Holiday Fun

Every year, my husband and I host a fun ornament exchange.  Everyone is invited, and all are welcome.  My motto is “the more the merrier”.  There have been times when the house has been jam packed and there is barely enough room to move around and other times when we have a smaller, more intimate crowd.  Either way, whether the crowd is large or small, we always have a good time.  I tell everyone who wants to participate to bring a wrapped ornament and a dish to share.  After we have all visited and wined and dined, it’s time to let the games begin.  Because our ornament exchange is meant to be a fun game, and it is much more fun when people “steal”, so I always encourage “stealing” ornaments once they have been opened.  Sometimes, it gets pretty vicious and people get very territorial with their newly acquired ornaments, but it is all in good fun.  In the end, everyone goes home with a new ornament for their tree, and happy memories of a fun evening, shared by friends both new and old.  Last night was the day of our party for the 2018 Holiday season.  We rang in the season with food, fun and festivities celebrated with friends.  This is always the best way to ring in the Holidays.

In case you hadn’t noticed by now, I love to cook.  I make our ornament exchanges a potluck, but I still love to cook up quite a bit for the party as well.   My husband is always trying his best to reign me in, telling me “this is a potluck, you do not have to make a bazillin different dishes”.  He tries his best to reign me in, but he is never to successful at it.  Try though I may, I just can’t seem to help myself.  I think of one thing, which leads me to another, then that leads to something else, and so on, and so on,  To me, potlucks are always a barrel of fun.  I love trying all the new creations that people bring to share.  So with me making a lot of different delectable dishes, and then everyone else bringing their own delectable dishes, we ALWAYS end up with a ton of food.  And this is the season for sharing, so share we do.  Once again, there was a lot of good food enjoyed by all, there was something for everyone, from a variety of sweets and treats and savory dishes too.

This is our main tree, in our family room.  We have a very eclectic collection of ornaments.  They all weave together to tell a story of who we are and what we like to do.  We always collect ornaments from wherever we travel, the funkier and more exotic and unique, the better.  We have ornaments that express our personal interests and hobbies.  We have special ornaments that were handmade just for us.  Some are fun and whimsical and some are porcelain and are collectibles.  And some have been handed down through the generations, but all contribute to the story of who we are and how we like to live.  They are all fun and they all have a special meaning and a special place in my heart.


Our second tree, in the living room.


Our third tree, up in our art niche, going up the stairs.


And our fourth tree, that was made especially for me by my friends Kathy and Lynn.


Larry and I at the appetizer table.


Baked pita chips with hummus.


Cheese, sausages and crackers.


Turkey marinated in my paprika vinaigrette Steak with Paprika Vinaigrette.   I served all these appetizers on some of my new serving platters that I received from my friend David Richman, CEO of Chefware. Presents for the Chef.  All these platters got rave reviews.  Everyone commented on how gorgeous they are.


All the dishes above, as well as this delicious mixed nut tart and my Kissed Cookies,  Kissed Christmas Cookies were my culinary contributions to our fun evening.



And to all of you who helped us ring in the holidays  …..










Thank you to all my friends and family who helped make this yet another fun-filled event filled with lots of love.  All of you are what made our party so much fun.  However you say it, and however you celebrate … Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Froelich Weinnachten, Mele Kalekimaka, Happy Channakah, Happy Eads, Buon Natalie, Happy Kwanza or Happy Holidays, have a good one and a Happy, Healthy New Year.



Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

36 thoughts on “Holiday Fun”

      1. Come over and feast on those glorious “Edible Art”. I wonder which one(s) you like best. You can leave your comment not just at the comment section at the bottom of the post, but also at the comment section of any of those images by clicking or touching the image.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Tall ladders and a tall husband. It is the same as a “white elephant” party. You draw numbers, and the first person, obviously opens a wrapped gift or ornament. From there on, everyone else can either “steal” the opened gift, or they can open up a new one. We usually put a limit on things, that they cannot be stolen more than 3 times. After the 3rd steal, that item is “retired” and is safe.

      Liked by 1 person

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