We are in the thick of holiday party season! I have heard from some that they are running around to three and four a night. I must confess, my dance card is not all that full this year and we have already enjoyed a few quiet December evenings home by our little tree, Frazier.

Recently, I hosted a couples baby shower for about thirty people. It was the first time I threw a party at our house since having my own baby and it took more planning ahead for all the pieces of the party puzzle to fall in place. Mini-Whipped’s baby room is right off the kitchen. Since the party started at 6pm and she goes to bed at 7:30pm, I knew I didn’t have much time to welcome guests, get food on the table, get her to sleep and stop clanging around the kitchen.

My favorite new party trick greatly minimized clean up and allowed me to avoid getting out and cleaning my big serving platters. I cut a bunch of sheets of wrapping paper (from my favorite Snow & Graham) into sizes to fit under smaller dishes. Then, I put full sheets out, lined them with parchment paper and put some of the food directly on it. In the photo, you can see the steamed dumplings directly on the parchment. The next morning, I just tossed the paper that was soiled and actually wrapped gifts this year with a few of the sheets that were still in good shape. How green!

If you aren’t too crafted out already, I have one more idea to share. Just tonight, I followed an idea from Domino magazine using the final left over sheets of my pretty paper. I cut out three 18 inch squares of foamcore board (found at office supply stores), wrapped them in the paper and then stuck them on the wall in my hallway with poster putty. Now, I am tacking up all my Christmas cards and photos on them.

You know, I just love the holiday season. I love the lights, the songs, the trees, the cookies, the giving, the photos, the cards, the connecting, the parties and the way that people just all stop what they usually do for awhile and do other things. I am Scrooge’s worst nightmare!