Annual AmericaNepali Christmas Party

You can read about last year’s party HERE.

Saturday night P and I pulled off our 4th annual Christmas party, and although the prep was a bit exhausting, I think it was one of our best! In total there were 32 people in our apartment, some of whom didn’t leave until nearly 2am! :)

The general structure for our party starts with wild cookie baking the night or two before the actual event. I always get over zealous in the cookie making department, and generally fall a bit short of my ultimate cookie goal, but this year I think we did a pretty good job. Out of the 10 batches of cookies I hoped to make, we finished 9, and without realizing it each of the 9 cookies hit a different flavor—we had lemon, coconut, chocolate peppermint, raspberry jam, cinnamon, peanut butter, Irish soda bread, orange cranberry, and ginger molasses!

My "Cinammon Polar Bear" Cookies.... one of the 9 types made for the party

On Saturday the party started around 7 with a round of appetizers and drinks. I debated  up until the last minute  (literally 6 hours before the event when we finally went grocery shopping), whether to have Nepali or American food. In the past my middle sister K has attended and she would bake the Turkey while I would make a Thanksgiving style meal, but the past two years she hasn’t been able to come. Last year I fell back on our old staples of Nepali food because it is so much easier to cook South Asian food in bulk. Yet since the party was in honor of the American side of our household I really wanted to make American food.

Alas, we eventually we settled on a combo–American appetizers: raw veggies and dip, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers; some American entrées: Roasted veggies with garlic and rosemary, sautéed brussel sprouts; some Nepali entrées: two types of chicken curry (drumsticks and chopped meat), cauliflower curry, rice, and kwanti (bean soup); and a random entrée: a recipe inspired by AS—ham, feta and orzo salad. Lastly the dessert was purely American—9 different types of Christmas cookies!

Our Irish friend brought “Christmas crackers” for everyone. Crackers are a tradition in Ireland and England, and they were a great idea for the party. The crackers look a bit like empty toilet paper tubes wrapped in shiny paper. Inside the tubes are paper crowns, silly novelty items, and jokes. You pull the cracker with a friend, with one person holding one end of the wrapping, and the other holding the opposite. When you both pull, the cracker makes a “pop” noise and the gifts fall out. For the rest of the night most of our guests were wearing colorful paper crowns which definitely added to the festivity of the evening!

The next phase of the party was “Yankee Swap.” I think this game can be played by a variety of rules and can go by different names (“White Elephant” is one) but the way we generally play is that people buy a gift that’s usually around $5—the gifts can be humorous and silly, or they can be regular gifts. I write out numbers on little slips of paper for everyone participating and people pull the numbers ouf of a hat so the distribution is random. All the wrapped gifts are put under the Christmas tree before we start. The first person to go can choose any gift from the tree and unwraps it. The second person to go does the same, but has the option to swap with person 1 if they choose. The third person then goes and so on, with each person successively able to swap their gift with anything else that has already been opened (so it is better to get a higher number rather than lower with the exception of person 1). Depending on the gifts available, sometimes a person might wind up with several different gifts due to swapping, but ultimately ends up with one. The last person to go is “number 1” and they can choose to swap any gift from all that have been opened in the entire game.

The group was split this year, with several people giving silly gifts—an orgasmic sound making bottle opener, an “over the hill” themed piggy bank, a candy bra, etc– and many giving more “regular” gifts like tea, coffee mugs, chocolates, etc. The most famous gift of the night was the candy bra, which was swapped around a few times to the cheers of “Candy bra! Candy bra!” Merry Christmas, eh?

The remainder of the night was filled with eating, and more eating, and even more eating, as well as lots of drinking, conversation, Christmas carols and fun.

So whether or not you celebrate the holidays, we wish you season’s greetings from AmericaNepali and a Happy New Year!

PS- anyone have a good Christmas cookie recipe? Wanna swap recipes?

14 responses to “Annual AmericaNepali Christmas Party

  1. I have a humorous Christmas party story. A couple years ago had a “White Trash Christmas” Party because she lived in South Philly in a…well you get the picture. We also had a White Trash Swap with people giving White Trash-esque gifts. Some of the favorites were crackers and a can of Easy Cheez, a Dollar Store Pregnancy Test, a case of Milwaukee’s Best and I have to say I was quite proud of my gift: An ensemble of all the half used bottles of Bath and Body Works products my roommate and I had collected from years past.

    I walked away with the pregnancy test….

  2. I like your cookies, don’t do much baking so sorry, no recs here. Merry Christmas!

  3. I made these yesterday and highly recommend them:
    Also check out another recipe on the same site for heath bar cookies. They are my favourite.

  4. How does one make soda bread cookies? I won’t be in Ireland for Christmas so I would love to try making these. As for the crackers, I had no idea until a couple of years ago that you don’t have them in the US. I brought them to an American friend’s house and they thought they were the best thing ever – this year my Christmas present to them was some crackers for their tree.

    • Irish Soda Bread Cookies:
      The crackers were really fun… believe it or not I had to show my driver’s liscene on behalf of my friend (since he doesn’t have an American ID) so that he could buy them. You had to be 18 or over because of the “popping” — the store considered them dangerous. He thought it was the most ridiculious thing ever! :)

  5. Try as I might, I can’t get A to ask for anything but chocolate chip cookies! I asked him what dessert (American or Indian) he wanted to designate as our “family” Diwali tradition, and he said chocolate chip. Our “wedding cake” for our registered marriage was chocolate chip cookies. And now I ask him what kinds of Christmas cookies he wants me to make? You guessed it.

    I at least insist on adding red and green M&Ms to the top of the chocolate chip cookies to make them more Christmas-y. I’m going to make the dough at Ma’s tonight and then take it to Masi’s to bake (which excited CousinV, who is like a ten-years-younger clone of A). Later this week, I’ll do buckeyes (I think it’s primarily an Ohio thing, but it’s balls of peanut butter, butter, and sugar, dipped in melted chocolate — J&L brought some when they came for the wedding, and it was reasonably popular, and I haven’t made them in years), a new cake recipe, and maybe cut-out sugar cookies if some of the cousins want to help decorate.

  6. Pingback: Being an Indian wife is coming way too easily now… « A little of that, too

  7. look at you such the baker!
    rabindra doesnt really like sweet food and neither do most of his friends so i normally have to serve salty things, chicken wings etc. if i baked it would pretty much just be me eating it which is seriously bad!!
    i can’t wait till i have kids so i can bake things like cupcakes and have someone to eat them with

    • A lot of my Nepali friends aren’t into “sweet” things either– particularly sweet chocolate things… I never get to make brownies! But I’ve slowly won them over on a few things, like Apple Crisp, macaroons, and a few kinds of plainer cookies :)

  8. M isn’t too taken with the idea of soda break cookies and reckons I should learn how to make stollen. Only problem is we have an oven that has two settings, hotter and even hotter. If we get a proper oven I might see if his mum will share her special Sparklydatepalm-marzipan-free stollen recipe (yes, it gets made especially for me as I hate marzipan) and experiment in time for next Christmas.

    • You should try the soda cookies at some point. They are really good, especially with a cup of tea since they are a bit soft-scone-like. If M is a tea drinker, he might like them if he gives them a shot :) I had a few for breakfast!

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