Twas The Night Before The Christmas Party

Even though we are majorly un-fancy for our party, I have to brag for a second: we had a Christmas miracle this year which was that I CREATED THIS FANCY CHEESEPLATE SITUATION.

holiday party
This post and its next level cheeseboards are sponsored by DeLallo.

Bjork and I been hosting a Christmas party for the last seven years.

Seven years. That is weird. That is like when your parents talk about how long they’ve been attending so-and-so’s annual bunco party, and it starts to get into the number of years where you’re like, ohhh, you’ve been doing this since before Instagram. Wow. Seven years, huh? Okay. Yep. Got it.

Our Christmas party has easily been one of the best holiday traditions that we’ve created for ourselves, mostly because our friends are really, really awesome.

2010:

Our “new” tiny apartment. Friends from high school coming home for Christmas. Old junk being passed around as gifts, and one single picture as documentation. 👆🏼

“That was so fun,” we said.

2011:

holiday party

Same tiny apartment, same weird gifts, but a little bit bigger group.

“Let’s do this every year,” we said.

2012:

holiday party Philippines

Hello, Philippines (where we lived and worked for one year). Pause on party with friends. Lots of games, lots of laughs, and lots of homesick moments.

“I miss the party,” we said.

2013:

holiday party

Back home! New house! Still tiny, but perfectly sized for a small gathering of good friends.

“It’s so good to be back,” we said.

2014:

holiday party

Same one-bathroom, 900-square-foot house, bigger group, and Lindsay goes down with the flu mid-party. Good times.

“I hope that NEVER EVER EVER happens again,” we said.

2015:

holiday party studio

New spacious upgrade! Party relocates to our brand new, just-got-the-keys-and-there’s-hardly-any-furniture-here-except-piles-of-hardware-on-tables-and-an-undecorated-fake-tree, wide open studio.

“Bjork, your games are always ridiculous,” we said.

2016:

holiday party

Snow-pocalyse! Unsafe driving, party cancellation, and a casual offer for people to come to our house as a Plan B for any crazies who want to brave the weather. At which time 20+ people still came to our house. At which time things got really warm and really loud and really fun.

“That was ,” we said.

2017:

holiday party

A few new faces, a lot of recurring gifts, a mountain of empty pizza boxes, fireplace on the TV, candles in memory of loved ones (including Afton), and an epic dessert table.

“We have really, really great friends,” we said.


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the party this year, because as mentioned in my Holiday Survival Guide for Sad People, parties are kind of different for us this year after losing Afton. I don’t always feel full to the brim with holiday cheer these days. In fact, I find social situations to be more exhausting than ever. As we contemplated what we had the energy for this year, it was pretty easy to decide what events to say yes or no to (mostly because there were a lot of nos).

But Bjork and I spent a lot of time asking ourselves: what about our party?

Are we too tired? Is it too hard? Is the memory of the party last year, and what happened right after, going to always make this a really sad event for us?

And maybe it is kind of yes to all of those. But it’s also something we always look forward to. They might just be being nice to us, but our friends say it’s something they look forward to, too. I am a lover of the food and drinks. Bjork is an avid and enthusiastic game leader. And our friends are really, actually, the best.

We also knew it would be okay to host again this year because, this year and EVERY year, we have legit rules for this thing that center around low-to-no-stress. Twas the night before the Christmas Party and I was losing my mind with organizational details? I think not, friends.

Ostrom Christmas Party Rules

  • Order pizza (no cooking!)
  • Have it delivered (no pick ups!)
  • Have friends bring dessert (no baking!)
  • Beer and wine only (no fancy cocktails unless delivered by friends!)
  • Paper plates (no dishes!)
  • Fake, pre-lit tree (no decorational stresses!)
  • White elephant gifts (no shopping!)
  • Above all else, zero-stress.

Now, even though we are majorly un-fancy for our party, I have to brag for a second: we had a Christmas miracle this year which was that I CREATED THIS FANCY CHEESEPLATE SITUATION.

DeLallo cheese board

😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

And remember the no-stress rule? This was both! It was a fancy cheeseplate that was also no-stress.

Remember DeLallo Foods? We’ve been working with them for several years now, and this year they have a new awesome thing available through their website which is a variety of gourmet, curated cheeseboard gift and entertaining sets. Hollaaaah! These things make us holiday hosts and hostesses look like straight up Martha Stewart. NO-STRESS. Twas the night before our Christmas party and I was in bed at 9pm because that DeLallo cheeseboard already did all the work. Thank you and goodnight.

With the cheeses, spreads, antipasto, and meats that were included in my very large and awesome Italian Feast collection, I prepped and styled two cheeseboards – one sweet, one spicy. I don’t even know how to describe how much good snackage there was — hard cheese and fig jam and black pepper salami and fresh olives and dried fruit and nuts and pickled vegetables and peppers and mustard and spicy sopressata and smoked gouda and OMG IT WAS ALL SO GOOD. I want to eat it again right now.

Most of us host and/or go to parties around this time of year, and most of us like to be no-stress about them, so if you want to try one of these lovely boards for your holiday party OR send one as a gift (I, for one, would accept), use the code PINCH25. That will give you 25% off. 25% off! Hello, that’s awesome.

Click here to have a look at the boards. And remember: PINCH25. No special links, no printing anything, just a lil code in your brain to give you 25% off of a big box of cheese and related snackage. Win.


So, talk to me about this holiday party thing.

  1. Do you have any holiday party traditions? Tell me more.
  2. Do you cheeseboard? Yes, I just used that as a verb. Tell me a lot more. This was my first time making a legit cheeseboard and I was so glad to have a little hand-holding with this DeLallo cheeseboard kit. Are you a cheeseboard newbie? Do you always find yourself wondering whether to do things like, for example, cut or not cut the salami? Because I do. How do you make your cheeseboards unique and beautiful?

Basically I’m just trying to get the weekend party vibe to sort of extend into a Monday here. I know you’re down for this.

Also, an early Christmas gift for you. 👇🏼

Sage

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35 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    ““Bjork, your games are always ridiculous,” we said.” 😂😂😂

    I love that you guys do this every year! And your “lifestyle” posts here on POY! And DeLallo! And you guyz (obv)!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Looks like your parties are so much fun. I hope this year’s event helped to bring you some cheer this year. You both deserve to laugh and smile.

    We have a Christmas eve party for all the friends who don’t have family in town. Over the years we’ve all become like one big family. We all bring appetizers to share, I make all the desserts and I plan all the games. It’s not stress free but I really love all the preparations. I’d love to hear what kind of games Bjork does for your event. I’m looking for something new for this year’s party.

    We also do a white elephant gift exchange. This year I’m wrapping up a Squatty Potty. I can’t wait to see the reaction it gets. It’s always fun to see the crazy gifts people bring. Last year I brought home a Troll Chia Pet. Yeah, that’s right! And my husband ended up with a Curl-a-Dog (a press than puts indentations into a hot dog). Fun stuff!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jennifer

    Hi Lindsay!! I loooove a good cheese board! Like you I always make sure there is something sweet and spicy! Some of my favourites recently have been:
    – Caramelised onion spread
    – Bacon jam
    – Sweet and spicy nuts with a little dish of honey (new fav – lavender)
    – figs – work amazingly well with goat or sheep cheese!
    – cut up meats in different ways (e.g. rough cuts, thin slices etc.)
    – roasted veg dips

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    nicole

    Can you share what kinds of cheeses you used? I am a cheddar and brie only type of gal, but I am having a Christmas party this weekend, and would love some variety. Thanks so much!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    The best party of the year. And I was taking notes on your low-stress party planning while also bookmarking a couple of your recipes 😂. We’ll see if the smarter or not so smart side of me wins.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Hannah L.

    This looks so fun! Can i come next year? I have always wanted to be one of those people who has a fancy holiday party every year that people look forward to. And when the air gets chilly people say to each other “oh i can’t wait for the Johnson Holiday party and Hannah’s famous shrimp toast!” This is a running joke because i have no shrimp toast recipe, our last name isn’t Johnson, and we have yet to host this party. But every year we have a fancy appetizer night for just the two of us and call it the Annual Johnson Holiday Party. I imagine one day we will invite someone other than our cats. Maybe…

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sadiya

    I’ve been following your journey silently (with occasional commenting) and I’m so happy to see that you have had the chance to have some happy moments in the midst of sadness.

    I DEFINTELY cheeseboard and have turned my entire family on to it. I started off simple with 1-2 cheeses but now do an all out affair, with yumminess like honey baked Brie and dips and spread (mmm sundried tomatoes with goat cheese and basil!). I’m looking forward to doing the Christmas Eve one with my in-law’s!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love this post and the history of your Christmas celebrations. And as one who has been through 29+holidays with my husband/family where we’ve had our share of happy, sad and the in-betweens, I can tell you unequivocally, that our friends were the true blessings. They laugh at us, with us, and lift us up. Your friends look like the best! Merry merry Christmas to you, Bjork and that adorable Sage!

    I tried to find a pic of the cheeseboard I did for my sister’s 50th bday – they are such fun and selfishly are totally the way I love to eat! Yours is fab!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kate Moyer

    I love your party rules! My husband invented a holiday: Thrindlewine. We are in the 2nd year and we’re heading towards our own annual holiday party: The Thrindlewine Feast of Abundance. It’s the Saturday prior to Festivus every year and it’s basically an excuse to get together and eat a bunch of indulgent things, hang out and love on our friends and drink copious amounts of port wine (the official drink of Thrindlewine). We’re the party-people in our group of friends and so people genuinely look forward to whenever we’re hosting a bash.

    This year the theme for the food is: Cheese. We’re doing poutine tater-tots (tots are the official food of Thrindlewine) and a legit 1970’s style cheese fondue with my Grandma’s old fondue set, as the main events, with tons of cheese-oriented things, including a cheese board. I’ve pigeon-holed myself in our neighborhood as the Martha Stewart of gift baskets and cheese boards, so the expectations are high. To be honest, I just follow the Barefoot Contessa’s rules for cheese boards: 4 cheeses tops (mix of soft and hard, sharp and mild), something sweet (fruit, preserves, chutney), something savory (mustard or a savory jam/spread), something crunchy (crackers of various influences) and color (leaves or other garnishes). I usually always serve my board with prosciutto, olives and cherry/grape tomatoes.

    Your party looks like a barrel of fun! I love when new ideas become *old* traditions! <3

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Dona

    That picture of Sage made my Monday! She’s a cutie. Your Christmas party pictures and stories were great. Glad you continued the tradition. I host a Christmas Eve dinner as a gift to my friends each year. Going to check out the cheesboard situation right now! (or should I keep working…..)

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sian

    I am the queen of the cheeseboard, and this post was amazing (as are your fabulous cheeseboards). For the past 8 years, our tradition has been to host a New Year’s Eve party from 5:30 – 9:00pm. We toast the new year at 6pm (midnight in Europe!), have lots of apps and cheese and desserts and laughs and sometimes some random 80s music, and then send people on to their other parties. We then clean the house, set the coffee maker, and tuck ourselves into bed at a decent hour so we can greet the new year fresh. (Our teenagers usually opt to stay up to watch the ball drop, but they keep it quiet enough for the parents to snuggle in before midnight.) It is actually really awesome, because EVERYONE comes, knowing they can move on to other parties afterward. I’m really looking forward to it…

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love how low stress your party is! We host a party every year for our friends focused around music and food. Everyone brings their most amazing appetizer or dessert to share and we play instruments and sing songs for like six hours. It is our most treasured yearly tradition and my absolute favorite day of the year. You just can’t beat having so many people you love in one room and singing drunk renditions of TLC’s Waterfalls (and other actually good songs).

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Christine Hansen

    Thank you for Sage; why do I think I see the events of last year written across her loyal face? Peace and comfort to you and Bjork this Christmas.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Rachel

    Lindsay, some of my favorite posts are when you just share about your life and what you’re thinking, feeling, and doing. <3 Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Eman

    We host an annual Christmas party too and it’s my favorite! Everyone brings an appetizer to share and I always prepare a large cheeseboard. So yes, I do cheeseboard…I cheeseboard hard. Must haves for said cheeseboard: a variety of crackers, at least 4-5 hard cheeses, and 3-4 soft cheeses, honey, spicy chili berry jam, some kind of chutney, fresh figs, olives, veggies, grapes and blackberries, dried fruit, nuts, and garnish with some fresh rosemary sprigs. SO GOOD.

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Holla linds – I love this! Esp the pics going back in time chronicling your Xmas party momentos. Super cute.

    And YES! Actually, I hadn’t cheese plattered in YEARS (we’re vegan, and a cheese platter without the cheese, is , well, not as fun). But then we found these vegan cheese kits down here in lil old NZ and what do you know I’m making haloumi, feta, mozarella, baby it’s all on! I shared my platter a couple weeks back and I was high stoked with how it turned out ( -> https://begoodorganics.com/ultimate-vegan-cheese-platter/.

    Anyhoo – i’m living vicariously through your party right now (I’m assuming/hoping, if I was SP bound I’d be invited). I’ve never had the balls to host an Xmas pre-get, always felt would be ‘too much work’ but your tips above make total sense. Stress reduction = happiness. Always.

    Hey also, just a quick ending hug for you and B at this time. I know it’s a (beyond) tough one for you, just want you to know that I’m thinking about you, and sending you so much virtual love and cuddles. Take care of you two, you are both v special individuals (and this is saying me, who’s never actually ‘met’ you in person! ha!).

    Take care linds, know that you are much loved.

    xx Buffy

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Julie

    I love holiday traditions!
    My friends and I have been going out to a cabin between Christmas and New Years, this will be out 5th year in a row. It all started after I had moved away for school, I missed my friends and suggested we all get away for some uninterrupted friend catch-up time. They were in and we’ve repeated the event every year since. It’s changed a bit as couples were formed and broken, some had kids and missed a year but it’s a event we all look forward to for the whole year. It’s a chance to unplug from the real world and just be together.
    And let’s be honest, it helps that most of us love to cook 😉

    Thanks for all the inspiring content!

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Karen

    Love your party tradition and hope it continues for many, many years. I have hosted a New Year’s Eve party since 1978 or so, only missing one year when I lived with a friend and didn’t want to subject her house to my rowdy friends. Those early parties were quite the event. They eventually settled into the same core group of longtime friends and a smattering of friends who came and went. We went from themed food parties, to bring an appetizer and I make the dinner, to now going out to a restaurant after having appetizers and drinks at my house. We, too, would take pictures of the group every year, but that has kind of gone by the wayside of late. When I look back and think of the good friends who are no longer with us, it reminds me that nothing is certain or forever – friendships, marriages, life. Be in the moment, love the ones in your life and make sure they know it! May your holidays bring you peace and the promise of many more happy times to come!

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Do I have holiday party traditions? YES! Avoiding them. lol. I kid, sort of. I like most holidays and go to some events, but I am such an introvert that I get stressed out with too many events and people. The can stressful energizer drainers for me and you mentioned zero-stress; I am a fan of low stress.

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy hangin’ with my peeps, but I am a bit particular about any setting with 5+ people.

    It is awesome to make your own traditions and follow up with them. Also, I would totally come and eat your cheeses and meats.

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Paula

    Thank you so much for featuring Delallo cheeseboards. I went post haste and ordered one!!! That is one stress free thing I won’t have to do thanks to you! Love your blog, and wishing you and all your family many blessings for the new year!

  21. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ana

    Aww love that you guys host a Christmas party each year, even in a small apartment! We always let that be our excuse – “we have no space” -but it’s great to see that you can still have lots of fun as long as you are in good company!
    Also stop, that picture of Sage – what a cutie! I love reading all your personal posts, Lindsay! Keep ’em coming!

  22. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Melanie

    I don’t really have any Christmas party traditions but after reading this post I can definitely see myself hosting next year! Also I need to step my cheeseboard game all the way up!!