Party in Five: Southern Comfort Food Potluck Party

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Description or Caption: Cooking Channel Holiday Cocktail Party in glamorous jewel tones with a penguin motif and candy cane cocktials, bar snacks, hot chocolate, ornaments and champagne.

Photo by: Melanie Grizzel, Camille Styles ©2012. Cooking Channel, LLC. All Right Reserved.

Melanie Grizzel, Camille Styles, 2012. Cooking Channel, LLC. All Right Reserved.

We here at Cooking Channel love a good party. But throwing a memorable event requires more than just gathering some food and drinks. We show you how, with just five main “ingredients” (including recipes, big-impact decorating ideas and easy DIY elements), you can throw a party that feels like it has a cohesive theme — minimal work required.

Right now we're all languishing at that middle point between the winter and spring holidays, when everyone's holed up indoors without an excuse to celebrate. Though it may be tempting to hibernate for the rest of the season, you can be social and stay cozy by hosting a comfort food potluck party. With a few rustic decorations and a bring-your-own menu of indulgences, this party will help beat the winter doldrums. (Want to hammer home the comfort factor? Invite guests to come in sweatpants — seriously.)

To host your own comfort food potluck party, you'll need these five essential ingredients:

• comfort food dishes, assigned to guests
• printable potluck invitations ( download the template here)
• bourbon iced tea
• tile trivets
• seasonal greenery

Click here to see the party in action and get tips for hosting your own comfort food potluck party.

Spotlight On: The Decor

Get party-ready by setting a table that’s seasonal and cozy. A wood table is the perfect foundation for a wintry, organic design, and is nicely accented by a slate-colored linen runner and festive dinnerware in dusty, dark colors. Purchase cedar boughs for a natural, decorative element that can be incorporated throughout the party (stash them on open shelving, down the center of the table or on chair backs like garlands). Set plush pillows and blankets in bins and on chairs for guests to bundle up and keep warm all evening long.

The best part about hosting a potluck dinner party? The food is taken care of! Keep things simple by mailing out printable invitations that indicate what dish each guest is responsible for preparing. You can write out the recipes on the invitations themselves, include a printed recipe, or direct them to the below slideshow to find their recipe. Ask that they bring their dishes ready to serve, so that when mealtime comes, all you need to do is heat up their culinary creations.

(See more parties and events from the Party in Five series here.)

Camille Styles is the founder and editor of the lifestyle blog, where she shares creative enterta ining ideas for parties and everyday life. She also owns Camille Styles Events, a design and planning firm that transforms ordinary events into extraordinary experiences.

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