Into the Woods: A Holiday Gathering

Every year we have a Christmas party. And every year I think I'm gonna run out of fodder for my imagination when it comes to dreaming up a menu. But it never happens. In fact this year, was kind of my favorite. It had just started to snow that morning and by the time my guests arrived, all bundled up and full of cheer, we'd set th stage for magic.

Break out the plaid. We're going into the woods.

This holiday-themed party was like lumberjack meets Christmas. I cut big boughs of greenery off my pine tree out back and put them EVERYWHERE. Pinecone signs, tiny deer, and even an ax set the scene for our seasonal table.

Into the Woods, Pinecone signs.jpg

My favorite though was probably the bar area, including the hot chocolate bar where toasty camp mugs of hot cocoa awaited for homemade marshmallows and generous pours of amaretto. 

Hot Chocolate bar-into the woods-Christmas-holiday-party

We also served up some mulled wine, warm with spices and orange. But the hit of the party was definitely the featured cocktail. A shot (or two) of bourbon soaked in a shrub of figs and rosemary for a week, topped by warm apple cider and a dollop of spiced honey butter that melts slowly as you sip. 

christmas-holiday-party-charcuterie board-into the woods

A party wouldn't be a party without the food, so let's get to the important stuff. Everyone dug into our charcuterie board with relish. Who wouldn't when you have an ax handy? I also love to make soups and salad the centerpiece of my seasonal menus and this year was no exception. This parsnip truffle soup was adorned with fried bacon, potatoes, and hazelnuts. 

parnsip soup-truffle-hazelnut-christmas-party-holiday-intothewoods
christmas-holiday-party-rosemary-pinenut-bread-into the woods

But the true showstopper of any menu for me is the dessert. I fell in love with this cake on Pinterest eons ago and I was determined to replicate it as closely as possible. Pinterest success or fail? I'll let you decide.

winterbirch-cake-holiday-Christmas-party-into the woods
winterbirch-cake-christmas-holiday-party-into the woods

The 12 days of Christmas cookies also crowded the table and just to ensure that my guests didn't wander away hungry, I sent them home with parting gifts of homemade candies tucked into canned jars.

Buy the time we'd drunk down every last drop of holiday cheer it was well past midnight, but I didn't mind. For at least a few hours, I'd retreated into the woods with our dearest family and friends to remember exactly what this season is all about. 

Here's a rundown of our menu. You can also visit the Pinterest board for more inspiration.

Parnsip Truffle Soup with Bacon & Hazelnuts

Winterbirch Tree from The Cake Girls

Rosemary & Pinenut Artisan Bread

Hot Buttered Fig & Rosemary Bourbon Apple Cider

A Sweet Little Life: Into the Woods Party Board

Looking for more party inspiration? Follow A Sweet Little Life on Pinterest