After Santa has come and gone, and the presents have all been opened, there can be a bit of a letdown. Too much time with family can be draining, and the thought of taking down all the holiday decorations, from the lights outside to the tree, can be extremely depressing. Here's a little party prescription to cure those blues — a low-key get-together that is easy to host and will help kick off the new year on the right foot. These are five of my favorite party ideas to get you started.
1. De-Decorating Brunch
Christmas and New Year's have passed, but don’t let the post-holiday blues set in when it comes time to take down the tree and pack up the decorations. Make the dreaded task a reason to party!
Think a boozy midday meal, giving you time to wrap up all those delicate ornaments before popping the cork for a make-your-own bloody mary bar. Dig into a breakfast casserole that can be made in advance (like a savory strata), a hearty turkey stew, or a salmon niçoise salad for lighter appetites.
2. End-of-the-Season Potluck Party
Technically, the “Christmas Season” doesn’t come to an end until Epiphany, on Jan. 6. After families are back from post-holiday travels, gather kids and adults together for one last toast to Santa with some sweets before the New Year's detox really begins. Ask guests to each bring a dish that utilizes the last of the holiday leftovers. Use that panettone for a savory strata and make French toast with that fruitcake. Create a top-your-own cocoa bar for the kids, and set out trays of the last of the holiday sweets to enjoy over board games.
3. A Give-Back Dinner Party
With so many spending the holidays away, it leaves little time to celebrate with friends. Host a post-holiday casual dinner for all ages where each guest has to bring a canned good leftover from the holidays, and a toy they no longer want. (How else are you going to make room for all the new loot Santa brought?) Then dig into a hearty spread of lasagna, roast chicken, and a simple green salad.
4. Fireside Fondue
Has spending the holidays with family left you drained? Instead of the typical holiday postmortem with friends over coffee, move the get-together fireside. Pop open a bottle of that red you got in your stocking and exchange nightmare tales over a meal of cheese fondue and charcuterie. Then melt together all that leftover holiday chocolate into a rich fondue to serve with fresh berries for dipping.
5. Three-Kings Inspired Feast
Typically, caroling and sweets remind us of Christmas Eve, but these holiday treats are associated with Jan. 6, the Twelfth Night and the Feast of the Three Kings. After a month of holiday indulging, how much harm can one more feast do?
Be inspired by the flavors of each country the Three Kings represented, serving up spiced beef kebabs for Persia, vegetable samosas for Ethiopia, and curried lentils with naan for India. Then gather with neighbors for a neighborhood bonfire inspired by the extinguishing of the yule log, complete with spiked coffee cocktails.