Monthly Archives: December 2014

What to Serve at a Christmas Party

veggies

For the past several years, we have hosted at least one Christmas gathering at our house, sometimes it’s a family gathering, sometimes friends, and often a work gathering as well.  Our friends-gathering started out as a retro-chic fondue party, but after a spilled pot of fondue oil, we’ve moved on to more casual gatherings for that particular group of people! The work-gathering occurs in conjunction with our Christmas party, so it is typically a little more formal.  The family gathering is somewhere in between, no fancy dress clothes, but typically a lower risk of spills (at least until all the babies are more mobile!) Each of these parties has its unique set of preparations that are required, however no matter what type of party you are hosting, making a plan in advance is a preparation that is essential everytime!

In October’s issue of Bon Appetit Magazine, Belle Cushing outlines 15 ideas for how to ensure a holiday dinner party sets off on a fun note.  As I was reading through the article, some of the tips seemed pretty straightforward, things like “make sure you have enough ice” and “good tunes are essential ”.  However, I was surprised that in a magazine that often seems to be on the far edge of new food trends, three of the suggested appetizers were Cheese Balls, Crudites (a.k.a. in my house as “Veggies and Dip”), and Shrimp Cocktail.  I had mentioned in a previous blog that the 70’s era houseplants are re-emerging as popular favourites.  I’m glad to see that the familiar appetizers from every single family gathering of my childhood are still popular favourites!

Of course, being a food/recipe/style magazine, the author had great suggestions of recipes to try for each of these appetizers.  However, realistically speaking if I’m hosting a dinner party and have determined a menu to cook, and cleaned up the house, it is very likely that I’m going to look for a bit of a shortcut where I can.  Luckily for me (and you too!) it is very easy, and just as tasty to pick up a Gourmet du Village dip mix, Cheese ball kit, and all sorts of sauces and preserves at Lacoste.  And because you mix them up yourself, you can embellish them and make them a part of your own secret recipe!

http://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/parties/article/dinner-party-starters

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

For some members of our family decorating the Christmas tree opens up a whole argument dialogue about personal style.  Some prefer a mish-mash of decorations old and new, home-made and store bought, lights multi-coloured and blinking.  Others prefer a much more designer looking tree with matched ornaments, lights, ribbons, and wrapping paper. I would never ever dare to tell anyone which is the correct way to decorate a tree.  In my mind, both decorating strategies have their merits, I love looking at all the old memorable ornaments on my parents tree from before I was born, but also love the coordinated look of a themed tree.

IMG_5880

Decorating a tree, whether themed or not can be an overwhelming process, that often takes 2 or 3 times as long as I plan for.  To make it a little easier, one of our suppliers of Christmas décor has provided this guide on how to decorate the perfect Christmas tree

HowToDecorateATree

Custom Christmas Planters

When it comes to home decor, especially at Christmas time, sometimes I get an idea in my head of something I’d like, and search and search and search for it, never ever to find exactly what I’m looking for.  Times like these, I pull out my DIY skills, and attempt to make it for myself.  Sometimes this works very well (I love the embroidery hoop frames in my daughter’s room), and sometimes it’s a bit of a disaster (one Halloween I thought I was dressed up as a tomato; kids thought I was Lady Gaga).

I have similar (mis?)fortunes when it comes to my Christmas décor. I’ve attempted to make wreaths and winter planters, but my results are often not quite as elegant as I picture.  Last year, I discovered a secret.  It’s a secret that I should have known about, as I see it happen all the time.  I talk about it to customers and friends.  I post about it here, and on Facebook.  I see the fliers on the doors at the store.  It is all over lacostegardencentre.com.  (Can you see a theme….it is not such a big secret!) At Lacoste we offer workshops for fresh greens! You can attend one of these workshops on your own, with friends, or even book your own private party (schedule can be found here).  At these workshops, you get to design your own planter, or wreath, or swag.  You can choose from all of the accessories we have on hand.  AND best of all, you can draw on the experience and style of the wonderful ladies who make all of our ready-made greens!

Last year, I found a picture of what I wanted for outdoor planters, and brought it with me:

Christmas planter

What I ended up with was wonderful!

PlanterEdit: I wrote this post in advance, and apparently all of you wonderful people have discovered our workshops already!!  I hope your planters are turning out as wonderfully as mine.  If you are feeling rushed, or overwhelmed at the idea of making your own, there are many beautiful  planters to choose from!