White Elephant Party

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A White Elephant Gift Exchange is a great way to jazz up a Christmas party, and though the gifts may be tacky, your tablescape doesn’t have to be!

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Gather friends, family, or co-workers and celebrate the holidays by hosting a White Elephant Gift Exchange and Brunch.

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Set the stage by using a large white elephant to create the perfect statement centerpiece as well as to hold your guests’ party favors. Use silver glitter favor boxes filled with kettle corn drizzled in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt for a sweet treat your guests can take home to enjoy.

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Assemble a striped party straw with a “Merry” flag and a white elephant for each place setting. A personalized place card adorned with a silver peanut is the perfect nod to the elephant in the room. Fresh sprigs of rosemary add the perfect finishing touch to each place setting.

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Personalized signs and wrapping paper are a great way to carry the theme throughout the decor. Cut lengths of wrapping paper and tape them to lampshades for an added pop of color to the table.

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For the gift exchange, use personalized gift tags tied with aqua ribbon. Add a printable number on the back of each one so your guests will know their turn.

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Arrange holiday poinsettia, white hydrangea, red tulips, sprigs of fresh Fraser Fir and lime hypericum berries for festive cluster arrangements.

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Offer guests a holiday brunch menu they can’t resist. Start by warming them up with a mug of Holiday Russian Tea. Then serve a scrumptious selection of Bacon and Spinach Quiche, Winter Berry Salad in the shape of a wreath and Cream Cheese Sausage Balls.



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Winter Berry Salad Wreath


1 head of Iceberg lettuce

4 c mixed greens

1 cup spinach

2 bunches grapes

1 apple, chopped

1 pear, half sliced and half chopped

4 strawberries, chopped

2 strawberries, whole for decorating

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup blueberries

½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup honey

1 Tbs. diced fresh onion

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 Tbs. poppy seeds

⅔ c olive oil


Place iceberg lettuce around a round plate. Top with mixed greens. On both sides of “wreath” make a decoration with spinach leaves. Add bunches of grapes, fanned pears and whole strawberries to each side. To the salad add chopped apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, dried cranberries, cashews and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.


For dressing: Squeeze the juice of one lemon (1/2 C.) and pour into food processor or blender. Add honey, onion, dijon mustard, poppy seeds, and olive oil. Pulse until well blended.


Bacon and Spinach Quiche


1 pastry piecrust

½ cup onion, chopped

6 slices bacon, chopped

8 eggs, beaten

½ cup sour cream

½ cup half and half, light cream, or milk

¼ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground white pepper

dash of nutmeg (optional)

3 cups lightly packed chopped fresh spinach

2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup shredded Swiss cheese

cherry tomatoes, chopped (optional)


Prepare and roll out pastry piecrust. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry. Trim: crimp edges as desired. Line the un-pricked pastry shell with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 5 more minutes, or until pastry is set and dry. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.


Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook onion and bacon until onion is tender and bacon is crisp. Drain on paper towels.


In a bowl stir together eggs, sour cream, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and, if desired, nutmeg. Stir in onion mixture, spinach and cheeses.


Pour egg mixture into the hot, baked pastry shell. Bake in the 325 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with cherry tomatoes.



Cream Cheese Sausage Balls


1 lb mild sausage, uncooked

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup Bisquick

4 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

With your hands or a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together all ingredients until well combined. Roll into 1-inch balls. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until brown. Drain on paper towels and serve.

Sausage balls may be frozen uncooked.  If baking frozen, add a few minutes to the baking time.


Holiday Russian Tea Mix
1 lb. 2 oz. container of Tang (or any orange-flavored drink mix)
2 oz. instant tea with lemon
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. allspice
2 tsp. cinnamon


Mix together all ingredients and store in an airtight jar or container. To make tea, use 3 tsp. mix per 6 oz. cup of hot water.