Hubby and I hosted a Secret Santa party Saturday for some friends. Our gift exchange was very 21st century. I used a polling website called Doodle to set the date, e-vites to make it official, and collected everyone's Secret Santa questionnaires via email. THEN, Hubby wrote a program to randomly assign a person to each guest and automagically send an email with that particular questionnaire attached. Yeah. He is something.

I tend to get sort of obsessive when it comes to planning an event, so therefore I had a Google doc for the party going about a month in advance. I started trying to buy different ingredients for things on sale well in advance and make some things ahead of time, but the week before the party was just crazoid and I didn't really do much except for make a batch of sausage balls, which I froze. So Saturday rolled around and it was go time.

I started with these little pinwheel crescent roll-up things. I made one batch of pizza ones and one of spinach and cheese, which, happy coincidence of happy coincidences, are red and green, like for Christmas!

Then came the sweet potato biscuits. Sounds delicious, right? Well, I have never made biscuits before, so given that I was pleased with the outcome, but they did NOT rise. Hmmm. They were more like sweet potato circles of flat bread, which sort of killed my plan to make little ham biscuits. Luckily, I already needed to go to the grocery store to pick up fruit and veggies for the night, so I picked up some Hawaiian rolls for that purpose. And I am not utterly disheartened about the biscuits either; I think they're worth another shot.

I also made break-and-bake holiday chocolate chip cookies and a spice cake with cream cheese frosting. We had diet coke, cranberry gingerale, and apple cider in our sometimes malfunctioning crockpot. I figured it would do the job because it just had to be warm, not cook. I sort of combined about four different recipes for cider into one and threw in some cinnamon sticks, a few orange slices, and a tea bag. I couldn't taste much actual difference, but it was a neat concept! Needless to say, we had a lot of food. I tend to overplan as far as refreshments go.

I had also made jars of baking mixes for each guest to have as a favor. They were fun and easy, but boy did I make a mess the night before the party trying to pour flour into non-wide mouth mason jars! I can learn two lessons from this: 1) If I ever make those again, buy wide mouth jars and 2) Maybe Hubby and I need to purchase a funnel.

In the midst of doing all this on Saturday I got really stressed out and thought that I wasn't going to have time to finish everything, and I hardly even ate anything until about 3 o'clock (although I did get a vanilla latte when I went to the store that made my life very happy), at which point Hubby pointed out that we still had three hours until the party and everything was pretty much done. I guess I am not good at estimating! I'm also not good at making sure everything is hot all at once. (I even have trouble with this on normal dinners sometimes!) This must be an acquired skill.

We had a really fun time once everyone arrived, and we only have a moderately obscene amount of leftovers! People stayed until ELEVEN O'CLOCK. If you know me, this is highly unusual for me. So I'd say we can count my first sort of "grown up" party a success.

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman