Tag Archives: cheeseball

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Decoration Clusterf*#%

Every year, I struggle to get my Christmas decorations up.  Mostly because there’s always SO MUCH Halloween stuff that has to get taken down, organized, and packed up first.  At least that’s what I tell myself, as the weeks tick by, and my Halloween decorations just sort of drift into piles upon various surfaces.  “I am not just throwing stuff into boxes this year,” I’ll say, completely convinced of my new-found organization skills.  “This year I’m going to get this stuff ORGANIZED so it’s not such a clusterfuck and I won’t have to hate myself next year for being a lazy asshole!”  Inevitably, though, as Christmas gets closer, Lazy Asshole indeed makes an appearance, and brings down alllll the boxes marked “XMAS” from the attic, tears them open in a flurry of tissue paper and excitement, and then quickly runs out of steam. Consequently, the house becomes completely overrun by half-empty boxes of both Christmas and Halloween decorations, old newspaper, and bubble wrap, until approximately New Year’s, because the mess is so overwhelming I don’t even know where to start, so I just don’t.

Even that SENTENCE was a clusterfuck.

I do this every single year, exactly the same way, and yet somehow I’m always surprised when it happens again.

Looks nice, right?

December 2014: The Holiday Spirit Awakens

But zoom out a little, and…

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Oooohh, nooooo…

One year, I tell myself, I’ll finally embrace this and throw a Nightmare Before Christmas cocktail party.  But it wouldn’t be just Jack Skellington everywhere, although duh he’d be in there a little bit.  What I’m picturing is all the cheesy good times of an ugly sweater Christmas party with a healthy dose of creepy camp.  A little bit Buddy the Elf, a little Marley’s ghost.  I never seem to have the capital or the motivation to do so (which doesn’t stop me from building it a huuuuuge board on Pinterest and generally fantasizing about it), but how about I detail it out, and one of you out there in the Great Big Internet can do it, and then show me pictures and tell me about it and I’ll just live vicariously through you? Cool thanks, here’s what you’ll be doing:

A Nightmare Before Christmas Cocktail Party


Part One: The Playlist

A great party playlist should work like a great movie score: it’s just in the background, guiding your emotions in the intended direction, and only occasionally do you really notice a particular song, just enough to be like, “ha! This song is awesome. Nice.” For our Nightmare Before Xmas Cocktail Party, follow this basic recipe:

  • The soundtrack from the claymation classic of the same name is a no-brainer, but mix it up a little by using fun covers of selected tracks.
  • Dump a hearty amount of Danny Elfman in there.
  • Throw in a little cheese factor.  The theme’s juxtaposition of merry and macabre is already kinda silly, so own it.
  • Don’t skimp on the classics, but keep the Xmas ones bouncy and fun.  Just hearing timeless Christmas tunes and old Halloween standbys next to each other will be amusing.
  • Stir in a few standard-issue jams to keep the party mood going.
  • Add some old-timey songs with a subtle creepy vibe.

Here’s a few suggestions.  Click the song title to listen to it on Youtube.

  1. I Sure Hope I Don’t Have to Beat Your Ass This Christmas Master Shake of Aqua Teen Hungerforce
  2. Blue Christmas Elvis Presley
  3. The Killer Storm (The Omen sdtrk) Jerry Goldsmith
  4. Island of Misfit Toys/The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Glee Cast
  5. Birth of a Penguin (Batman Returns sdtrk) Danny Elfman
  6. I Party Far East Movement
  7. All I Want For Christmas Is You My Chemical Romance
  8. Kidnap the Sandy Claws (Nightmare Revisited) Korn
  9. A Cold, Cold Christmas Stephen Colbert
  10. A Marshmallow World Dean Martin
  11. If I Didn’t Care (Bioshock) The Ink Spots
  12. Somewhere in My Memory (Home Alone sdtrk) John Williams
  13. Gremlins Theme Danny Elfman
  14. What’s a Girl To Do? Bat For Lashes
  15. The Christmas Waltz Kristin Chenoweth
  16. Jingle Balls Deep Master Shake of Aqua Teen Hungerforce
  17. Sugar Plum Fairy Remix The Groove Gallery
  18. Halloween Aqua
  19. The Batty Bat The Count of Sesame Street
  20. My Chick Bad Ludacris featuring Nicki Minaj
  21. Someday at Christmas The Jackson Five
  22. The Ice Dance (Edward Scissorhands sdtrk) Danny Elfman
  23. Puttin’ On The Ritz Shiny Toy Guns
  24. Deatheater Dubstep John Williams/Terabyte Frenzy
  25. Baby It’s Cold Outside (Elf sdtrk) Leon Redone and Zooey Deschanel (or this more blunt version, at which I literally LOL’d)
  26. The Mooche Duke Ellington
  27. Re: Your Brains Jonathan Coulton
  28. Don’t Stop Me Now! Queen
  29. Nutmeg (A Very Colbert Christmas) John Legend (also here’s an amazing chipmunk remix)
  30. Living Dolls Nox Arcana
  31. Death of Sirius (Harry Potter sdtrk) Nicholas Hooper
  32. One Little Christmas Tree Stevie Wonder
  33. Trick or Treat Eat My Pumpkin
  34. Another Christmas Song Stephen Colbert
  35. What’s This? Danny Elfman
  36. Pennies From Heaven Louis Prima
  37. Ding Dong Mmkay (South Park) Mr. Mackey
  38. It’s An Addams! (Addams Family Values sdtrk) Marc Shaiman
  39. The Headless Horseman Thurl Ravenscroft
  40. A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (The Great Gatsby sdtrk) Fergie, Q-Tip, & GoonRock
  41. I Hate Christmas Oscar the Grouch of Sesame Street
  42. This Is Halloween Marilyn Manson
  43. Witchcraft Frank Sinatra
  44. In Noctem (Harry Potter sdtrk) Nicholas Hooper
  45. We Can’t Stop Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox
  46. Science Fiction Double Feature Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
  47. Funky, Funky Xmas New Kids On The Block
  48. Twisted Nerve Main Theme (Kill Bill sdtrk) Bernard Herrman
  49. Christmastime Is Here Straight No Chaser
  50. Making Christmas Rise Against
  51. Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead Ella Fitzgerald
  52. Dick in a Box The Lonely Island
  53. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Main Titles Mavis Staples
  54. The Boogie Man (Bioshock) Todd Rollins
  55. Cool Yule Louis Armstrong
  56. Ghostbusters New Found Glory
  57. Welcome Christmas (How The Grinch Stole Christmas sdtrk) Albert Hague
  58. Christmas Night of Zombies MxPx
  59. Santa’s Beard The Beach Boys
  60. Carol of the Bells Thrice
  61. Christmastime In Hell (South Park) Satan
  62. Finale/Reprise (Nightmare Revisited) Shiny Toy Guns

This list would also make a pretty decent power hour (+2 I guess), if you’re into that kind of thing.


Part Two: The Menu

Unless you’re having an actual dinner party, where each guest definitely has a chair for their butt and a table for their plate, stick to finger foods.  It’s easier on you and your guests, and it encourages mingling.  You can’t walk and talk while using silverware successfully, and it’s always awkward eating off a plate that you’re balancing on your lap.  Don’t make it awkward, make it easy.

I’ve always imagined the décor/general vibe of this party riding the coattails of Edward Scissorhands’ set design, i.e., contrasting the loud, summery pastels of the Christmas decorations of a Californian suburb circa 1960 with the darkly beautiful Edward and his neglected gothic mansion.  I firmly believe that it would be cute if the menu captured a little bit of that gelatin-mold,- weenies-on-sticks,- marshmallow-fluff magic of that era, but without actually making anyone eat that crazy nonsense.

  •  Rachel Ray is trying to bring back the cheeseball, and for this party especially, I fully support that.  Click on the pics to get the recipes.
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Everything Bagel Cheese Ball

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Pretty Parsley Cheese Ball …to go the extra mile, smush it into a pine tree or wreath shape, and decorate it with minced bell peppers and cherry tomatoes

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Snowman Cheese Ball

  • What says ‘swanky cocktail party’ like shrimp cocktail in martini glasses? Nothing, that’s what.  Save yourself a ton of $$ and clean-up by using plastic martini glasses.  Add a little Delia Deetz flair by swirling black & white ribbon stripes up the stem, or simply serving them with black & white striped napkins.
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I like how this one includes ice and also allows the sauce to be optional.

  • I make the following cocktail meatballs for like, everything and there are never, ever, ever, ever, any left over.  Ever.  No matter how many I make.  The recipe is below.  Use homemade meatballs if possible, it’ll taste better, but frozen ones will be just fine.  Just try to find frozen meatballs without fennel in them.  The fennel…doesn’t go with the other flavors, in my opinion.
    • Ingredients: 1 1/2 jars grape jelly, 3 bottles Heinz cocktail sauce, approx 20-30 meatballs, crockpot
    • Turn on crockpot to high, add jelly.  Allow to melt, stir occasionally until smooth.
    • Add cocktail sauce, stir.
    • Add meatballs, stir together until sauce coats all the balls.  Heh heh.
    • Let simmer for about hour before serving, then turn down to low.  Always check to make sure they are hot through to the center before serving.
    • Put plates and toothpicks nearby, watch them all disappear.  That’s it.  Sooooo easy.
  • It wouldn’t be the holidays without sugar!  Go the quick and dirty route by piling up your platters with Little Debbie-type desserts, like Snowballs, Cosmic Brownie Trees, Ding-Dongs, Ho-Hos, Twinkies…you get the picture.  If you throw in one cool centerpiece dessert, like this Graham Cracker Haunted House:
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How awesome is this??

or these Jack Skellington Cake Pops:

jackskellingtonpops

HOW FREAKING CUTE ARE THESE like whaaaat

everyone will be awed by that, and suddenly the Little Debbies will be seen as kitschy and cute, instead of cheap.  It’s like when an asshole surrounds themselves with less attractive individuals in order to appear more attractive by comparison, but… kind of the opposite?  Like the pretty thing makes the ugly things prettier, just by being around it…  This is not a strong metaphor.

  • Always, always, always have ginormous platters of veggies and fruits.  For some of your guests, this may be the only thing they can eat, whether due to choice or chance, so make sure you have enough to go around with that in mind.  Keep dips on the side, too; if there’s ranch dressing all over every vegetable, that might mean not getting to eat anything at all for some people, so be conscious of dietary restrictions.  If you’re a Martha-in-the-making, feel free to go crazy with your veggie displays:
Veggie-Christmas-Tree

3D Veggie Tray Xmas Tree (you could sub out the cheese shapes for yellow and orange bell pepper shapes, if desired)

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An even fancier 3D Veggie Xmas Tree


We’ll crush Parts 3 and 4, Cocktails and DIY Decor respectively, in later posts.  I did not realize when I started this post just how long it would take to link all those songs.  Oof. What say you so far, People of the Internet?  Anyone out there already done something like this? Any tips?  Any tips you got?  Share them below!

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SGT Lincoln Osiris thanks you for reading.

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