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How to Plan a Christmas Party

Le Reveillon

What was once a simple meal after midnight mass has blossomed into Le Reveillon, a nighttime dinner for French families with many of the same dishes as those served on Christmas Day. Some families use the event to decorate the tree or give presents. Like many other nationalities, the French often decorate with a nativity scene, greenery, and candles.

An old-world Christmas: Celebrating the season is a month-long tradition in Germany, with festivities culminating on Christmas Eve, the night the Christmas tree is unveiled. Children are not allowed to see the tree until a bell is rung and it is brought out, fully decorated with cars, trains, angels, tinsel, lights, and ornaments. Families sing Christmas carols and place presents underneath. The night later gives way to a feast so lavish that the evening is often called "Dickbauch," or "fat stomach." Legend has it that those who do not eat well will be haunted by demons during the night.

Invite guests to an old-world party by printing out an invitation, leaving the front blank. Then glue greenery to the front in the shape of a wreath. Clippings from your tree, mistletoe, and ivy are easy choices to work with.

On the day of the party, decorate with nuts, fruits, greenery, marzipan, and adorable carved, wooden figurines of angels, trees, and Santa. Don't forget candles and trimmings.

Party Time!

The date has finally arrived. Guests will be arriving on your doorstep in minutes! You've prepared as much as possible ahead of time to ensure your plans run smoothly. A few finishing details should be all you need to make the event memorable.

Anticipate the comfort of your guests. Set appetizers in the living room, on the buffet, and in other places that make it easy to nibble. Play music and light candles for ambience.

Take guests' belongings when they arrive. Introduce people by pointing out what they have in

common with each other. Accept any gifts graciously and take to a discreet place so that other guests won't feel guilty if they didn't bring one.

Finally, stay out of the kitchen as much as possible so you can mingle with your guests and enjoy the party. And most importantly of all, you should enjoy yourself. Your holiday party should be for you as much as it is for your guests.


Heidi Tyline King writes on a variety of decorating and home improvement topics for a number of national magazines. She has also written several books, including Beautiful Wedding Crafts, and All About Paint.


Holiday Dinner Party -- Alan Howze