Last year we began what we plan to make an annual event, our Pastor's Christmas Open House. We planned this year's drop-in for after Christmas, the 28th, because our rooms at the rec centre were not available to us that night. Most of the parties and meals were over by then too, so it seemed the perfect time to have our gathering. This is something we want to do each year to open our home to our church family and say Thank You to them for sticking with us for yet another year!
I like to provide lots of food for folks to eat, but I also want to make it easy to eat, so I plan finger foods for our Open House. This year, our appetizers included a shrimp ring, kolaches (also known as sausage rolls or pigs in a blanket), a vegetable tray with dip, fruit kabobs, pirouette cookies, a basket of mandarins (tangerines), and homemade cream puffs. Our drinks were hot spiced cider and hot tea.
All of our foods were easy to fix, but they do take time, so our afternoon was spent in the kitchen chopping, slicing, kneading, and stuffing. Andrew and Beth established themselves at the table, chopping cantaloupe and honeydew melons and pineapple, slicing orange wedges, and threading them all on skewers along with grapes. They were so pretty when they were stacked on a platter, and they smelled SO good! Then Andrew set to work on the veggie platter with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and cherry tomatoes. He arranged it better than I would have - he's hired! While they were chopping and slicing, I was at the counter kneading bread dough for the kolaches. While that was rising, I made some extra cream puffs (like we might not have enough). Beth would stop and sweep the floor every now and then - what a mess! Wes even joined in, fixing the cider and arranging the teas for me. Finally, the kolaches were ready to go in the oven around 6:15, as I finished stuffing the cream puffs and stacking them on a tray and drizzling them with white chocolate. I ran upstairs and changed my clothes while the kolaches baked, coming down at 7:00 feeling a little less frazzled and ready to see people. What an afternoon!
Our friends began arriving around 7:30, and most stayed till after 9:00. The kids stayed in the kitchen, talking and laughing, while the adults sat in the living room and talked. We had two families and one single lady come. Several others had told us they planned to come, but one couple had to change plans at the last minute. We had a great time of fellowship with those who were able to come. It was nice to relax and not have to rush through anything. We enjoy our church family so much, and we were so glad to do this for them. We hope they enjoyed it as much as we did, and I'm already looking forward to next year's Open House!