Nutcracker Dinner Party
Creamy Broccoli Soup
English Mincemeat Pie
Grand Marnier Grapes (to garnish dessert plates)
A collection of Santa’s, angels, nutcrackers, or snowmen make an easy centerpiece. Cluster your collections by color, size, or shape to heighten visual impact. Lining luminaries up your front steps always creates a welcoming glow too. After dinner, serve dessert in front of the Christmas tree and have someone read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. If possible, read by Christmas tree lights for added atmosphere.
Nut wreaths are a labor of love as you must gather the nuts, pinecones, seeds, and plant pods from your yard or the countryside all year long. Mother Nature is tops at designing, but you can repackage her handiwork into a beautiful, stately holiday wreath.
Here’s What You Need:
- Wooden wreath, 16-inch diameter donut shape cut from 1/4-inch plywood with the inside band having a 3 1/2-inch width
- Brown stain or brown spray paint
- Round brass picture hanger
- Hot glue or Elmer’s glue
- Orange shellac
- Nuts, pine cones, seeds, pods, acorns, etc.
English walnuts, hickory nuts, all kinds of pinecones, peach seeds, sweet gum balls, magnolia seedpods, acorns, and pecans are a few of the variety of nuts you can use. Baking the nuts in a 200 oven for about three hours will kill any insects.
Here’s What To Do:
- Stain or paint the plywood wreath on both sides. Nail the brass picture hanger at the top edge of the wreath to use for hanging later.
- Next glue the bigger nuts and cones and continue until the wreath is covered. If you use a hot glue gun, there is no drying time. With Elmer’s glue, let the glue dry as you work in order to keep building up the nuts. Plywood offers a sturdy base to hold the weight of the nuts.
- Shellac the wreath with three coats, allowing one day’s drying time between each coat. Spread lots of newspaper on your garage or basement floor, and then put four or five Styrofoam cups in a circle to place each wreath. This technique allows the excess shellac to drip off. Each coat of shellac improves the appearance, but the third one does the trick. The orange shellac is the key to the beauty of these wreaths.
- After the wreaths have thoroughly dried, the backside can be left plain or covered with red or green felt. These wreaths can hang on a front door or window or over a fireplace in your den, or try them as a centerpiece with candles and fresh greenery. Making a nut wreath requires a bit of time and effort but it can be a lasting treasure for many years.
Love this Nutcracker Dinner Party? Head over here to find greeting cards with this tablescape and a recipe on back! Charming gift for your favorite hostess!
Photography: Lynn Ruck (Raleigh, NC)