Party Planning

Mirth, Jollity and a Monticello Plum Pudding

 

By Diane Ehrenpreis, Assistant Curator

Details of how the holiday was observed at Monticello are scarce. I recently made a discovery in a set of Jefferson family letters that takes place at Christmas, and provides insights into the comings and goings of the household.

In December (date), Jefferson’s granddaughter Cornelia Randolph composed a hasty letter to her sister, Virginia Randolph Trist, asking her to send the family recipe for plum pudding as quickly as possible.

VRT to CJR 12 22 60 1

Courtesy of the Nicholas Philip Trist Papers #2104, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

While Cornelia’s letter does not survive, her request and its urgency are clear in Virginia’s surviving reply. Virginia’s response, which was written in Philadelphia, is dated December 22, probably in 1860. She says, “I received your letter last night and hope the directions for the pudding may reach you to-morrow morning.” And despite having a sick headache, she transcribed and annotated the recipe so that her sister, who may have been with family in Alexandria, Virginia, could have the plum pudding that they both remembered from their childhood.

Once Virginia had copied out the ingredients, the sugar and flour, bread crumbs from a penny loaf bread, the dozen eggs, the cinnamon and citron, the suet and the brandy, she added one powerful word: “Monticello.” Virginia specifically associated this Christmas pudding with Monticello, and by extension, her Christmas past and present. Perhaps Virginia and Cornelia felt the same way about this exact pudding, as I do about my Nana’s Swedish pepparkakor recipe: it is not Christmas without this food.

When I read this exchange between sisters, I was struck by how modern the events seemed. I immediately empathized with Cornelia’s evident upset at not being able to find the pudding recipe. Have we not all been there, especially this time of year?  I was also immensely touched at her sister’s reaction to promptly share and send the recipe, despite feeling poorly. And, what about the U. S. Post Office, and the one-day turn-around time, in 1860!

Just as the Internet has changed how we stay in touch, and it has dramatically changed how I do much of my research. I found this letter while reading scans of the family correspondence available online from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I can now sit at my desk and have access to seemingly unlimited primary material, from here and other collections.

Earlier this year, this same collection yielded a reference to the Randolph family looking forward to playing whist and drinking eggnog at a Christmas gathering in the 1850s. While this may seem too late to apply to Monticello, it likely reveals a tradition that the family had kept for quite a while, considering that both whisk and eggnog first became popular in the 18th century. When I saw the recipe for “plumb pudding” and the date of December 22, I knew this was another discovery to add to our Christmas file.

Please enjoy reading Virginia’s version of the Christmas pudding, and do not overlook her helpful hints for making it a success. Do people still boil pudding for an entire day? I am hopeful that some one of you will take time to create this Christmas dish, so do let us know how it turns out.

“Proportions of a plumb pudding”

4 spoonful of brown sugar-

½ lb of currants-

1lb of raisins-

1 lb of suet- (*modern substitute: butter)

3 spoonfuls of flour-

crumb of a penny loaf of bread grated-

12 eggs-

1 nutmeg-

mace

+ cinnamon 1 spoonful-

citron-

1 teaspoonful of salt-

1 wine glass of brandy.

The ingredients must be prepared and the pudding boiled a long time…a day’s boiling, it is better for it, but when made with bread it is not so necessary as when made with four + is lighter + more wholesome.

The suet should be grated fine and every string…taken out of it (*modern substitute: cream the butter)-the ingredients carefully and thoroughly mixed.

Virginia house wife recommends rubbing the raisins for pudding and cakes in a little flour to prevent their settling to the bottom, taking care the four should not stick to them in lumps.

 The cloth in which the pudding is boiled should be wet + floured + the pudding tied up…

 Put into boiling water and cover…

 If the pudding is boiled some hours the day before it is wanted it may be again put into the pot the following day + boiled as long as necessary.

 It should be kept in a cool place.

 

Interested in hearing more about Monticello holiday traditions? Visit monticello.org for information on holiday programming and events.

 

 

Win Our Holiday Favorites

pinitGlobeFlutes1The Shop at Monticello is offering a NEW holiday contest this year! Anyone can head on over to Pinterest and Pin to Win a Monticello Musical Snow Globe.

Monticello is truly beautiful after a new snow. Our highly collectible snow globe is an accurate three dimensional view of the home of Thomas Jefferson. The semicircular globe sits on a faux wood resin base. The snow globe plays Mozart’s Eline Kleine Nachtmusik, a song well known to Jefferson. 4 1/2″ diameter, 5 1/4″ high. Available for $56.

Attending a Monticello Holiday Event? Pin a photo from your visit with the hashtag #MonticelloHoliday and you could win the Monticello Musical Snow Globe and a Monticello Toasting Flutes Gift Set! Anyone who participates in a Wreath or Gingerbread House Workshop, the Holiday Open House, our Holiday Classic 5K, Handmade for the Holidays or a Holiday Evening Tour is eligible to enter.

cvr_champagne_smallJefferson was a true connoisseur. Monticello champagne flutes, with their clean forms and exquisite engraving, speak volumes about his taste for fine design. Very little of the glassware Jefferson purchased between 1767 and 1821 survives. Our stemware, based on a rare original, is mouth-blown full lead crystal, cut and etched by hand with a sprig and wheel band.

Each exclusive Toasting Flutes Gift Set includes two handmade champagne flutes nestled in a black velvet-lined gift box tied with Monticello ribbon. Toast the new year with style and celebrate weddings, anniversaries or other momentous occasions with our sophisticated stemware. Each 5-oz. glass is 9″h and the set is a $149 value.

For more of The Shop’s seasonal favorites, visit http://www.monticelloshop.org/home-decor-seasonal.html

Snow1

Crispy Pickled Green Beans with Mary Randolph’s Pepper Vinegar

Although few recipes from Thomas Jefferson’s household survive, in 1824 Mary Randolph, Jefferson’s daughter Martha’s sister-in-law published The Virginia Housewife, a cookbook that we believe contains many recipes Jefferson enjoyed. There was much contact between the Monticello family and Mrs. Randolph in the ten years before Jefferson’s death, so it is likely that Monticello dining inspired Mary. One intriguing recipe we are left with is Randolph’s pepper vinegar, a spicy component that can be used in contemporary refrigerator pickles.  With summer party and picnic season is in full swing, pick your favorite local ingredients and try a jar or two of these quick Crispy Pickled Green Beans using Mary Randolph’s Pepper Vinegar for that extra kick.

pepper-vinegarMGMMary Randolph’s Pepper Vinegar

1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar

1 ½ cups white distilled vinegar

6 to 8 ancho chile peppers or peppers of your choice

  1. Place all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to 2 cups.
  2. Remove and reserve the chile peppers. Set the pepper vinegar aside to cool.

 

pickled-beans-jarMGMPickled Green Beans

Makes 1 jar

½ pound fresh French green beans

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon “Cabernet Sauvignon” peppercorns from the Herb and Spice Wine Pairings Set

Fresh dill

¾ cup Mary Randolph’s pepper vinegar

½ cup water

2 garlic cloves, smashed once

2 peppers reserved from the vinegar

1 teaspoon local honey

 

  1. Place the green beans right side up in a clean Mason jar.  Add the salt, peppercorns, and a couple sprigs of dill.  Set aside.
  2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, garlic cloves, peppers, and honey to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Boil for two minutes.
  3. Remove the garlic cloves and peppers and add to the Mason jar.  Carefully pour the brine into the Mason jar.
  4. Place lid on Mason jar and refrigerate for seven days until ready to eat.

MonticelloRecipe_BlogKaty Woods is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she studied psychology. Though always an avid foodie, it was not until Katy came to UVa that she fell in love with the local food movement. Through an internship at Monticello during her third year at UVa, Katy was inspired by Jefferson’s ingenuity to cultivate crops and introduce French cuisine to the United States at the turn of the nineteenth century. Since this experience, Katy has demonstrated Jefferson-era recipes for the Heritage Harvest Festival and continued to adapt Monticello classics for modern cooks.

NEW Red, White, and Blue!

“…the paper of July 4.76 was but the Declaration, the genuine effusion of the soul of our country at that time.” -Thomas Jefferson to James Mease, September 16, 1825

fourth-of-july-picnic-set-for-two-4Decorate and dine with festive American flare this Memorial Day or Fourth of July! These new selections are perfect for your patriotic summer picnic or party.

Looking for a ready-to-go celebration? The Shop at Monticello’s Fourth of July Picnic Set includes packs of 8 paper dinner plates, 8 paper dessert plates and 20 cocktail napkins, two sets of red, white and blue silverware, two travel wine glasses, a tin bucket, two reproduction Declarations of Independence, three little 15-star flags and four fun firecracker mini-torch candles, all packed in a stylish red-and-white striped canvas tote.

The Shop’s Travel Wine Glass with Liberty Quote is an essential picnic accessory, featuring Jefferson’s immortal words “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

cotton-bunting-4-x-8-4Draw on classic American designs and historical traditions for your patriotic gathering or Independence Day party. Red, white and blue cotton bunting made in the U.S.A. is the perfect design centerpiece for your celebration.

Salute the season with historical and modern American flag accents. Flag-themed rugs are a wonderful way to greet guests and flag-themed throws invite your guests, family and friends to wrap themselves in American comfort.

Accentuate your walls with a patriotic pop. Framed reproductions of American flags, historical prints and classic silhouettes, similar to those in Jefferson’s Monticello Parlor, showcase American pride and history.

For a truly inspirational experience, celebrate the Fourth of July morning at Monticello, the home of the author of the Declaration of Independence. Since 1963, more than 3,000 people from every corner of the globe have taken the oath of citizenship at the annual Monticello Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony. David M. Rubenstein will be the featured speaker on July 4, 2014 at Monticello’s 52nd Annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony—the oldest continuous naturalization ceremony held outside of a courtroom in the United States. Rubenstein is best known as co-Founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager.

Curated by Monticello: The Windsor Chair

MonticelloEntranceHall

Monticello was both Thomas Jefferson’s “sanctum sanctorum” and a frequent venue for large parties and gatherings of family, friends, and political allies (and adversaries). Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Jefferson’s grandson, painted a telling portrait of his grandfather as an entertainer. He wrote, “Twelve years before his death, he remarked to me…that if he lived long enough he would beggar his family—that the number of persons he was compelled to entertain would devour his estate.”

painted-bow-back-windsor-chair-3[1]It goes without saying that Jefferson needed a great deal of furniture to accommodate his many guests. Jefferson commissioned numerous Windsor chairs for Monticello which could be moved around the house according to where guests were gathered. He prided himself on having stylistically cohesive designs for Monticello’s furniture; the Windsor chair’s classic style and high-quality woodwork complemented rather than disrupted his vision—even if an abundance of chairs were drawn into one room for entertaining purposes. Today, the Windsor chair is featured throughout Monticello as a reminder of Jefferson’s love for entertaining guests.

The Shop’s own Painted Bow-Back Windsor Chairs are so true to Jefferson style that Monticello curators have selected them to furnish newly restored rooms on the second and third floors of Monticello as part of the Mountaintop Project. In accordance with Monticello’s mission of preservation and education, the Mountaintop Project entails the restoration of the upper bedchambers and passages of Monticello, enabling guests to explore Jefferson’s mountaintop home as he knew it and learn more about the members of Jefferson’s household.

Add a touch of Jefferson’s stylish, functional simplicity to your own home with The Shop at Monticello’s Windsor Chair! This solid wood chair has bamboo-turned legs and a comfortable shaped seat. It’s made in the U.S.A. with the same care for quality as the originals, and like Jefferson’s Windsor chairs it looks great in any room in the house. The Shop’s Round Cherry Table resembles tables made at the Monticello joinery and pairs nicely with the Windsor Chair. Complete the look with the Checkered Floorcloth, which is inspired by the floorcloths Jefferson placed in Monticello’s Entry Hall.

These Jeffersonian pieces are sure to transform your home into a beautiful space for entertaining and make it the new favorite gathering place of your family and friends alike.

A Jefferson-Inspired Cheese Platter

Honoré Julien, one of Jefferson’s chefs during his Presidential years, ensured everything at the President’s House was ready “for the entertainment of company.” and kept in touch with the Jefferson after his presidency. In 1812, he mailed Jefferson his recipe for cream cheese, and in later years he accompanied his New year’s wishes with delicacies unavailable in the Virginia Piedmont – a Swiss cheese and garden seeds in 1818 and wild ducks in 1825.

A truly inspired party platter for your New Year’s feast or next festive affair includes Fig jam fresh from the Fruitery, Virginia peanuts, grapes on the vine, a fresh baguette, and a variety of cheeses similar to those Jefferson enjoyed at Julien’s recommendation plated on The Shop’s Virginia Alberene Soapstone Cheese Board.

cheeseplate

-Fig Jam from the Monticello Shop
-4 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
-4 ounces of goat cheese at room temperature
-Swiss cheese or a variety like Gruyere
-Fresh baguette, warmed and cut into 1′ slices
-Monticello Peanuts

  1. Combine the cream cheese and goat cheese in a small bowl with the back of a fork until well incorporated and soft. Using a large cookie cutter as a mold, form the goat cheese mixture into a two-inch high circle. Place on the soapstone or cheese plate of your choice.
  2. Using a spoon spread the fig jam on top of the cheese mixture.
  3. Place the Swiss cheese next to the goat cheese mixture and accompany each cheese with the appropriate cheese spreader and knife.
  4. Drape fresh grapes next to the two cheeses.
  5. Transfer peanuts into a small bowl and place on platter.
  6. Set fresh bread in a bread basket lined with a cloth napkin and serve next to the cheese plate.

5 Ways to Celebrate the Season

monticello

For Thomas Jefferson, Christmas was “the day of greatest mirth and jollity.” As was customary during the time, Jefferson celebrated the full 12 days of the Christmas season. The usual activities included traveling to the homes of friends and family, placing greenery around the house, and hosting and attending parties. Jefferson gathered his circle of family, which he affectionately called “the fireside,” around him during the holidays. This season draw inspiration from Monticello and make your festivities merry with classic accents and DIY workshops from The Shop.

 

Festive Greenery

red-apple-wall-hanging-214[1]While Christmas trees were not popular until the 1840s, natural elements like decorative greenery, sprigs of holly in the windows, or holly and bay leaves in vases were likely adornments during Jefferson’s time. A Harvest Glow Wreath, featuring Monticello’s primary export wheat, or a Dried Berry Wreath with Satin Bow, a classic combination of red and green, are sure to show off your seasonal spirit.

If you enjoy DIY, visit The Shop for one of Monticello’s Holiday Wreath Workshops. These ever-popular workshops, in their 27th year, produce a gratifying and tangible end product: a beautiful holiday wreath. Janet Miller, Lou Hatch, and Maggie Stemann Thompson lead participants through the process in these three-hour sessions. All materials (straw wreath forms, pins, wire, etc.) are provided, including a cornucopia of natural materials sourced from Monticello. Bring your own hand pruners and visit Monticello.org for tickets to this annual event.

 

Classic Candlelight

ivorytapersDark wintry days and the remoteness of life in the countryside could lead to winter doldrums for Jefferson’s family. Lighting was essential in keeping “many a dull winter in Albemarle” at bay. Jefferson encouraged his grandchildren to outline a course of winter reading and used the reflecting reading candelabrum and alabaster lamp in his library for his own research and entertainment. Candles lit evening celebrations, games, and music at Monticello. Brighten your home with holiday-inspired Ivory Glitter Tree Tapers or Red Metal Lanterns, great for use inside or outdoors, from the Shop at Monticello.

Experience Monticello illuminated with a Holiday Evening Tour. These small-group house tours, offered nightly through most of December, give visitors an intimate look at how the holidays were celebrated in Jefferson’s time and include a walk through of the Dome Room.

 

Seasonal Flavors

peppermint-bark-6Holiday celebrations were more modest than those we know today, but special food would have been the focal point of the winter gatherings. Guests at Monticello could have enjoyed Country Ham and Hot Chocolate during the holiday season. Traditional savory and sweet foods including Peppermint Chocolate Bark, Chocolate Covered Gourmet Apples, Country Cured Slab Bacon, Virginia Spoon Bread, and Monticello Sparkling Cider from The Shop are prefect treats for your winter festivities.

Many seasonal decorations evolved around the grand display of food on the table.  Whether or not you are a fan of traditional baked goods in the “season of mince pies,” as Jefferson termed it, using apples and other holiday scents in your décor can set a familiar festive tone for your gatherings. The Shop’s Monticello Holiday Elegance Potpourri and Spicy Apple Botanical Wax Sachets are great choices for evoking the scents of the season.

Add some tasty DIY to your décor and embrace your inner architect during our My Monticello Gingerbread House Family Workshop. This icing intense program offers fun for the whole family. With hot chocolate and cookies fueling your creativity, you’ll work together to craft a delicious, hand-made addition to your home’s holiday décor.

 

Holiday Keepsakes

wooden-drum-214During the 1809 Christmas, Jefferson wrote that his eight-year-old grandson, Francis Epps was “at this moment running about with his cousins bawling out ‘a merry Christmas’ ‘a Christmas gift, etc.” Christmas then and now is a time to gather family around you. Typically gifts were given by parents to children, from masters to slaves but not from dependents to superiors.  The Shop offers gifts that are both classic and fun for kids of all ages like a Personalized Trunk, Child’s Pewter Cup, or Nine Men’s Morris Travel Game. For both young and old, gifts inspired by Jefferson’s Monticello make treasured keepsakes.

For handcrafted, historic, and unique gifts, visit the Shop at Monticello for Handmade for the Holidays. Meet artisans, sample holiday treats, enjoy craft demonstrations, and shop for gifts made in Virginia. Visit Monticello.org for more information on this annual event or monticelloshop.org to shop these one-of-a-kind gifts online.

 

Merry Traditions

carolerChristmas cards and hymns were popular though not necessarily the same ones and tunes of today. “Adestes Fideles,”” Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “God Rest you Merry Gentlemen,” and “The Holly and the Ivy” were some of the carols sung at Monticello. Jefferson was fond of music throughout his life and the parlor was the scene of many musical performances and much holiday revelry. A Monticello Musical Snow Globe or a handcrafted Thomas Jefferson Caroler are great ways to commemorate the sounds of the season.

Like “dashing through the snow?” Start a new tradition and join the 4th Annual Monticello Holiday Classic 5K. Both festive and fun, this family-oriented 5K begins at the East Walk of Monticello and ends at the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center. Kids 12 and under can enjoy the Deck the Halls Kids Dash, a loop around the West Lawn within the shadows of Monticello. Pre-registration is suggested, but day-of registration is available. Visit Monticello.org for more information and holiday merriment.

A Jeffersonian Feast

jefferson-inspired-thanksgiving-feast-12American statesman Daniel Webster noted in 1824 that  Monticello dinners were “served in half Virginian, half French style, in good taste and abundance.” Jefferson loved to gather family and friends at his home during the holidays, when he could impress guests with the harvest of his gardens. Dinner at Monticello was an opportunity for lively, lingering conversation amongst guests of all kinds; today, we take inspiration from Jefferson’s love for entertaining and delicious food to create a modern-day Jeffersonian Feast. This holiday season, adorn your table with Jefferson-inspired flavors and accent pieces for a tasty touch of tradition.

The Starter: Monticello Plantation Peanut Soup

monticello-plantation-peanut-soup-mix-202[1]Thomas Jefferson liked to eat vegetables, which “constitute my principal diet;” his role in linking the garden with the kitchen was a pioneering concept in the history of American food. One of Jefferson’s garden favorites, the peanut, remains one of Virginia’s most popular flavors (see our Monticello Virginia Peanuts as well). Add four cups of chicken or vegetable stock to this all-natural mix and dish up six tasty servings of smooth, aromatic Virginian Peanut Soup. A southern classic,  the warm, roasted peanut aroma suggests colonial taverns full of hearty cooking aromas, boisterous laughter and song.  No preservatives and made in Virginia.

 

The Centerpiece: Cooked Country Ham

cooked-country-ham-9-12-lbs-3[1]Several of Jefferson’s guests recorded eating ham with the third president during the main course of dinner. Hogs were raised on Jefferson’s plantation and served as a main source of meat for Jefferson’s family, guests, and slaves. A true Southern favorite, our Cooked Country Ham is aged and smoked, but only for half the curing time. Tender and lean, each mouthwatering bite leaves a mild, smoky and less salty taste on the palate. Guests will be impressed with this main dish as the savory centerpiece of your feast. From the curemasters at Smithfield Hams.

 

The Side: Monticello Stone Ground Cornbread

monticellostore_2271_44439180[1]Cornbread was a staple at the early American breakfast table. Along with an assortment of cold ham, jams, coffee, and tea, Monticello guests enjoyed muffins and cornbreads that were “always fresh from the oven” as noted by Daniel Webster.  This versatile mix can create cornbread or muffins, both favorites during the holiday season. Easy to make and refrigerate until it’s time to reheat and serve at mealtime. Cornbread is a fine complement with nearly any lunch or dinner spread! It’s made for Monticello at Wade’s Mill, an historic water-powered mill operated in Raphine, Virginia since the 1750s.

 

The Accent: Monticello Sweet Potato Butter

monticello-sweet-potato-butter-202[1]Another one of Jefferson’s innovative vegetables, sweet potatoes have been an American favorite ever since he harvested them on his plantation. Mary Randolph’s cookbook The Virginia Housewife features recipes that reference sweet potatoes as an important ingredient. Wonderful on biscuits, toast or waffles, this delicious, creamy spread is made of sweet potatoes, sugar, spices and citric acid, with no preservatives. It packs a flavorful punch that will please guests as a truly unique addition to your breakfast, lunch, or dinner spread. Serve with cornbread or muffins made from our Cornbread Mix! It’s made for us in Frederick County, Virginia at a family-owned farm and cannery started in 1828.

 

The Sweet Finish: American Heritage Grated Chocolate Drink

monticellostore_2272_246150996[1]Thomas Jefferson recorded his first purchase of chocolate in 1775. His family often enjoyed chocolate as a beverage which was usually consumed following dinner. Cocoa beans were grinded in mills until they became liquid, then mixed with spices and sugar for taste. It wasn’t until the 19th century that chocolate started selling in the form of candy bars. Enjoy the taste and aroma of rich hot chocolate blended with authentic spices. Simply follow the instructions on the package to enjoy a chocolate drink the way our ancestors did. The American Heritage Grated Chocolate Drink is also superb for baking in your favorite recipes. Handcrafted authentic colonial recipe.

Host a Monticello-Inspired Harvest Party

Thomas Jefferson often used gardening as a way to establish and foster good relationships. He sent plants and growing tips to his correspondents and annually participated in “Spring Pea” growing competitions with his neighbors around Monticello. No matter who won these competitions, the results were always celebrated with a fresh feast for the participants.

Celebrate Jefferson’s legacy on gardening by hosting your own Monticello-inspired Harvest Party. Pair your favorite fruits or vegetables with these fun and festive items from The Shop at Monticello.

potpourriSet the tone before your guests enter your home with a seasonal wreath on your front door. Our Large Magnolia Bud Wreath and our Harvest Glow Wreath are two beautiful season-spanning decorative options.

Seasonal scents like cloves and cinnamon, cocoa and vanilla, apples, berries, cumin and bergamot found in Monticello’s Autumn Spice Potpourri make your home both festive and inviting. Add to the ambiance by mixing rustic textures with elegant touches and rich and bright colors throughout your décor.

vegetablecollectionOur coordinated Monticello Garden Vegetable Plates, Placemats, and Napkins celebrate the Monticello Vegetable Garden and are a perfect match for a harvest theme. Carrots, beets, hot peppers and Jefferson’s favorite English peas form the colorful borders of the porcelain dinner plate and hemstitched cotton place mats. Specific vegetables are showcased on each salad plate and cotton/linen napkin. Exclusive to Monticello, these plates and linens are based on a tapestry design by famed textile artist Laura Foster Nicholson. “Like a giant, patterned textile just unfurled from the loom,” she wrote about the garden’s 1,000-foot, ribbon-like design. The plates are dishwasher-safe and the linens are machine-washable for easy clean up.

Accent your table with functional style with our Monticello Personalized Pepper Mill. This impressive wooden pepper mill, almost as big as a 250 ml bottle, honors family, fine food and fine wine and can be personalized with a name and date.

seed boxNeed a good take away for your guests? Seed packets make perfect party favors. “Tie packets together with ribbon or feature them in a cedar box,” offers Leah Sumrall, Event Manager at Monticello. Another option Sumrall suggests is to “write your guests’ names on individual seed packets and use them as place cards.” Our Monticello Historic Seeds Sampler, Seed Packet Box with Heirloom Seeds, and Terra Cotta Pots with Monticello Seeds are all great options for favors that can double or triple their use as party decorations and fun post party activities.

Carry the harvest theme from the décor through dinner and dessert. If you are throwing an end of summer bash, check out our Tomato Season blog for great dining options. For either season make sure to include a fresh fruit pie or cobbler for desert!