Steven had a turkey. I realize to most of you readers out there that this is not a line you would expect to intro any blog post, and normally not a reason to cook an entire Christmas Day spread in the month of July. But, hey, as I said, Steven had a turkey.
For some perspective on the group of friends we have, most of us are from families who do theatre, we do community theatre or majored in theatre ourselves, or we have a love of theatre and all things having to do with the stage or film. This being said it means we live for love a good party, theme and costume, not necessarily in that order.
While Jeff was grilling during the 4th of July, Courtnei asked me if I was still planning to do something for Christmas in July like I had mentioned to her at the first of the year. Earlier in January, New Years’ Day in fact, Hobby Lobby had their Christmas items 90% off and Jeff and I talked about doing a party in July since we don’t normally do one at Christmas. We weren’t sure if we would end up actually having one, but for $20 we got bags of red, green and white decorations just in case. I knew I would end up using the glass ornaments as holiday crafts for Jacs if we didn’t have a party so it was a win either way.
The reason we needed extra stuff for Christmas in July is my Christmas décor is very neutral in champagnes, gold and brown. If we were going to do a GrisRawls holiday party then we had to bring some traditional colors up in here. Also my lights are the traditional white lights so we needed some good ole red C9s to really get the GrisRawls feel. It was like the dollar store and Hobby Lobby had a beautiful baby, I was throwing $1, $0.50 and $0.10 things in my cart like mad. What a great way to start off the New Year, cheap shopping heaven. It was also good to have the CIJ stuff separate from our regular Christmas stuff so all we had to do was get down one box from the attic versus all of our boxes and sift through the things we would use in July.
Back to July 4th where I answered Courtnei that we just couldn’t afford to do a whole party due to some extra household expenses (the joys of being a homeowner) that had occurred, but we would definitely do it the next year. Love my friends and how we all pitch in together because as soon as Marissa heard this, she and Courtnei immediately stated that we didn’t have to foot the whole bill, “let’s all just pitch in and everyone bring food and beverages and we can still decorate and have a blast”. “Yea,” said Steven, “and I even have a turkey.” Once Marissa heard that, it was on! Skimpy old cocktail party food was out the window and we had planned a holiday feast that would make Martha give her best golf clap.
Jeff’s favorite Christmas movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation so that was the feature for the evening. If you’ve seen it before, then you know Clark and his love of all things family and going all out for Christmas so you can imagine he’s pretty ok in our book. Keeping with Clark’s love of Christmas, we couldn’t do CIJ without trimming the tree. Courtnei and Shannon came over earlier in the week and we gave it our best GrisRawls shot by decorating with the red C9s and 800,000 glass balls. Jacs had fun helping Courtnei put the hooks aka paperclips on the ornaments. I forgot to get actual hooks for them and you couldn’t even see the paperclips with the lights on, but it still felt fun to have that little nod to Cousin Eddie.
Fortunately for us, Jacs is used to decorating every month for DMNs so us telling her this was us being silly for our Christmas in July party worked fine. We all had a great time trimming the CIJ tree while listening to Christmas music, thank you Pandora. If Tony’s had had their Eggnog Daiquiris, a suggestion I am telling them for next year, we would have been in heaven.
For the décor we knew we had to ham it up so I used a green dollar store tablecloth and used green and red cutlery and plates. I even mod-podged my green dollar store wine glasses with red napkins, like DMN: The Lion King, to be festive. Jeff loves Christmas Vacation so much that the first Christmas we were married I got him the moose cups Clark and Eddie drink their eggnog with for our first Christmas decorating together. I used those on the table and had some red and green M&Ms left from Jacs and my Christmas crafts (they expire in September so they were still kosher) so I set them out in dollar store bowls. I also had some Christmas buttons from the Hobby Lobby clearance so I hot glued those to some ear hooks and made the girls some Christmas earrings. Cheesy but super fun and that is what CIJ is all about.
During our DMNs I always have a craft for Jacs and CIJ was no exception. While pinning things on Pinterest for Jacs Frozen 3rd birthday party, I came across this one for Frozen snow and had to do it. I took Epsom salt and put it in the freezer that morning and when it came time for the party it was ready for the craft. I poured it in a pan with dollar store glitter and put some Frozen trinkets she had and some blue heart gems for Anna’s frozen hearts. It was a bit messy as she is 2 but she had a great time with it and it really did look like snow. We will definitely do it again.
The morning of Friday the 25th Marissa came over and we started cooking. She got the turkey trussed an and in the oven. While the turkey was cooking she prepared the dressing and once that was ready to go I started the pumpkin dump cake and made Jell-O shots. You regular followers of dollarstoredisney.com will know that I love me a themed Jell-O shot, if you haven’t read the blog before then you might check out DMN: Toy Story and DMN: The Princess and the Frog. While the Jell-O shots were setting in the fridge, I prepped the pumpkin part of the dump cake and got that in the fridge as well. I knew the turkey was going to be in the oven up until time for it to rest and then we had to cook the dressing while the turkey was resting, so I made the green bean casserole in the crock pot. It worked perfectly (on High) and even crisped up the French fried onions on top. It had to cook longer than it would have in the oven but I’m definitely doing that again.
Marissa and I worked together in the kitchen like a beautiful culinary ballet. The only drawback was the oven was on for the entire afternoon. In July. Triple digit heat index plus the oven on for 5+ hours means your house is 80 degrees. As I mentioned in DMN: Mulan, what does Santa bring you when your house is 80 degrees in July? Pit stains. Aside from the heat, which soon cooled down once we turned the oven off, go figure, there wasn’t a hiccup to be found.We had to dress themed, well as themed as one can in July when it’s anything but sweater weather, and take pictures in front of the tree. Christmas cards anyone?
The food was amazing, the turkey was incredible – I made the hashtag #marissaisamazing for her as I instagrammed and it was true. Our menu ended up being sausage-balls and cream cheese with Marissa’s homemade plum jam – told you #marissaisamazing – poured over the top served with crackers, to start. The main course was turkey and dressing with gravy, green bean casserole, shells and cheese, steamed broccoli and Sister Schubert’s rolls. For dessert we had pumpkin dump cake, one of my favorite desserts, with whipped cream. We were too busy eating the dessert to take pictures but trust me it was delicious!
While I got Jacs down to sleep the rest of the crew rolled retired to the living-room and watched the movie. We all had a great time and decided that next year we would do Christmas Eve AND Day in July and do Home Alone and Christmas Story respectively. I mean, when it’s a Friday and Saturday next year it’s totally kismet to do two, right?! I hope we’ve brought a smile to your face and you’ve gotten an idea or two for your own Christmas in July or themed parties. Stay tuned for more Themed Shenanigans when I blog about our EMMYS and Tony Award nights.
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