Chelsea Fullerton of CamilleStyles.com shows us how to host a relaxed, comforting breakfast gathering … for Christmas morning or any special day. See and shop all of Chelsea’s picks on this Styleboard.
To celebrate the happiest time of year, I decided to host a Christmas breakfast for a few girlfriends. Keep reading to see photos from the gathering, a scrumptious recipe for my signature cranberry-orange shortbread cookies, and a homemade craft you’ll definitely want to try at home.
As the girls arrived one by one, I pointed them toward the kitchen where they could pour a cup of coffee or mimosa. Setting up a self-serve station allows them to get refills whenever they like… and it allows me to actually relax and have fun with my guests! I served the mimosas in these Recycled Carafes—one with mango orange juice and one with grapefruit.
For the main course, I made an oatmeal bar with lots of toppings to choose from, so my guests could make their perfect bowl. The Wood 3-Section Server and the Wood Oval Platter were the perfect dishes to organize my fruit, seeds and nuts. It was fun for the girls to pick and choose the ingredients.
We then took our bowls of oatmeal to my newly decorated living room! I found so many great seasonal decor pieces on Hayneedle that complemented the modern decor of my space perfectly. The round coffee table is great for entertaining, the neutral area rug softened my concrete floors and of course, the grand Christmas tree was the focal point of the room.
Before exchanging gifts, we enjoyed a sweet treat I had made for the occasion: cranberry orange shortbread cookies. I love shortbread because it’s not too sweet and has a yummy crumbly texture. Below is the recipe for these easy-to-bake treats that go great with a cup of hot coffee or tea. I chose a set of large white mugs from Hayneedle that have a dainty, yet sturdy handle.
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 2 sticks butter
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 Tbs finely grated orange zest
- ½ cup chopped dried cranberries
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add vanilla, almond extract, orange zest and dried cranberries and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Mix flour, baking powder and salt separately. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter, beating at a low speed until blended.
With an ice cream scooper that has a release mechanism, scoop individual balls of dough and drop them about 2 inches apart on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. You can choose to give the balls a light pat like I did, or leave them as is. Bake until they’re slightly golden around the edges, 14-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack and cool completely. After transferring to the rack, rub the powdered sugar through a fine sieve over the cookies.
Then came the gift exchange! As a graphic designer, I love making my gift packaging extra special and try to put a new twist on it every holiday season. This year, I splattered kraft paper with white paint and topped each present with an air plant.
I was excited to receive a classic pair of Minnetonka moccasins during the exchange. They’re so comfortable! It wouldn’t be fair to not get my animals a treat, so Alice, my beagle, got a bone and a cozy Jax and Bones Dog Bed.
Then everyone gathered around for a postcard craft. I cut out a stack of 4 x 6 cards from chipboard using a ruler and an Exacto knife. I rounded all the corners with a corner rounder to give the cards a more finished look. Finally, I stamped the cards and gathered up all my markers, stencils, and stamps for the girls to play with. It was so much fun!
Onyx, my black cat, had fun lounging in the Linen Swoop Chair with the Quilted Pillow as we made our postcards.
My Christmas gathering was everything I had hoped it would be. A morning of good food, laughter and spending time with the people I love. There’s nothing more fun than planning and hosting a party, and there’s no doubt that my new Hayneedle pieces made my living room the perfect spot to settle in and eat, drink and be merry!
Happy holidays, everyone!
–Chelsea Fullerton, contributor to camillestyles.com
Photos by Molly Winters