Victorian Christmas Dessert
Christmas is always a busy time for me and this year was no exception. With my heavy work and school schedule I was afraid I was not going to have time to hold my annual Christmas party. My husband could see how stressed I was about it and he suggested I just have a dessert party. It would take less time since I would not have to plan a menu or cook. The guests could arrive early for caroling with dessert after or they could just show up later with desserts. This was just the time saving solution I was looking for.
A painting of three carolers in Victorian costume decorated the cover of the invitations I sent out. Inside were details about time, place, to bring desserts and arrive at the earlier time in Victorian costume to go Christmas caroling around my neighbourhood.
I followed a Victorian theme in my decorating. The afternoon of the party I started by draping plain white lights and festive garlands on the tree. I used burgundy velvet bows, ornaments in the shape of old-fashioned shoes, lace fans, doves, roses and hearts to decorate it.
I covered the dining room table in burgundy damask linen, sprinkling some holly shaped confetti on top to make it look more festive. I attached silver snowflakes to strings and hung them in the living room and dining room windows. I made my own centrepiece in Victorian style using an angel figurine and small, fresh flower wreath I bought at the florists. I wrapped the white plastic utensils in burgundy napkins and placed them on the table in a wicker basket decorated with burgundy velvet ribbon and white silk roses. Finally, in the centre of the table I placed a vase of fresh poinsettias from the florists.
When the house was decorated I made some punch with cider, red wine and brandy. My husband started the fire while I went to the bakery to pick up a chocolate apricot fruitcake, a bouquet of red and white roses and our costumes from the rental shop.
After I changed into my costume I poured the punch over a block of ice in the crystal punch bowl and garnished it with strips of lemon peel. I arranged the flowers in a crystal vase and set it on the coffee table in the living room. I saw my husband on the ladder hanging a sprig of mistletoe in the doorway between the living room and dining room, but I ignored him as I went past lighting the candles on the dining room table. When he was done he chased me, in a very un-Victorian manner back into the living room demanding a kiss before he would let me light the candles over the fireplace. I gave it gladly; I was only playing hard to get. We were ready just in time as the doorbell rang after the last candle was lit.
About half of the guests arrived in costume to go caroling. I went with them while my husband stayed at the house waiting for more guests. It was a cold, but a beautiful clear night and we caroled our way up and down the streets. We really looked the part in our Victorian outfits. Some of my friends had brought Victorian style oil lanterns to carry which added to the effect. A few people even came out of their homes to listen, give us some Christmas cheer and applause.
When we returned to the house the rest of the guests had arrived and some of them were also in costume. The table was full of desserts of every description and we invited the guests to help themselves. My husband made coffee while I chatted and mingled with the guests. Everyone kept telling me they loved my theme and decorations.
The party was a terrific success. My husband even enjoyed it more than my usual party because I was so much more relaxed. The dessert party was so successful I'm thinking of having it again next year.