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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Menu for Our Tree Decorating Party

Growing up, my mother would decorate the Christmas tree while my siblings and I were at school. We'd  walk into the house one afternoon, surprised to see a fully-decorated tree in the family room.

This may be part my own laziness, but also wanting to share the fun with my family -- we all decorate the tree together. In fact, we make something of a party out of it, complete with party foods and beverages. Like many families, mine likes its "special" foods to be a mix what of what we've had every year and a couple of new items.

This year, I set out cheese and crackers, pot stickers and egg rolls, carrot (our garden carrots) and celery sticks plus dip, homemade peppermint bark, homemade gingerbread men, cocktail sausages, Chex mix, mixed nuts and tangerines. Not pictured -- we enjoy generic cola served in saved (from many, many years ago) glass Coca-cola bottles.

The items I bought specifically for this party were the frozen pot stickers, frozen egg rolls, store-brand lil' smokies, Chex mix, and cola. I had the other foods on hand. Earlier in the day, I made the peppermint bark and gingerbread men. 

Peppermint bark is easy to make. I microwave 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of Crisco-type shortening in short bursts (20 seconds to start, reducing to 10-15 seconds for final bursts), stirring in between bursts until smooth. I, then spread this thickly on a sheet of waxed paper. Next, I melt about 1/2 cup of vanilla baking chips with 1-2 teaspoons of shortening and 5 or 6 drops of peppermint oil (found in cake and candy supply areas of craft stores), again in short bursts in the microwave, stirring in between bursts. White chocolate is high in sugar and scorches easily, so I uses even shorter bursts for this step. Once white chocolate is melted, I spread this on top of the still soft semi-sweet chocolate. I "decorated" the top of the bark with 2 Starlight peppermint disk hard candies that I had crushed with a hammer between sheets of waxed paper. Once the sheet of bark is made, I chill it in the fridge for an hour, cut into squares and chill for several more hours.

Making the Yule-tide gay; for the time being, our troubles are far away.


  1. That's quite a spread that you had for your tree decorating party. Sounds like a lot of fun.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      It was a lot of fun, and the treats ended up being our dinner. So, I had an easy dinner to make, and everyone enjoyed it all.

  2. Looks fun! When the kids were little we decorated it together. We usually just had hot chocolate while we did it. The last thing we did for years was Dh would lift our youngest up so he could put the tree topper on. For many years we used one he made in preschool. It was an angel made out of coffee filters lol. It really was nicer than it sounds, or at least it was until it started getting really smashed up lol. It was a refreshing change from the usual crap foam (craft foam) ornaments the kids usually brought home from school. Oh man I hated all that crap. It was a happy day when I could stop using that stuff on the tree and throw them away lol. The only other ornaments the kids made that I liked were made at a church kids party. They were just a cinnamon stick frame with their picture in them. They were so simple, and so cute. When the kids moved out I gave them to them. Dil just pointed out ds’s on their tree last weekend. That made me smile lol.

    Obviously now that they aren’t here it’s just me decorating and I don’t enjoy the task. Never have, never will.

    1. Hi Diane,
      I can relate to not really enjoying the tree decorating without my family helping. What a lovely memory of your husband holding up the littlest child to put the angel on top of the tree. Our tree topper is homemade by one of our kids, too. Many years ago, my son origami-folded a star out of silver paper. It's been our tree topper all these years.
      That's so sweet that your son (and family) is still using the ornament he made all those years ago.

  3. That's quite the celebration! I take advantage of having my kids help me with decorating. I know in a few years they will have their own places and I'll be on my own. My husband doesn't like decorating although he does help out with the tree. However, I don't have the food spread that you have.

    This year we plan to resume our Christmas eve tradition of attending church with my siblings and having a light dinner afterwards. Last year we stayed home. I served a charcuterie board and it was well received. Looks like that will be our New Years Eve meal this year ��. I love the simplicity of it and Aldi has great affordable options.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Well, the food spread was our dinner, as well. It was mostly snack-y foods, so easy for me.
      Your Christmas Eve tradition sounds wonderful. I hope you and your siblings have a lovely time. A charcuterie board sounds like such a great idea for New Year's Eve. And also great that you have Aldi with affordable items for it.

  4. When the children were little and at home we decorated the tree all together. They are gone and so is the big tree. I kept my small tree I used in college and that is what I have used in years past but with a new kitten last year who chewed through the string of lights, we chose not to put up even the small tree this year, instead I have my Christmas village and a ceramic tree. It looks festive and we can hide any electric cords under the white fluff. Big electric cords are of no interest to the one year old kitten and she can't chew on those as much as the string of lights with thin wires.

    We never served food with tree decorating but they always did (and still do!) get plenty of seasonal treats during the Christmas season.

    1. Hi Alice,
      You've come up with a good solution for Christmas decorating that won't entice the kitty to do something damaging or dangerous. I love the mental image of your Christmas village surrounded by the "snow".


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