Candy cane cocktail, anyone?

Everyone could use a little pick-me-up holiday cheer - even in the middle of summer! When you're surrounded by sandy beaches and blue skies, think of it as the perfect occasion to swap presents, deck the halls, and sip on candy cane cocktails at a summer party your guests won't soon forget.


Hula Dance Around the Christmas Tree

Starting with the holiday icon: the Christmas tree. At this time of year, Balsam firs and blue spruces are hard to come by, but a faux tree is almost just as good as the real thing. Decorate your tree from top to bottom with glittered seashells, sailboats and glass buoy ornaments; and don't forget to stash a bundle of holiday gifts - decorated with shells and sea stars as gift toppers - in wire-mesh clamming baskets under the boughs. This breezy-beachy tree looks as if it washed up on a magical seashore. Don't forget the driftwood-seashell star tree topper!

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Deck the (Hot! Hot! Hot!) Halls

The same DIY ombre seashell ornaments that you used to decorate your tree can be used in glittery garlands, centerpieces, and place settings of your own creation. You can also add seashell and sand keepsake ornaments or seaglass ornaments. Plus, all of these are incredibly easy (and fun) to make! Beyond that, try summery alternatives of red-and-green decor: like sea urchin jellyfish ornaments, sea glass mobiles, or a summer wreath made of mussel shells. Try embellishments made with burlap ribbon, seashells, starfish, and sand dollars.

MAKE THESE: Ombre Glittered Seashell Ornaments
Credit: Manal Aman

Or dye them! We love summery, pastel colors.

MAKE THESE: Dyed Seashells

Similarly, a tabletop arrangement of these metallic-painted shell candles are so twinkly and bright, you might rethink your Christmas string lights next year.

MAKE: A Metallic Shell Candleholder Centerpiece
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Enter a Land of Summery Sweets

All parties need some a signature sipper, and this candy cane cocktail is a sweet way to incorporate Christmas cheer into a cute little beverage. As your guests arrive, offer them this mixed drink. If you want to add more summer elements into this drink, try using gold or yellow candy canes as the rim's garnish to mimic a sandy, beach look.

Roasting on an open fire isn't limited to chestnuts: Try s'mores with a Christmas-time twist: peppermint marshmallows. You probably already have the graham crackers and chocolate stored away in your pantry, and now all you need are these homemade 'mallows to transform s'mores from a summer treat into a holiday delight. Similarly, peppermint sticks can be easily made at home and are honestly pretty enough to fall under the "deck the halls" category. Use them as a dessert dish or to set on accent plates at the table. If you want to go even a step further, gently stack the sticks on top of each other as a "campfire" table centerpiece to really bring out the summer aesthetic of your holiday-themed bash. Other ideas? Try Hawaiian Snowball cookies, tropical sorbet terrine, banana rum raisin ice cream, or Gingerbread people decorated to look like their lounging in the sun, donning candy bikinis and swimsuits.

SIP THIS: Our Candy Cane Cocktail Recipe
Credit: Aaron Dyer

Leave a Treat for "Sandy" Claus

And when winter's bounty - pomegranates, cranberries, chestnuts, and eggnog - is scarce, what do you serve? A cheese platter never fails to please a crowd, especially when it's made with readily available ingredients like mini mozzarella balls, green olives, and pickled sweet red peppers.

DIG IN: Get the Easy Holiday Cheese Wreath & Platter How-To

Ring the Beach Bells

Because it's just not Christmas without the music, right? To get everyone in the Christmas spirit, tune into our Christmas in July playlist (click "play" below) that will have your guests wistfully dreaming in a winter wonderland amidst the summer sun.


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