After all the hoopla of the holidays, it's easy to get the blues early in the new year. It's back to the daily grind, and paired with the sub-zero temperatures and limited daylight hours, it's enough to make you want to hibernate until spring. But instead of falling victim to a case of the winter doldrums, take advantage of this lull in everyone's schedule to get together with friends and chase the chill away. Good food and good friends--it's a win-win situation.
With comfort and warmth a major theme, your guests should be equally as cozy. Everyone should wear pyjamas for ultimate comfort, or if you feel that's too casual and inappropriate, asks guests to go with apres-ski chic instead.
Candlelight will create a warm, cozy glow (use votives rather than tealights as they last longer). Textures should be soft and inviting and use a colour theme of soothing neutrals to set the tone of the party. Of course, if you have a fireplace, build a fire. In terms of entertainment, have a collection of feel-good favourite movies on hand to either watch after dinner or to simply run on TV with the sound muted (think The Princess Bride or Brat Pack flicks, such as The Breakfast Club, or go with classics such as Breakfast at Tiffany's).
If your budget permits, a soft throw or slippers for your guests to use during the party and to take home afterward is a thoughtful gesture. If you plan on watching movies in your home theatre after dinner, a Snuggie is a good choice (and makes snacking on caramel corn easier).
Make it a potluck--the party should be stress-free for everyone, including you. Ask your guests to bring their favourite comfort food--dishes that soothe the soul. Some that come to mind are macaroni and cheese, fresh-baked bread, roasted butternut squash soup, meatloaf, grilled cheese sandwiches, mashed potatoes and chocolate cake. Although this may not be resolution-friendly fare, there's not a chance people will be able to resist.
For beverages, have a choice of comforting winter beverages -- perhaps a warm cider or eggnog (who says it's just a holiday drink?), or red wine (always a popular choice). With dessert, have a selection of tea available and hot chocolate.
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