I love sending Christmas cards every year — it’s the perfect time to pen a simple note to the people I care about, many of whom live far away. But all too often the act of sending cards can be fraught with stress (yet another thing to check off the do list during this busy season!) So this year, I decided to turn it into an occasion to remember by organizing a “holiday card addressing party” for a small group of gal pals. We gathered at Jenn Rose’s modern loft, decked it out with our favorite Crate and Barrel holiday décor and entertaining pieces, and sipped Moscow Mules while we checked off all the names on our holiday card recipient list. We followed it up at the dining table with cozy bowls of soup, a refreshing wintry salad, and lots of laughter as the afternoon faded into early evening. Tackling a major item on my holiday to-do list while squeezing in some quality time with my favorite girls? I call that multitasking at its finest, and there’s no doubt I’ll be making this one a new annual holiday tradition!

photography by Kate LeSueur

*This post was created in collaboration with Crate and Barrel — all opinions are my own.


It always amazes me how just a few simple touches of greenery can instantly create a festive holiday vibe. I dressed the table with Crate and Barrel’s long needle pine garland for a simple, rustic touch.

I used the silva oval platter as the base for my envelope addressing station which included different color pens, decorative stamps, and an exemplar calligraphy guide from Antiquaria.

There’s a beautiful antique mirror that hangs in Jenn Rose’s entry hall, which we decked with a simple garland and a few gold ornaments:

Egg Ornaments
Vintage Drop Ornaments
Winter White Champagne Glitter Ribbon Drop Ornament


I prepared an easy drink station on the buffet showcasing one of my favorite holiday cocktails — the Moscow Mule. A self-serve bar makes it easy for guests to help themselves to seconds, and it frees me from playing bartender throughout the party!

Guests began to arrive with holiday cards in hand…

Anne had her work cut out for her this year!

Jessi and Jenn Rose helped themselves to the bar, mixing together their own Moscow Mules. I love this seasonal drink made with ginger beer — it’s got a kick of spice, and only a handful of simple ingredients.

See the recipe for The Moscow Mule here.

Part of the fun of Moscow Mules is the tradition of serving them in chilled copper mugs, like these Crate and Barrel Moscow Mule Mugs: a new holiday essential! I filled the matching copper legend pitcher with ice on the dark feast platter to create my drink station.

The girls were ready to try their hand addressing envelopes using the calligraphy exemplar as their guide.

pictured:

Egg Ornaments
Vintage Drop Ornaments
Winter White Champagne Glitter Ribbon Drop Ornament


We gathered around the coffee table, envelopes in hand, ready to try out the various specialty pens I purchased for the party. Make sure to have a few different widths on hand (extra-fine, fine, and medium), in both light colors like white and silver, and dark colors like black and navy.

Mia tried out a white pen on her black envelope…

… and I addressed my red ones with silver and gold.

Guests snacked on caramel popcorn in the silva serving bowl as we made our way through the pile of cards. For a party where you and your guests are accomplishing a task together, make sure you remember to infuse it with the three keys to fun: snacky food, boozy drinks, and great music!

In an era when almost all of our daily communication is digital it was really interesting — and surprising — to see each others’ penmanship. And it was a fun opportunity to practice my own!

Time flies when you’re having fun. This may have been the first year I’ve ever wished I had a few more cards to address!

We filled the fireplace with decorative wooden pine cones in three sizes from Crate and Barrel for a cozy feel. It’s a great alternative to a blazing fire – especially since temps are still hitting the high 80’s here in Austin.

I love letting guests help with the party soundtrack, whether it’s cueing up their favorite Spotify list, or in this case, Chanel trying out a few of Jenn Rose’s holiday albums.

Favorites included Bing Crosby, Jimi Hendrix, and Dale Watson. An eclectic mix always makes for a fun party vibe!

I couldn’t wait to serve lunch, and this soup is perfect for a cozy winter get-together.

See the recipe for Camille’s Kale, White Bean & Squash Minestrone here.

 


I ladled the soup from the studio dark clay tureen into lovely clay soup bowls with handles. For a homey lunch like this, dishes with a handmade rustic look feel so right.

To go with our comforting bowls of soup, I made garlic parmesan toasts for dipping. To make the toasts, slice a baguette into 1/2″ think slices. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake toasts at 375 degrees for 7  minutes, until lightly golden. Remove the pan from the oven and rub a cut clove of garlic over each toast, then sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Bake for another 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden in color.


Each place setting included a mateo dinner plate, regal beer glass, and hidalgo napkin. I love these versatile pieces for an unexpected holiday color palette, and they’ll be equally as beautiful on a fresh dinner party table in the new year.

Mia helps herself to salad served in the studio dark clay serving bowl with the antuco two piece serving set.

See the recipe for Apple, Pomegranate, and Goat Cheese Salad here.

 


The hidalgo runner added a nice pop of color to our festive holiday table. I love it’s folkloric vibe, and can’t wait to try it on a totally different tabletop look with other bold shades and mismatched patterns.

We toasted to getting a big holiday task crossed off our list, and having fun doing it. See you at the post office… and happy holidays!

15 comments
  1. 1
    Vanessa @ Living in Steil | November 24, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    This is such a great idea – and looks like it will be a nice tradition! I love how everything was decorated and the Moscow Mules sounds like a perfect drink for the occasion.

    http://www.livinginsteil.com

    Reply
  2. 2
    Cara Greenstein | November 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    I love this gathering concept! Jessi, you look stunning in the shot with your Moscow mule.

    Reply
    • Jessi Afshin | November 25, 2014 at 6:36 am

      Daw! Thanks Cara 🙂 Hope to see you soon!

      Reply
  3. 3
    Jen Sullivan | November 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    what a lovely idea! You’re always the cutest, Camille!!

    Reply
  4. 4
    Brittany | November 24, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    This is such an amazing idea that will definitely make for a lovely tradition! Looks + sounds perfect 🙂

    Reply
  5. 5
    kristen | November 24, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Love the dining table…mind sharing where its from and the name? Thanks

    Reply
  6. 6
    frenchgardenhouse | November 25, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Such a wonderful reason to get together with friends. Always love your ideas and style, Camille. This would be a wonderful yearly tradition for combining a “to do” with quality “friend” time.

    Reply
  7. 7
    Jessica | December 2, 2014 at 6:59 am

    Addressing with silver on red … so lovely!! Just found myself a starter calligraphy pen kit, it seriously took my letter writing to the next level. Can’t wait to address!!

    Reply
  8. 8
    Bobbie | December 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Writing mail with friends is a party in itself, I my book! This is wonderful!

    Reply
  9. 9
    Faith Hill | December 3, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Writing mail with friends is a party in itself, I my book! This is wonderful!

    Reply
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