Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

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We finished up another successful Nutcracker season yesterday and thought it would be fun to celebrate that milestone with friends last night.  Once all of the rehearsals and performances are finished, I feel like I can finally concentrate on Christmas–and yes, I still have some shopping to do!


The girls did an absolutely beautiful job and were just delightful to watch!

We decided to make it a “Soup and Sweets” theme; my friend Amy (not my blog partner, Amy) hosts a similar party in Savannah after her daughter’s performances and it’s always so much fun {see more about her lovely home here}.  Plus, since the second act of the Nutcracker is “Land of the Sweets” it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

I have caved in to the modern era and sent Evites to most people, but printed out an invitation for a few neighbors for whom I didn’t have email addresses, using the Evite artwork:


We invited about a hundred people and I think we had about sixty come, which is pretty good considering so many people had already left town for their holiday travels.  I set my guest book and name tags up on my mom’s secretary in the dining room; since we had friends from church, school, ballet, Chris’s work, and the neighborhood, I thought that would make it easier.

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

Southern Pines/Pinehurst is a small town, so I wasn’t too surprised at how many people knew each other already, but it sure made things more fun!

I used my giant chalkboard easel (from Hobby Lobby) to direct traffic:

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

And then the other side wished guests a Merry Christmas as they departed:

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

I wasn’t sure that I really needed the easel when I bought it, but I use it all the time.  And it’s pretty. 🙂

For the “soup” portion of the party, we had six crockpots and two stockpots filled with soups.

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

We made Italian Wedding, Minestrone, Vegetable, Pumpkin Chipotle, and Gumbo and Rice.  Or rather, my husband made most of them last week and froze them.  We finished them (adding cream and the like) this week, and I made the minestrone just ahead of time since the pasta and zucchini don’t freeze well.  Oh, and my sweet friend Kathie contributed the vegetable soup and pretty much was my bartender/butler last night–aren’t friends wonderful?

Even though I planned things out weeks in advance, the last hour or two was the usual hair-on-fire-mode that I fall into before every single event (WHY?!).  Once our friends started arriving, though, there was so much fun and cheer in the house–it was wonderful.

What I did do, however, was forget to take a single picture.  I think when you have that many people in your home, you are way too distracted by the fun and chatting to take photos, and that’s what you should be concentrating on, anyway.

I’m going to have to turn in my blogging license for that faux pas…but wait–I did hand the camera off to Annabelle and told her to snap a few photos of things just before everyone arrived.  She concentrated on the sweets–shocker.

Like the red velvet Nutcracker cupcakes:

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

| Wrappers and cupcake toppers  |

The brownie bites:

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

The marshmallow pops:

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

The macarons:

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

We also had tasting cups filled with chocolate mousse and lemon mousse (recipe here), and I set up a candy bar with striped paper bags as take home favors.

We also had several kinds of cheese and crackers, salami, breadsticks, and olives to munch on, and I served mini-biscuits with the soup.  Even though we were feeding an army, we had plenty of food–too much, in fact.  We made triple batches of all the soups and next year will probably just do the gumbo and pumpkin chipotle, and make quadruple batches of both.  I’ll also probably hire someone to serve drinks and restock the food; everyone was really great about helping out but it would just be easier.


For drinks, the adults had their choice of beer and wine, cranberry fizz, and bourbon peach lemonade (recipe here).  The kids chose from cherry limeade (recipe here), a hot cocoa bar, and a hot apple cider bar.

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party


Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

There are no pictures of our lovely guests, or of us, but I wore this outfit again because gold sequined miniskirts (and heels) are always a good idea, right?

Twas the Night AB & Christy

| Gold sequined skirt (similar) |

Oh, wait–Emily and Caroline were willing to share a pic from the photo booth we set up in the upstairs hallway (thanks, ladies):

photo booth


We ended the night by passing out Nutcracker-themed party crackers to the ballerinas who attended (I think they had paper mustaches in them, or some other trinket) and sending all the kids–and adults– home with bags of candy.  The entire evening was so much fun!

And then we cleaned up, and collapsed in these chairs! 🙂

Post-Nutcracker Soup and Sweets Party

If you haven’t already seen Annabelle’s Nutcracker bedroom, or the rest of my Christmas decor, then please visit this post.

Nutcracker and ballet themed Christmas decor | 11 Magnolia Lane

Hope you’re having a fun and festive week, too, as we draw near to the best birthday party ever!


Final New Christy headshot 2015


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  1. Wow. 60 people…you are brave woman!! Love the theme. Need to remember that one either for brunch or a party in the future. Love that most is made ahead and it is mostly self serve. That’s what we love about the baked potato bar. Your daughter is beautiful just like her momma. Merry Christmas!

    • Thanks, Lauren. It was a lot of work, but it was so much fun. I still smile every time I think about it! Make-head and self-serve is the key for that number of people, for sure!

  2. Holiday Greetings!

    My niece is moving to Southern Pines from California! She should be there first true week in January!
    She’s leaving one beautiful home for another =)

    MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

  3. Mara Fiskin says

    We had a wonderful time meeting you and your family. Enjoyed meeting new people and seeing friends.
    Your home is lovely, the food and dessert was wonderful also.
    Merry Christmas!!

  4. Everything looked so beautiful…including your beautiful daughter….you certainly went over the top in making sure your guests were taken care of in every way….I love the idea of the soup and sweets…I know how it can be when you are a hostess and can’t manage to take those pics! Such a lovely party Christy….you are the hostess with the ultimate mostest!….Now put up your feet and know that it was a job/party well done!!

  5. Sorry I’m late to the party ~ 🙂 I have a lot of catching up to do so please don’t feel that you need to respond to each comment. I love the idea of this party and I’m sure Annabelle did as well. She is beautiful, like you! Did you do the baking for the desserts? Wow, I don’t know how you do so much! Great that your husband helped with the soups. I think they all sound delish! I always love seeing the details that you create…the tags, easel, food labels, etc. You are truly a pro at entertaining! I guess I might have been able to entertain 60 people when I was younger ~ 🙂 My sister-in-law does it a lot…and she’s a fabulous cook and decorator. She also caters in the small town where they live.

    Thanks so much for sharing the festivities!

    • Pat–
      Thanks for the lovely comment AND compliments! It was a wonderful evening. I did most of the cooking, with my husband’s help, but I did buy quite a few of the desserts. It was fun to look around the room and realize that even though we’ve only been here for a few months, we’ve certainly made a lot of friends already. That’s a good lesson for my children about moving!!

      I hope the new year is treating you well.

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