Internet Radio and choose one. Alternatively, download the soundtracks of these movies –The Holiday, Love Actually, the Home Alone movies, etc, and you’ll have festive music filling your ears.

Mistletoe and Wine
What is a party without good food and drink? While the short notice of this party demands that you order in food, try and make sure you get as many red and green foods as you can to fit the theme.

Think cranberry and litchi juice, red wine, tomato bruschetta, a salad, cherries, salsa sauce and guacamole, strawberries, kebabs and green chutney, pizza with sundried tomatoes and capsicum, carrot cake, red velvet cupcakes, watermelon and feta salad, and more.

If you feel up to making a cake, here’s a recipe for a 25-minute one. And for a truly traditional touch, why not make eggnog?

All I want for X-Mas…
What’s a Christmas party without gifts under the tree?

Even if you can’t manage full-scale gifts for all friends, a small present will add to the excitement and really raise the spirits. Think chocolates (a lot of foreign brands are now easily available at grocery shops) and alcohol miniatures (again widely available).

Scan shops in your area and look for hair accessories, mobile charms, fun toys like darts or a travelling chess set and wrap them in glossy newspaper if you can’t find wrapping paper. Put the gifts in Santa caps, and string them up around the house for guests to find. If you’ve run out of ideas, buy online gift vouchers.

Finally, put on your prettiest red outfit, warn guests to come wearing red or green and you’re ready to bring in Christmas. Happy holiday!

christmas cakeChristmas Plum Cake

1 kg butter
1 kg sugar
20 eggs
20 gms baking powder
1 kg flour
300 ml orange juice
500 gm assorted dry fruit like walnuts
Glazed cherries
Tutti frutti
Orange peel
Lemon peel

Soak dry fruit in rum for 5 minutes. Mix the butter and sugar with a ladle to make a cream, slowly adding eggs to it. Add flour and baking powder. Add the dry fruit soaked in rum.

Put into the moulds as required. Bake the cake at 170 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes. Once out of the oven, soak the cake in orange juice and the remaining rum.

Note: You can add caramel colouring to make the cake look more attractive.

(Recipe courtesy pastry chef Prashant, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, Powai)

egg nogTraditional eggnog


12 eggs
separated; 6 cups milk
2 cups heavy/ thickened cream
2 cups bourbon
1+ 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 th cup brandy
2 tsp nutmeg

In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat egg yolks together with sugar for approx 10 minutes (you want the mixture to be firm and the colour of butter).

Very slowly, add the bourbon and brandy a little at a time.

When the bourbon and brandy have been added, allow the mixture to cool in the fridge (for up to six hours, or depending on how long before your party you’re making eggnog).

Thirty minutes before your guests arrive, stir the milk into the chilled yolk mixture.

Stir in 1+ 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream with a mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.

Gently fold the cream into the egg mixture. After ladling into cups, garnish with the remainder of the nutmeg.
(Recipe courtesy- Allan Limmer, Executive Chef, InterContinental The Lalit, Mumbai)

From HT Brunch, December 25
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First Published: Dec 23, 2011 19:11 IST