Carla Hall's Care-Free Party Ideas

Oh, how time flies. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since the beginning of Carla’s Corner. Similar to last year, I had the great opportunity to join Hoda and Kathie Lee on The Today Show to talk about last-minute preparations for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Elizabeth Mayhew from Women’s Day magazine also joined us with her beautifully decorated tables. Check out the video and the recipes to get inspired with joy and ease. After all, even though we know New Year’s Eve is coming right after December 25, it seems to sneak up on us every year. It never hurts to have a couple of cheap, cheerful and easy-peasy ideas in our back pockets.

This year I focused not only on care-free party ideas for the last minute party giver, but I also included a few ideas for the kids. It’s never too late to get the kids involved in planning their own parties, so make it a family affair. Check out Elizabeth’s three very distinctly different tables where she shares lots of easy and creative ideas for every budget and palate.

ALCOHOLIC
Holiday Party Punch
Makes 16 cups
12 ounces Banks 5 Island Rum
12 ounces PAMA liqueur
1 liter cranberry juice
8 ounces orange juice
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
Ice
2 liter ginger ale, chilled
Citrus slices for garnish

In large container, combine spirits and juices, but not ginger ale. Chill.

Just before serving, pour into a large punch bowl. Add ice and gently stir in chilled ginger ale. Garnish by floating orange, lemon and lime slices on top.

NON-ALCOHOLIC
Holiday Party Punch without the Punch
1/2 liter fresh pomegranate juice
1 liter cranberry juice
8 ounces orange juice
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
Ice
2 liters ginger ale

In a large container, combine all ingredients except ginger ale; chill. Pour into large punch bowl, add ice and stir; add ginger ale and garnish with fruit.

ALCOHOLIC
Spiced Chocolate
1 ounce Patron XO Café
1 1/2 ounces Patron Reposado
3/4 ounce dark chocolate liqueur
1/2 ounce heavy cream
3 pinches of crushed red pepper

Build ingredients except heavy cream; shake and strain into a glass. Shake heavy cream and layer the top of the cocktail with the fresh whipped cream. Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes.

I wish you all a very happy New Year filled with joy, love, family and great food. Until next time ...

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