Plan a dessert night for the holidays

One of the best (and maybe the worst) aspects of the holiday season is all of the get-togethers. From family and friends to colleagues, there are plenty of parties to encourage the holiday spirit and ring in the new year.

Cocktail parties? Check!

Dinner parties? Check!

Maybe even a dance party? Check!

Why not try something different this holiday season? Let's face it: When December rolls around, it really is all about the sweets, so consider planning a party centered around the best part of the meal -- dessert! It's a fun way to get a group together without a huge expense or time commitment. With this party, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Sarah on "saving room for dessert":

I LOVE dessert. I can't think of a better way to get together with friends than by having a dessert party. It's a perfect way to dodge the guilt and dig right in. Plus, everyone seems to have a favorite recipe, so it's a fun way to learn more about your guests.

Alicia on "putting the fun back in":

I'm not a celebrated cook, but I love parties, and one of my favorite ways to host people is by having a dessert party. It takes the pressure off me by not having to prepare an entire dinner and everyone brings along a favorite dessert, so it's easy. I love that you don't need a truckload of china to set the table and everyone always has a great time. There's something about sweets that makes people really open up and enjoy themselves.

Here are three tips to making your dessert night a sweet success:

1. Pick a Theme. Everybody loves a theme and there are so many fun ways to incorporate a theme into dessert night. Make it an all-chocolate buffet or have everyone bring a favorite ethnic treat for an around-the-world experience. Whatever you decide, make sure all of the guests know their assignments.

2. Don't Forget the Drinks. Whether you want cold milk to wash down the cookies, coffee or even dessert wine, make sure that you have a selection of beverages to accompany the desserts.

3. Doggie Bags. Buy some take-out containers so you can send guests home with a sweet reminder of all of the fun. It's a great way to keep the fun going and a perfect way to get the remaining desserts out of your house.

(The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send ideas and questions to yourlife(at)getbuttonedup.com. For more columns, go to scrippsnews.com.)

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