The concept. A number of years ago, I decided to take all the stress out of the Way I Do Christmas (tm). That way I could get back to fully enjoying Christmas - by far my favorite holiday. I stopped sending out cards - then one year I started replying to cards in kind, but still didn't go to any effort to construct a mailing list: the stressful part. I stopped throwing a Christmas open house. I stopped baking 10 kind of cookies and making up holiday sweets packages for dozens of friends - then one year I hit upon the Christmas Baking Party.
The stressful part of Christmas baking was making the list of friends, finding just the right packaging idea, then baking all those cookies. There was still quite enough to do during December that it got to be stressful to both take time out to bake a batch of cookies AND attend or throw a party to exchange them with other people and come home with assortments.
The Christmas Baking Party is my way of bringing fun back to Christmas Baking and Christmas Party as concepts. I invite everyone I know to the party, so the list is really then self-selected by those who can make it to the party and are interested. We do the baking together, which makes the baking way more fun. There's a fun excuse to gather for an evening, which gives me my party, and we all go home with cookies. Flar even gets something out of it, since I generally give away at least one or two of those tins of which he thinks I keep way too many in the pantry.
I only have to clean the kitchen to all sparkly, and clear off the jacuzzi enough for coats and purses (or late night soakers after the baking is done), so there's no house-cleaning stress. I make sure the cooler is restocked with the usual suspects of drinks, top off all the general purpose cooking supplies, along with egg nog, and maybe if I'm feeling saucy, I make a crock of cinnamon-orange spiced cider.
I usually mix up a batch of cookie dough before the party, so mine can be baking while others are still mixing. People are invited to bring recipes (but I have plenty to fill-in), cookie containers (but I have plenty of empty tins, and there are always zip-locks), and most of all, holiday spirit. Come and have fun and bake or wash up or just sit around and gab.
This year, the party is on Sunday the 17th, beginning around 5pm. Come whenever you like, and stay as long as you like. Come with nothing or a recipe and special ingredients and go home brimming with holiday cheer and filled-up cookie tins.