A party just isn’t a party without friends. I found out this year that party prep is a whole lot more fun with friends, too. Completely by accident, we are starting a new tradition: The Pre-Open House Friday Night Prep Party.
I’ve learned over the past few years (and am still learning) that when friends offer to help you, you should let them. My mother (if her health is good) and a couple of close friends come a few hours early each Open House to assist me, and my college friend B– spends the weekend here so she can help.
But it’s never occurred to me to impose on people by asking that they come over on a Friday night for several hours just to help me finish (or make progress on) the impossible number of dishes that I always try to tackle for this holiday party.
It still wouldn’t have occurred to me if my (really wonderful and amazing) friend Angela hadn’t suggested it. Thanks to her offer and idea, six of us spent a good 5 hours the night before the party frosting, folding, dipping, and filling an assortment of sweets and savories.
The menu was takeout pizza and the broken or messed up pieces of whatever we’re prepping. This year that included Oreo Truffles, Buckeyes, Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwich cookies, and Mini Chocolate Sandwich cookies.
We also prepped Cheesy Bacon Bites, but those weren’t cooked until the next day so they weren’t something you wanted to nibble.
We covered the coffee table with cutting boards and sheet pans, and most of my friends camped on the couches or sat on the floor while they prepped. I wish I had taken photos, but we were so busy cooking I didn’t think about it! (The picture above is actually from the day of the party, but you get the idea of how we were working.)
Six people working 5 hours saved me at least 30 hours of making sandwich cookies and rolling items in chocolate. I actually got less done myself because every time I turned around someone said, “Done! What’s next?” and I had to figure out how else they could help. I know for next year that I need to have a list of things people can do, and the components for those things prepped and ready for them.
I cannot say enough how awesome my friends are and how much I value the gift of their time.
And you know what? I think we had more fun than during the actual party!