A winter party is one of my favorite ways to remind me to keep celebrating life. This was true as a fourth grader too. My golden blonde hair lay straight falling in my face. Sweeping it back to focus on weaving the purple & pink construction paper for my Valentine heart envelope to receive the next day’s Valentines.
My nine year old heart knew nothing of the 16 year old ‘Lonely Hearts Club’ self loathing, clad in black, day of mourning. Rather, I embraced it with homemade cards, all things heart shaped and sickly pink, purple & red. Seriously, could there be a better day for a girl?
When I turned 18, I would receive my first ‘romantic’ Valentine from my now husband. Once we got married, we didn’t really do much on this once beloved day. Opting for next day discounted chocolate and no need for reservations seemed more sensible to me.
However, when we had our first child in the dead of winter, five years later my heart warmed up to this whole Valentine’s thing. Those grueling days as a stay at home mom stirred up in me a need for Valentine’s Day, a Winter Party.
“Ben, you know how we don’t really do much for Valentine’s day?,” I pondered.
“Yeah,” he replied.
“Well, this year, I’ve decided I’m above that and need it. I’m at home all day and need to know you love me through a card or something else really special,” I told him.
He responded well.
It took having kids to take me back to my childhood innocence about this day. I felt as though my anti-establishment self was saying, “I’m above that day and Hallmark telling me why I am loved. I don’t need to buy into the commercialism.”
Well, I repent of those words friends; because, I’m not above it. It’s me reclaiming a day submerged in consumerism and saying:
I need a day to throw a party in the dead of winter. I need red, pink & purple. I need glitter and hearts and chocolate. I need fancy. I need candles lit, tablecloths laid and fondue pot with cake & fruit to dip. I want to remind my very aesthetic self that life is STILL moving and STILL living underneath the frostbitten leaves.
Tips for Throwing a Winter Party
If you are like me, then can I encourage some simple ways to make Valentine’s Special, or to Throw a Winter Party–JUST BECAUSE.
Send out Invites
Make your list of people you love spending time with and some others you are just getting to know. Make simple postcard invites rather than evites, just because it’s more fun to get something other than a bill or junk mail in the mailbox.
Valentine Gift Exchange
Ben and I threw a party years ago on Valentine’s Day specifically inviting people we knew weren’t dating. We thought Christmas always gets the fun parties and the white elephant gift exchanges. Why can’t we do the same for Valentine’s? So we hosted a fun “cheesy, romantic” gift exchange (think white elephant).
What I love about the fondue meal is how elaborate or simple it can be. But, what I love even more is the shared pot. There is something about sharing a meal, literally sharing a meal in a pot with everyone dipping in their food and conversation spreading. We’ve done a cheese starter to cooking our meats and veggies to ending with dessert. You can put in the invitation to have your guests bring specific items (i.e. J&L bring heavy cream).
Isn’t it nice to be able to dress up to go out to eat? Well, tell your guests to dress up. Pick a theme if it isn’t Valentine’s Day. Formal or semi-formal. Funny fancy or glamorous. Dressing up and having others do the same can actually break the ice. Providing people to look forward to something, to step outside of normal and share life together helps beat winter blues.
The sky’s the limit as these are simply a few suggestions. Either way, this is about reminding us that in the midst of winter’s dull beat, life is very much alive and worth taking a bite out of. Especially in the form of a winter party.
Do you need the same thing? Do you need to throw a winter party to remember life is good? Do you need to share this life around the table to taste and see that the Lord is good?
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/8 cup dutch cocoa powder
- 1/8 cup black onyx cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 375*F. Line a mini cupcake tin with mini muffin cups. In a large bowl, mix together coconut flour, both cocoa powders, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, oil, honey and vanilla until well-combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Pour batter into muffin cups, 2/3 full and bake for about 10 minutes.
- While cupcakes are cooling, prepare ganache. Put either bittersweet chocolate in a bowl. Heat cream over medium heat. Once it hits a slight boil, turn the heat off and pour over the chocolate chips. Allow for the chocolate to sit in the cream or coconut milk for 30 seconds. Then, whisk until it is completely combined. Now you have some options in regards to the ganache. You can simply dip the cupcake top directly into the ganache, allow ganache to cool and spread it on, or...remove the cupcakes from the liners. Then, put a cooling rack over aluminum foil and place all the cupcakes on the cooling rack. Pour the ganache over the cupcakes (remember the liners are removed) and allow to solidify, which creates bon bons. Makes 18 to 24 mini cupcakes.
- These little bite-sized morsels are perfection in mid-winter. When you bite into one you are taken back to unwrapping the foil from Hostess Ding Dongs without the added fillers. Top these cupcakes with ganache and enjoy a childhood favorite all over again.
- Put a wire rack on top of a baking sheet lined with foil. Take the wrappers off the cupcakes and place them on the wire rack. While the ganache is still warm, pour over the cupcakes. Allow them to sit, in order for the ganache to set. Place them in the refrigerator to further harden. Enjoy!