As far as traditions go, we weren’t very traditional this year.
We didn’t put up any sort of coniferous tree (they do have those here), but instead, opted for decorating a forlorn branch that I found on the sidewalk after a springtime storm. I didn’t make my traditional fudge, nor did I make Flannigan Fancies (a Neilson favorite) due to a lack of graham crumbs and vanilla pudding mix in the country.
But we did host a Christmas party, which is something we have done for the past couple of years now.
Each year, we look forward to having our friends over, preparing an array of tasty treats and delicacies for them, and taking their picture with cheesy Christmas props.
Although our loved ones in Canada were unable to make it out, North-America was well-represented at our party. 19 North Americans, 1 Kiwi, and 1 Canadian-Kiwi gathered in our very warm and humid apartment for an evening of festive fun. Regardless of whether they were from Canada or the States, I think it was comforting for all of our friends to be in the company of others who also find it pretty odd to be celebrating Christmas in such hot and balmy conditions.
On the menu was Breno’s Pulled Pork, along with an array of savory dips and bites. For sweets, the one traditional item I did make were Christmas Kisses.
Donna Hay Magazine was a big inspiration to me this year as far as baking and decor go.
I found this great idea for paper snowflake ornaments in one of her past Christmas magazines, and got a couple of my keen and artistic students to whip a few of these up to hang from our ceiling for the party. (Don’t worry, their efforts were rewarded…)
Donna Hay’s elegant but simplistic style also inspired this centerpiece I threw together using a glass lampshade I found on Inorganic Pickup day, along with some buttons, sequins, ribbon and a candle.
The button garland on this miniature tree centerpiece was Amy Cairns-inspired.
Also Donna Hay-inspired were these chocolate, cranberry rum truffles and white chocolate macarons.
I was super pumped to have found this dainty, triple-layer dessert stand at a thrift shop the day before the party. Perfect to display my sweet treats on!
The evening also included some “Brendon and Mel Trivia.” Laurel scored the highest, with a whopping 18 points. Our new Canadian friend, Dan, (whom we met the day before) came in as a close second with 17 points, and Mark, a close third with 16. The total was out of 33. We will include the questions in the following blog post to see how well our peeps back in North America do!
An additional item on the agenda that evening was a coffee tasting (of one coffee, three different ways). The El Salvadorian San Emilio was done by means of a V60 pourover, French press, and espresso. Most people were able to taste the differences between the various extraction methods used, and had a preference for which way they enjoyed most, so Brendon thought it to be successful in that sense.
Our party was a pretty fun time, if we do say so ourselves… but we would have loved our friends and family in Canada to have been here too. We miss you all.