How to Organize an Amazing Holiday Party


Elegant or Casual?

Everyone, at one point or another in their life, strives to host an amazing party.  Those parties often fall on or around holidays.  Once you’ve decided which holiday you want to create and amazing party for, you can decide whether you want it to be fun and casual or a bit more elegant.  Mind you, occasions such as St. Patrick’s Day are not always the best holiday to throw an elegant party for.  If you want a bit more elegance, try New Year’s Day (or Eve), Valentine’s Day, or Christmas, maybe even Halloween.  Halloween could also be a holiday for which you throw an amazing casual party—other holidays in this category could include Cinco de Mayo, the Fourth of July, and Earth Day.  You could even create an amazing party for lesser-known holidays, like National Dog Day, National Ice Cream Day, and Sweetest Day.

Now that you’ve chosen not only your holiday, but also whether you want to throw an amazing casual party or an amazing elegant party, you can start selecting your decorations.  Many decorations can work for either an elegant holiday party or a more casual holiday party.  Let’s tackle the elegant decorations first.

Amazingly Elegant Holiday Party

Hosting an elegant holiday party does not mean you have to procure fine china.  “Elegant party” does not always equal “sit-down dinner”.  You could provide snacks for your guests and supply beverage napkins and small dessert plates for them to use.   Don’t make all the snacks sugary and sweet.  Do add some healthy treats, too, especially if you offer bubbly, sweet beverages to your guests.

The beverages you serve can also reflect what type of party you’re hosting.  For an elegant holiday party, choose sparkling water or sparkling juice, so guests can use champagne flutes—this will uphold the feeling of elegance and create a sense of sophistication among your guests.  In order to add to not only the elegance, but also the decorations, look into personalized bottle labels.  This way, you’ll have a clearly labeled bottle that will appear as though it was created for your amazing holiday party.

Holiday Party Favors

Moving on, just because you want your party to be elegant does not mean you should leave balloons or favors out.  Whether you decide to have small standing tables for guests to gather around or larger tables for guests to sit at or even just your coffee table and end tables, every table needs a centerpiece.  These centerpieces can be made up of small balloons at a lower height (for the larger tables or your coffee table) or simply a glass cylinder filled with colored stones.

When you start to think about favors for an elegant holiday party, remember that edible favors are always a great idea.  This could be your chance to let the creative bug bite you.  Whether you decide to create personalized candy bars or lollipops or bake a little something extra and go out of your way to find, say, small picture frames to fill with thank-you-for-coming cards, you can put together a small favor bag for each of your guests so they have a way to remember your amazing holiday party.  The favors could also be holiday-appropriate, too.  If you’re hosting an elegant Christmas party, get crafty with some paint and empty Christmas ornaments—make an ornament for each guest, write the date in small print around the top of the ornament, and you have a wonderful favor that your guests will see each year.  For a more elegant Halloween party, create a larger treat bag with the classics: decorated sugar cookies, mini chocolates, and maybe homemade caramel apples (in their own bag inside the treat bag, of course).  The possibilities here are endless; you just have to find the right fit to your amazingly elegant holiday party.

Casual and Fun Holiday Party

Certain holidays make for easy casual holiday parties.  St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and the Fourth of July are examples of holidays you’d be much more likely to create a casual party for—and understandably so!  Many of the holidays that fall into the “casual party” mindset fall during the warm-weather months; many people hear “Fourth of July” and think, “Hey, why not have a barbecue with the family?”

Those same small dessert plates and beverage napkins that were suggested for your amazingly elegant holiday party would be perfect for a fun, casual holiday party, also—especially for a party at which there are more snacks than actual food.  If you decide to host a backyard barbecue for your holiday party, full-sized plates are necessary.  As far as snacks go for a casual holiday party, this is the time you can fill bowls with potato chips, pretzels, and other salty snacks.  You can then balance out those salty snacks with cupcakes, cookies, and other classic desserts.

Because it’s a casual holiday party, you could make a fun, tropical punch for your guests.  Also, fill a metal tub with ice and stock up on water bottles and maybe even bottles of root beer and other types of soda.  This is another fun way to include those bottle labels and give your guests reason to think your holiday party is that much more amazing than others they’ve been to.  These labeled bottles can also be used as favors or decorations.  Decorations are a lot easier for a casual holiday party.  It’s also easy to find decorations and favors that are specific to each holiday.  By using those holiday-specific decorations and favors, a bit of stress is lifted off your shoulders so you can focus on the fun of the party.

Whatever holiday you choose, whether casual or elegant, throwing an amazing holiday party is easier than you think.  All the details are at your fingertips!  Once you’ve planned and hosted one holiday party, you’ll want to plan more—what better way to get your family and friends together than for an amazing holiday party?  Let your creative juices flow and plan away!

Fun Activities for Halloween Parties


Halloween parties are great for celebrating, socializing, and having fun, but what is there to do at Halloween parties? Here are some spooktacular activities to keep your guests happy and entertained.

Pumpkin Carving

A classic Halloween activity that’s loved by people of all ages, pumpkin carving can bring out the creativity in your guests. To make carving pumpkins even more entertaining, make it competitive. Have a time limit and have guests race to see who can make the best pumpkin in the allotted time. Or, to really keep guests entertained and creative, simply have a pumpkin carving contest where the best-looking pumpkin at the end of the party wins. Here is a video to inspire you and your guests to strive for the best when carving pumpkins.

Bobbing for Apples

Bobbing for apples has been a game played at many autumn festivals over the years, not just Halloween parties. For guests of all ages, this game is an excellent addition to a fun-filled Halloween party. Make sure to keep some towels handy, since this game can get a little wet! For competitive versions of apple bobbing, have two or more  guests (depending on the size of your water container and amount of apples available) stand with their hands behind their backs to start the game. Whoever can collect the most apples wins. For a less competitive game, have one guest bob against the clock to see how many he or she can get within the time limit.

Ghosts in the Graveyard

Tombstones

For a game that gets your guests active, try ghosts in the graveyard. The game is played in a large field with many places to hide if your party is occurring during the day, or played at night where places to hide can be scarcer. To add spookiness, make the field a cemetery! First, a base is established. One person is elected the first ghost or ghosts, depending on the size of the group that’s playing. The group (which should be around 10-20 people) counts (usually for 30 seconds) while the ghost(s)  find(s) a place to hide. One way to count that’s been used when playing this game is saying the phrase, “One o’clock, two o’clock, … eleven o’clock, midnight! Hope I don’t see a ghost tonight!” When done counting, the group begins to try to find the ghost. When found, the finder shouts, “Ghost in the graveyard!” and then the ghost(s) try to catch that person or anyone else before they can reach base. If tagged, that person is the new ghost. If not, the ghost remains a ghost. There are no winners, so just have fun!

Piñata

Spider Piñata

A piñata adds a tasty element to your Halloween party. With a haunting piñata and a bat, guests can be entertained for hours. Make sure not to let the guests break open the piñata too early into the party! Fill your piñata with delicious candy that your guests can take home to enjoy.

Costume Contest

At the end of the party, host a costume contest. Categories for costume judging can range anywhere from “spookiest” to “most original” to “craziest” to simply “overall best.” Tell your guests ahead of time that there will be a costume contest so that they can choose their best costumes. Give a trophy to the winner as a keepsake and as motivation to the other guests to dress their spookiest!

St. Patrick’s Day Party & Kids Craft Ideas


Get Creative with St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

For most, St. Patrick’s Day parties mean a day of fun.   From a young age, children learn that St. Patrick’s Day is about the color green—wearing it, eating green-colored food, and coloring pictures of shamrocks.  Why not have more fun than creating the traditional shamrock picture?

Create a fun, festive St. Patrick’s Day party for the kids in your life and come up with some crafts for the kids to take part in.  Use cute decorations to catch attention and make the kids smile.  Start by decorating the entryway to your St. Patrick’s Day party with a rainbow balloon arch for your kids to walk under.  Line the walkway with a gold or yellow plastic tablecloth and have the kids follow the yellow road.  Then, when they walk under the balloon arch, toss some shamrock-shaped confetti into the air to surprise them.  Give the kids green, gold, and white beads as quick and easy St. Patrick’s Day party favors.  Keep their attention with a leprechaun standee that they can take pictures in!

Crafts & Favors Make St. Patrick’s Day Parties Fun

Rather than simply having your kids color a picture of a shamrock or a picture of a rainbow, make a shamrock-shaped cake and have the kids break into groups to decorate them.  Remember when you plan the party, have the kids ask their parents for old shirts that they can use to protect their St. Patrick’s Day party clothes.

Favors at your St. Patrick’s Day party can range from lollipops to personalized cookie tins to gold coins.  Send your kids home with adorable St. Patrick’s Day favor boxes filled with these goodies and more.  You can also include personalized lip glosses for the girls and personalized gum for the boys.

Include your kids this holiday.  Have fun, be safe, and let them enjoy a party for a reason other than a birthday.

The Ultimate Mardi Gras Cocktail Party


Mardi Gras Party Recipes and Ideas

The ultimate Mardi Gras cocktail party requires the ultimate selection of Mardi Gras cocktails and appetizers, served in an environment totally decked out in the ultimate Mardi Gras theme. Purple, green and gold are traditional background colors for this carnival of carnivals. However, Mardi Gras cocktail recipes tempt pallets with bourbon, rum and fruit juice, while popular appetizers are made with spicy, New Orleans essence.

Festive Mardi Gras Cocktail Party Recipes

Hurricane

Classic Mardi Gras Hurricanes are made with 1 part rum (equal portions of dark and light), 2 parts fruit juice (orange, pineapple and passion preferred), a dash of grenadine syrup and a hint of fresh lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, squeeze fresh lime juice over the top, add the rest of the ingredients and shake thoroughly. Pour hurricane cocktail into festive Fat Tuesday tableware cocktail glasses, garnished with an orange slice and topped with a cherry to serve.

Tiger Paw

Mix equal parts Southern Comfort, pineapple juice and raspberry wine over a shaker filled with ice. Strain cocktail into a martini glass garnished with fruit and serve on personalized Mardi Gras coasters.

New Orleans Hand Grenade

Mix equal parts gin, grain alcohol, melon liquor, rum and vodka over ice. Add water and sugar to taste and stir well. Guests drinking these powerful cocktails are likely to enjoy wearing festive Mardi Gras glitter masks, and lots of Mardi Gras beads, celebrating the true spirit of Mardi Gras well into the evening.

Easy Crabmeat Spread

 Combine 6 ounces of flaky crabmeat (fresh or canned) with 8 ounces of soft cream cheese and ¼ Cup salsa. Heat mixture in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, until warm, but not hot. Serve with an assortment of crackers.

Golden Triangles

 12 sheets frozen phyllo dough

½ cup melted butter

Cajun Pork Filling

Apricot Dipping Sauce (optional)

Lightly brush one sheet of phyllo dough with some melted butter. Place another sheet on top of first sheet and brush with butter. Cover remaining phyllo dough and set aside. Cut buttered phyllo dough into six equal, horizontal strips. Place 1 tablespoon Cajun pork filling approximately 1 inch from end of strip. Fold one corner over, diagonally, lining it up with edge of strip to create triangle. Continue folding up the strip, until phyllo dough has many layers and is a single triangle appetizer. Repeat for remaining strips. Use rest of phyllo dough to make many more appetizers. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for approximately 10 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with Apricot Dipping Sauce if desired.

Cajun Pork Filling

Thoroughly cook 8 ounces ground pork in a medium skillet. Add 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning and cook for another minute. Stir in ½ Cup soft cream cheese, 1/3 Cup grated carrot and a few dashes hot pepper sauce to taste. Mix well.

Apricot Dipping Sauce

Combine ½ Cup apricot preserves and 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce in a 1-Cup glass measuring cup. Stir in 1 Tablespoon thinly sliced green onion and ½ teaspoon finely grated orange peel. Microwave on high for approximately 1 minute, until bubbly and warm.

Cool Valentine’s Day Crafts and Decorations


 Valentines Day Decorating Ideas

Love is in the air, as friends, families and communities prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It is a time to playfully exchange all sorts of Valentine greetings, cherish the people we love and of course, eat way too much chocolate. Valentine’s Day is cheesy, crafty and oh, so much fun. It is decked out in bold shades of red, pink and white – everything from soft and shadowy pastels, to strong and brilliant burgundies and fuchsias, all emblazoned in simple and ornately designed hearts, often accented by ribbons and flowers.

Decorating for Valentine’s Day can be simple or extravagant, depending on the mood or event taking place. Intimate lovers desiring a romantic setting will benefit by covering aisles, pathways and hallways with large sheets of gossamer fabric, overlaying them with flower petals, confetti and curly ribbon. Votives and candles strategically displayed will add warmth and passion to the scene.

Families longing to share their love and devotion with each other in a special way might plan a tasty family dinner, decorating the dining area with numerous Valentine’s Day party supplies, and offering personalized chocolate bar party favors, complete with a family photo and memorable family motto, message or favorite saying.

Groups and communities are bound to enjoy the festivities taking place on Valentine’s Day, a time when social gatherings like parties and dances increase the energy in the air. Valentine balloons strewn about a dance floor, or crafted into floating arches and heart shapes add to the effect of a light and fun-filled event.

Valentines Day Craft Ideas

Children also enjoy the happy traditions of making Valentine party crafts and exchanging Valentine greetings on Valentine’s Day.  Party tableware like paper plates can be made into Valentine holders and personalized Valentine cards and decorations. Make a simple Valentine holder by using two paper plates. Cut one in half and join it around the edge to the other one. Decorate with glitter, fringe, even crafting feathers.  Design Valentine gifts and decorations by cutting hearts from solid color tableware and stringing them together; join the ends to create festive jewelry or use as streamers and garland, hanging them from ceilings, bookcases and lighting fixtures.

Pull back the arrow and let it fly through the air. This year’s target for February 14 is on cool Valentine’s Day craft and decorations. It’s all about lightening the mood, being playful in the spirit and having fun with the people you love and cherish the most. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate!

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