Dec19
Posted in: Entertaining

Make it a Party: Cookies and Caroling

This year why not revive a fading tradition and celebrate the holiday season with a caroling party? Gather your friends together for a night full of cookies, good cheer, and your favorite holiday tunes…this party is so easy it practically throws itself!

Your Party Plan

Invite friends and neighbors to join you for a night of “Cookies and Caroling” one weeknight after dinner. Ask guests to bring a batch of their favorite holiday cookies to share with each other and at your caroling stops. Cookies can be home-made or store-bought… no stress! Let them know that you’ll be serving light snacks, doing a little rehearsal, and decorating cookies before you head out caroling.

For a fun twist?  Challenge everyone to a “Best Holiday Sweater” contest and really up the fun and festive attire!

Decide on caroling stops for your group in advance. If your neighborhood is sidewalk friendly you can go the traditional route and meander door to door to friends’ homes and even small businesses. (Be sure to call ahead to make sure they’ll be home and not overly surprised by your group!) Another option?  Choose a few local spots that may appreciate some holiday cheer; think homeless shelters, hospitals, and senior centers.

Select songs in advance and be sure to include some nondenominational songs so everyone feels included. Have the lyrics printed out for guests to refer to.

Your house will already be decorated for the holidays so setup for the party is minimal. You’ll want to stock up on:

  • hand warmers to tuck into coat pockets
  • Santa hats and scarves to bedeck the group
  • inexpensive cookie tins to use to divvy up cookies
  • candy canes and other holiday candy (just because!)
  • battery-powered candles to festively light your way
  • jingle bells to keep track of the littlest carolers
  • cookie decorating supplies like tube frosting and sprinkles
  • a vinyl tablecloth for an easy cleanup cookie decorating station
  • disposable hot cups for cocoa, coffee, and tea
  • small holiday plates and napkins

You’re also going to need plenty of ‘blank canvases” for cookie decorating. No need to go crazy baking here: You can stick with slice-and-bake sugar cookies or even pick up prebaked plain sugar or gingerbread cookies from the supermarket or bakery (we won’t tell!).  Be sure to have platters at the ready to serve cookies on as well. If you’re in the mood for baking and want to contribute to the cookie pile check out our 12 Days of Cookies recipes for inspiration. 

On the Menu?

Keep this one light and simple…it’s really all about the cookies and caroling!  Just put out some easy platters of cheese and crackers or veggies and dip for guests to nosh on when they arrive. Trust us, they’ll be getting their fill of cookies later.

Set up a drinks station so guests can serve themselves both before and after caroling. Include water, sodas, beer and wine, maybe some eggnog, and definitely hot drinks like tea, coffee, and cocoa to warm chilly hands. (See our article on Hosting the Perfect Coffee Hour for how-tos.)

Another fun drink idea? Caroling is also known as wassailing – an old Norse term and also a delicious warm spiced cider. Mix up some Wassail and have it simmering on the stove to welcome you home from caroling.  (Spiking it with rum isn’t required…but highly recommended!)

Let the Fun Begin

When guests arrive greet them at the door with their choice of Santa hat, scarf, or jingle bells (or all!) Add any plain cookies to the cookie decorating station and let guests have fun getting creative with frosting, sprinkles, and candy.

When you’re done decorating; gather up all the cookies and holiday candy in one spot. Have guests help divvy them up into tins for sharing along the route and on platters to enjoy at the party.  Hand out song sheets and do a quick rehearsal to warm up those windpipes.   Bundle up, give out hand warmers and candles, and head out for caroling fun…don’t forget the cookie tins!

After an hour or so of singing and “spreading cookie-joy” everyone can regroup around your cozy fireplace to warm up with wassail, enjoy some cookies, and sing some more.  If you like, you can send guests home with their own goodie bag of mixed cookies.

As you can see, it’s easy to host a Cookie and Caroling party for your family and friends!   It may very well become a tradition they’ll treasure for years to come.

 Julie Hartigan

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is a recovering engineer turned chef. She develops recipes and writes about cooking, entertaining, and health for Bed Bath & Beyond, WeightWatchers, FitPregnancy, and others, looking for the spot "where Healthy meets Happy." Julie shares a small urban condo with her 2 little girls, 2 chubby guinea pigs, and 1 very patient husband. You can find her on Twitter @cookingwjulie.

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