This is the time of year we're invited to step it up a notch from the typical dinner party, but that doesn't have to mean added stress and expense. Last year my friends and I added a twist to our annual Secret Santa Gift Exchange. In addition to bringing a present, each person also brought a dish to share, that represented their Secret Santa recipient in some way. All together we ended up with a random collection of tasty bites that were far from a cohesive meal, but so much more fun. The dinner embraced the theme of giving, created a casual atmosphere, and was hassle-free for me as the host. After dinner we reverted back to childhood (besides the wine drinking) and went to town decorating sugar cookies. The quintessential way to get in the spirit of the season, if you ask me.
Not every gathering has to be a big to do. There are ways to embrace the holidays without stressing out over the details of food and décor. Don't get me wrong, I love most things about entertaining and become easily obsessed with fancy recipes and extravagant decorations. However, in the midst of the holiday whirlwind, it's always nice to set aside some time and (as corny as it sounds) just relax with the people you love.
What holiday traditions do you have with friends?