Phyllis & Craig’s Christmas Light Extravaganza Cocktail Party (Dec 13, 2008)

The Event

Happy Holidays, Hipsters! Craig and I had a nice cocktail party for our friends, with the highlight being a stroll along San Carlos’ “Holidays Lights Lane” on Eucalyptus Avenue. It’s the street right behind our house, so it’s a lovely short walk from our house. All the guests bring along a cup of hot mulled wine or mulled cider and just enjoy the decorations.

I followed Ina Garten’s party recommendations, which is to make one or two things and buy the rest. Also, try and get as much done in advance so that you (the host/hostess) can enjoy the party.


  • Chex Mix, two kinds: savory (traditional Chex mix) and sweet (a chocolate/peanut butter recipe). Both were nummy!
  • Cookies
  • Salami and soprasata, both sliced very thick and then cut into sticks
  • Black forest ham, shaved thin
  • Crackers and mini-toasts
  • Cheese platter: Emmentaler, blue cheese, roomkaas, goat cheese, brie
  • Mixed nuts
  • Wasabi almonds
  • M&Ms, plain and peanut
  • Mulled wine made from a Shiraz wine, using Williams-Sonoma mulling spices
  • Mulled cider, using Williams-Sonoma mulling spices
  • Coffee


We had over 20 people at the party! I won’t list them all.

Food Notes

  • We had LOTS of Chex Mix left over (both kinds). Maybe only make one batch each, instead of two.
  • The salami sticks were a big hit.
  • The cheese platters were nearly decimated. Another good choice! Buying large blocks of cheese is pretty pricey, though.
  • The mulled drinks were also popular, but I think I should maybe tone down the sugar in the mulled wine next time. I felt it was a bit too sweet.
  • We ended up using a full case of wine. Maybe buy 2 cases or 1-1/2 cases to be prepared. We had plenty of cider left over.
  • The coffee urn is a good choice, but 2 heaping cups of coffee for 24 cups of coffee was a bit too strong. Maybe level the coffee in the measuring cup next time.


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