I love Christmas. It’s my second favourite time of year. Mainly because it’s the one time of year that people hang with family (whether by choice or not). London empties out because everyone heads home for the holidays. I got a seat on the Northern line before 9 this morning – Northern line residents will understand how incredible this is north of Balham and south of High Barnet. So, when it came to planning a pre dispersal gathering with my friends, it was easy to settle on a wine and cheese evening in.
What did it involve?
I love hosting friends. You only need to read about my gourmet burger evening and joy givers to get a picture of how much. I invited about 10 people including my housemates and asked them to bring some wine, cheese or both and wear their christmas jumpers. I meant to post out these awesome invitations I made (image above was the front of the invitation cards) but I kept forgetting to take them with me to the post office and eventually sent pictures to my friends on WhatsApp.
I turned the evening into a bit of a game. We had 13 cheeses in total (a couple were duplicated because Red Leicester and Wensleydale are clearly favourites) and 5 wines that needed to be guessed. I put out the cheese on platters with numbers next to them and everyone was free to sample them in any order that they liked then write down what they thought each one was. I had a “pour order” for the wines and wrote out the names next to the cheese and all they needed to do was identify which wines had been given to them from the list. 10 points were given for each correct wine, bonus points if they got the year right (omitted in the written list). 4 points were given for each correct cheese + strength. Points were docked if they missed the strength (e.g. forgetting to put mature) and the fruit (e.g. not realising there were apricot and cranberry in the Wensleydales).
Everyone turned up in Christmas jumpers and a few guests brought additional things like cakes & a wonderfully sumptuous looking camembert dipping dish to share. I also had my secret santa gift from my first football christmas party available for re-gifting as the winner’s prize (keeping it frugal) to motivate people to take it seriously. Unfortunately my girlfriend seems to be a terrific guesser, but everyone commented profusely on how much fun they had.
How much did it cost me then?
- Platter of 5 British cheeses (on sale at Asda) – £5
- Double gloucester with onion & chives cheese – £1.50
- Grapes – £2
- Jacob’s festive selection Christmas crackers – £3
- Jacob’s crackers – £0.75
- Red wine for the tasting + Rose for the girlfriend – £10.05
- Invitations from Vista Print – £12.24
That’s a grand total of £35.05! To have 10 people over and have a wonderfully loud, awesome, Christmas-y time together. Every evening I was out in Edinburgh last week, I spent at least £45 (for two). This is definitely be an evening to be repeated.