Christmas gatherings are a special time for family and friends to get together. Many have traditions that are done each year and others like to change things up a bit. On my husband’s side, each family takes turns hosting the event. So every three to four years it is our turn to host this event. I personally LOVE to plan and host parties, but I don’t always have the budget to plan a huge event. That doesn’t mean it cannot be a fun event, it just might take a little more planning ahead of time, like months! This planning time can help with finding great deals on decor. Many of my decor finds are from our adventures going to garage sales. Several Minneapolis neighborhoods will have neighborhood-wide sale weekends. This lets the entire neighborhood get involved, and it is great because there are so many sales in one neighborhood.

A couple of years ago it was our turn to host the Christmas gathering so off I went to the planning, did I mention I love to plan parties! I decided we would have a Country Christmas, and I encouraged everyone to dress the part! Yes, I also like to have a theme for my parties. The food consisted of cowboy-type food: BBQ pulled beef, Texas caviar, salsa and chips, and Chex mix were some of the foods we enjoyed.


The decorating is the part that I really enjoy. We made place mats from burlap, utensil holders that were pockets from jeans, and the napkins had a bandanna theme. There was other miscellaneous decor on the tables to help with the theme. Many of the items we found at garage sales throughout the summer.

Of course, there had to be a few desserts. These consisted of chocolate covered strawberries and oranges, apple crisp in jars, and one item that is requested every year – my banana bread. It is a simple recipe, but I tell people the secret is using really ripe bananas.

What would a party be without games! My father-in-law is a big John Wayne fan so we played a John Wayne Trivia game. I just found a bunch of facts about John Wayne and those were the questions. We also played a Western themed game of Pictionary. As the guests arrived, everyone was told to pick a bandanna to wear, blue or red. Secretly this would decide which team you would be on for the games. Of course there was a prize basket for the winning team to choose from. This consisted of small gifts that I picked up through out the year and the free items I get from Menard’s Home Improvement store’s rebate offers.

Even Shadow, our standard poodle, dressed for the day.

The party was a lot of fun, and really was affordable with the advance planning. You may be creative on your own or your may use Pinterest for fun party ideas, the important part of the party is having fun with family and friends, creating memories along the way. What are some Christmas party themes or traditions that your family has?

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