While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced

29 12 2009

Original Story by E. T. W. Hoffmann

As a child, I can still recall that sinking feeling as December 25th came to a close. Playing with my cousins with our new dolls. Getting to eat goodies all the day long. Lounging in fresh flannel pajamas. There was so much to look forward to. 

And now, even as an adult, I find myself fighting a serious case of ennui between December 26th, and say, January 4th, when the world gets back to “normal.” 

So this year, give your little ones, or yourself something to look forward to. Save a little holiday magic for these days when it’s still winter and bright, but Christmas is a memory. 

If you have small ones in the house (and even if you don’t – we’re all kids from 1 to 92, remember?), throw a Nutcracker party! Sugar plums, snow, twinkle lights — these are visions that should dance in their heads all winter long! And I’m guessing, unless you’re more productive than I am, you still have all those decorations up, so here’s a chance to get a little more enjoyment out of them.

Here are a few ideas to get your imagination going. Put some Tchaikovsky, and get planning your own winter party! 

  • Think theme: sugar and spice! 
  • Encourage wee ones to dress up — boys can come as nutcrackers; girls as ballerinas or fairies. 
  • Your menu — cinnamon cupcakes, candied fruits, gumdrops, lollipops, chocolate, wassail, and of course, plums. We’re going for sugar overload here, but you might want a tray of sandwiches and tea or a pot of stew in the crock-pot and a crust of bread nearby to balance out. 
  • Little ones or not, bring out the good silver and cloth napkins. It might be a little extra work, but I promise, it will bring an elegance you just can’t get from the paper and plastic stuff. If you just can’t bear to wash all of grandma’s heirloom silver, try searching for new plasticware that comes in silver or gold and cloth-like paper napkins in elegant patterns or folds. In the pictures, it will still look like the real thing. 
  • Decorations: think flickering votive candles galore (perhaps placed inside white lunch bags for an extra glowy effect, lots of doilies, get your family to cut out tons and tons of paper snowflakes, sugar cubes, snow and ice, white balloons, silver confetti (if you’re so brave), chiffon, tulle, taffeta, lots of sparkles (I keep picturing the Candy Land board game come to life, if that helps at all). I absolutely love these wreaths from The Weed Patch. And I am in LOVE with this gold garland (and everything from Plum Party). 
  • Favors: the kids can make “Visions of Sugar Plums” pillowcases to take home. Fabric paint and pens will keep them busy for hours 20 minutes.
  • For the grown-ups or older kids, these swans are elegant for take home candies or a small gift (you can usually find these in a craft store or party store – usually in the bridal section).

Use your imagination and dream up a winter wonderland of a party. Extra time on your hands, kids out of school, possibly leftover tempting candies in the house to get rid of. Why didn’t anyone think of the after-Christmas party sooner?

P.S. – Did anyone else but me not know that sugar plums were not sugary candy versions of the plum fruit?? 

Picture from Saveur Magazine via use real butter

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