Our family has had a holiday party on the Saturday before Christmas as long as I can remember.  In fact, I am quite certain that this annual event is B.D. (Before Dorothy).  My grandmother originated the tradition and in recent years my sister, Kelly, and my cousin, Allison, have taken the reigns and alternated years hosting the party.  This year happened to be Kelly’s turn, but as her and her husband are planning to spend their holiday in Belgium and Holland, Jed and I were more than happy to substitute as hosts.  In fact, I was thrilled.  I love hosting parties and this one is a fairly easy one to master.  It is all potluck (everyone is assigned to bring either an appetizer or dessert) so all we had to do was to make a couple of dishes to include in the buffet and decorate our house for Christmas (like I do not go completely overboard and do that every year anyway.)

Jed made granny smith apple and butternut squash soup.  I cannot remember where this recipe originated from but it is tried and true and even won him first prize at our friend Marguerite’s Annual Soup Off a couple of years ago.

I decided to keep it simple and only make six desserts.  If you have not figured it out by now, I get a wee bit excited about Christmas.  In no particular order this is my list of goodies that are sure to put you in a diabetic coma:

1.  Peanut Butter Fudge (a recipe from Jed’s family that has been around for at least three generations)

2. Chocolate Truffles spiked with Grand Marnier (Martha Stewart Living February 2005) – This particular recipe made for some excellent bowl licking!

3.  Thumbprint Cookies with Strawberry Jam (Real Simple December 2009)

4. Sugar Cookies dipped in Dark Chocolate and Sprinkled with Crushed Candycanes (Real Simple December 2009)

5. Cranberry, Ginger and Almond Biscotti (adapted from recipe in Martha Stewart Living December 2009 – I subbed orange zest for lemon zest and added cranberries and candied ginger)

6. Figgy Bars (a personal favorite of mine from Complete Baking by Martha Day )

Please note the “three tier tidbit tray.”  This was passed down to me by my mom and has always been a staple on our family’s holiday buffet.

We were all ready for the party but there was one tiny glitch that arrived in the form of several inches of snow.  Most of my family lives to the west of Richmond (Charlottesville, Roanoke and Blacksburg) and were unable to even escape their driveways making the trek to Richmond an impossibility.

Never fear!  Both of my sisters and their spouses as well as my niece, Piper, were still up for the occasion.  To add to the Christmas cheer and to assist in eating all of the food that we had prepared, Jed and I started calling all of our friends who lived in close proximity to break them free from their cabin fever and to join us for the day. The resulting “makeshift” party was a blast and the perfect way to celebrate a snow day.

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