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Halfway to Christmas! Let's celebrate with a holiday party.

I'm not a summer girl. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that it's my least favorite season. I can do without the heat and humidity, and the burns, bugs, frizzy hair and sweat that comes with it. Most of all...I miss the holiday season. So, in honor of halfway-to-Christmas (check the calendar!), here are my tips to have a cozy holiday party in the middle of June. But we already have BBQs for summer holiday parties That's true, but BBQs don't have a place for cookies, hot beverages (my personal favorite) and classic holiday movies. And, as I grow older, I've found myself so busy during the holiday season with shopping, holiday parties, and juggling time between my family and my boyfriend's family, I can't properly enjoy the weeks of cozy possibilities. Plus, it's fun to spice things up with a change of pace!

So, it's time to get frosty If you normally don't crank up all of your air conditioners and fans - now's the time to do it. Even if you don't throw a party, celebrate Halfway-to-Christmas by taking a break from the heat for one day of indoor comfort under blankets and a good movie. Of course, be as energy efficient as possible by closing windows, blinds and curtains, and doors to rooms that you won't be using. You may even want to pull out a sweater or scarf for the fun of it!

Once you're frosty, turn on the oven Raspberry and mint makes any cake festive and cool - perfect for a holiday party!The beautiful thing about canned food is that it preserves well if properly stored. You can still buy pumpkin - I bought some on a whim when I noticed it on and was immediately inspired to make a summer twist on pumpkin pie. You can also use red summer berries to make holiday-themed desserts without turning on your heat-emitting oven - just pair them with fresh mint leaves to achieve the festive colors and cooling flavors. Or, try these no-bake cookies.

You don't need a store to have eggnog Eggnog won't be stocked yet, but you can make it from scratch! It's actually pretty easy if you have a mixer - and it gives you room to experiment with flavors.

Planning your party 1. Make it a low-key evening with close friends or family to keep the room temperature down - and to allow for some planning flexibility. Think about having the plans and recipes ready at arm's length so you can check the weather on Monday for the upcoming weekend forecast. As soon as you see a stormy Friday or Saturday night on the horizon, send your invitations out immediately so everyone can be there to take refuge in your time-traveling home. Of course, you can always give the heads up to friends or family in advance by telling them your awesome plan.

2. Take a peek at your holiday music playlist and make sure it's ready to go.

3. Decorate the room with just a few simple staples from your holiday storage - you don't need much more than a string of lights around your snack or dessert station to light up the room with some holiday flare. And, even though you won't be able to find disposable plates with snowmen or other winter heroes on them, you can still grab a few solid-colored plates and cups in red or silver that are available year-round.

4. Instead of having an ugly sweater contest, have an ugly T-shirt contest.

5. Since TV won't help you with holiday programming, ask everyone to bring their favorite holiday movie on DVD. Or, rent from Netflix. You can also splurge on some classics on iTunes since the DVD copies will probably be buried in your video store's stock room until October.

6. Play a gift exchange game! You know how we love those...

Call me crazy, but a little interruption like this helps me beat the heat and remember that I won't be uncomfortable forever. Then again, once winter comes and a blizzard is keeping me stuck inside, I'll probably miss the BBQs and margaritas...maybe I'll have to write another post in a few months about bringing summer to life in the dead of winter. What do you think? Any ideas to help me get started?

We are family

Happiness is a New Kitchen! - Part 2