Twelfth Night Party

January 06, 2016

My friend, Karen promised to give a Christmas party, but December came and went without an invitation.  I know how that is--holiday party wishes and dreams are complicated by the reality that the season is BUSY. Then, last Sunday an invitation arrived by email:  Please come to an open house on Tuesday evening for a bowl of soup and glass of wine to celebrate Twelfth Night. I called her and she wondered aloud how many people would show up on a rainy Tuesday night with such short notice, thinking that those who came would pop in late and leave early.  But her friends are my friends, and I know these people, and I was certain everyone who was in town would show up on time and stay way past bedtime.  I was right, and a fun party was had by all!

Karen's lovely home is a typical California ranch home, one level, with the private bedrooms on one end of the house and the public rooms--the kitchen, family, living, and dining rooms--flowing into each other at the other end. Entertaining in a house that flows from one room to the next is a piece of cake.  Karen had the self-serve wine bar set up in the family room, the appetizers on the kitchen island, a serve-yourself soup station on her stove and the table set up in the dining room.  Using all the different rooms encourages people to move about, and while they do, let's face it, guests love most hanging out in the kitchen!   

Even an informal, impromptu, mid-week party takes some smart planning and a good bit of work.  If you have the slightest hope of enjoying your own party, do-ahead is essential.  For this party, simple appetizers were  prepared the morning of and heated up just as the first guests started to walk down her path.  The soups were made the day before and gently reheated during the cocktail hour.  Karen prepared the cookie dough earlier that afternoon but spoiled us by baking the cookies just before serving them.  The table was set with the idea that the over-spill would perch on sofas in the family and living rooms.  The hour before arrival, Karen lit the fires in her family room and dining room fireplaces, lit the candles and relied on their light and the light from her gorgeous Christmas tree to set the mood for the night.  Beautiful!  With everything planned and organized ahead of time I saw our hostess enjoy her party as much as we did.  In fact we all loved it so much, Karen thinks she may well have to make this Twelfth Night Party a yearly tradition.

Karen had 30 guests and made three soups.  She doubled each recipe to serve around 16 people.  It's my experience that at soup parties, most people try to taste every one, but take very small portions.  She had enough leftover for her lunch and dinner today-- sustenance while she washes up dishes and then dismantles Christmas, because as tradition has it, Twelfth Night or Epiphany, is when the Christmas tree comes down.

12th Night MENU

Cheese Toasts 
Hot Crab Dip
Sausages with Mustard Dip
Split Pea Soup with Ham


Click here to leave a comment.

My church choir director sent this out today.  It's beautiful:

For Those Who Have Far to Travel
A Blessing for Epiphany

If you could see
the journey whole,
you might never
undertake it,
might never dare
the first step
that propels you
from the place
you have known
toward the place
you know not.
Call it
one of the mercies
of the road:
that we see it
only by stages
as it opens
before us,
as it comes into
our keeping,
step by
single step.
There is nothing
for it
but to go,
and by our going
take the vows
the pilgrim takes:
to be faithful to
the next step;
to rely on more
than the map;
to heed the signposts
of intuition and dream;
to follow the star
that only you
will recognize;
to keep an open eye
for the wonders that
attend the path;
to press on
beyond distractions,
beyond fatigue,
beyond what would
tempt you
from the way.
There are vows
that only you
will know:
the secret promises
for your particular path
and the new ones
you will need to make
when the road
is revealed
by turns
you could not
have foreseen.
Keep them, break them,
make them again;
each promise becomes
part of the path,
each choice creates
the road
that will take you
to the place
where at last
you will kneel
to offer the gift
most needed—
the gift that only you
can give—
before turning to go
home by
another way.
—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace

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  1. What a neat idea! And the tree is still up! Love the 'smaller' fare, too.
    I'm looking for a chair just like the floral print one by the large mirror. Any thoughts on where that came from?

    1. I just heard back from my gf and she said she bought them 17 years ago at a small shop in Petaluma, CA which is no longer there. They have since been recovered and she doesn't know the manufacturer either! Sorry we can't be of more help!

    2. I was afraid they weren't new-ish. Too comfy looking! Thanks for asking, Kristen.

  2. Replies
    1. I know--something about candlelight and tiny twinkling lights make an evening magical!

  3. How did you take all of those photos and not have any people in them? You were not the first to arrive. Beautiful blog about a beautiful party.

    1. Hee hee, I am pretty sneaky, aren't I? I slink around with my invisible cloak, and voila: pictures with no people!

  4. Give Karen a hug for me! Looks great!

    1. Awww Kirsti! I sure will. I know you know that house well!

  5. Thanks for sharing. I observed Epiphany knitting and watching the Cleveland Cavaliers. Next year, I'll do a Twelfth Night party instead.

    1. Haha, that's an excellent way to observe Epiphany!

  6. Thanks so much for posting the beautiful Epiphany poem by Jan Richardson. It couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I plan on sharing it at today's meeting of our parish's knitting ministry. I love your blog! You have such an inspiring joie de vivire, an artist's eye, and, of course, awesome knitting skills! :-) Warm regards from COLD New Jersey - Deirdre

    1. Thank you so much. I've reread that poem so many times and it gets more and more beautiful each time I read it.

  7. These photos are fantastic! I love your description of how to plan and set up this kind of party, it has given me a lot of great ideas!

  8. That is so interesting my friend!! I loved all these Night Party photographs. Well I am also going to attend a prom night party in the coming week. This party has been organized at some destination New York venues. It’ll be my very first visit to NY. It is truly very exciting.


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