Friday, December 19, 2014

Last Minute Holiday Party Planning Tips

Christmas is quickly approaching so I'm bringing you a bonus post this fantastic Friday!!  Whitney Hollingshead put together a great guest post to help with last minute holiday party planning.  

Have you always wanted to throw a holiday party, but end up running out of time year after year?  Planning the perfect party can take months; however, the good news is you can still plan a great holiday party THIS year.  

Here are some tips to help you quickly plan the perfect last minute party for your family and friends:

Keep it Simple

Since time is running out, you will need to simplify the party planning process.  Luckily keeping it simple does not have to mean throwing a boring party.  Check out these holiday party ideas that are easy to execute and fun to attend:

Christmas Cookie Tasting
Everyone loves Christmas cookies!  Why not host a Christmas cookie tasting party?  Send invitations to all of your friends and encourage them to bring their favorite Christmas cookies to share.  Set up a festive table to display all of the cookies and let everyone sample the goodies.  For extra atmosphere, play Christmas music in the background, offer spiced cider, and play a Christmas trivia game. 


Pajama Party

If you want to share a relaxing evening with your close friends, invite your guests to attend your party in their flannel pajamas.  Put on a favorite Christmas movie like It’s a Wonderful Life, The Santa Clause, Home Alone, The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, or White Christmas.  Serve different varieties of popcorn, Christmas candy, and hot cocoa.  After the movie, you can invite each guest to share a favorite Christmas memory with the entire group.  

Instead of hosting a party at your home, take the party on the road!  Invite your friends and family to join you for a night of caroling.  You can head out in your own neighborhood or even choose a sidewalk downtown to spread some Christmas cheer.  Print off the lyrics to common Christmas carols so your guests can sing along to every song.  Afterwards, invite everyone back to your house for egg nog.

Gift Exchange
A gift exchange can provide the framework for a fun holiday party.  Ask each guest to bring a gift for the exchange.  This works best if you choose a theme for the gift exchange.  Here are some themes to consider:

  • White Elephant Exchange
  • Dollar Store Item Exchange
  • Book Exchange
  • Recipe Exchange
  • Christmas Treat Exchange
  • DVD Exchange
  • Blast from the Past CD Exchange
  • Mix CD Exchange

You can create your own game to facilitate the exchange process or search online for gift exchange games and interactive stories.  

Game Night
You can easily pull off a game night party.  Instead of bringing out your typical board and card games, search online for Christmas themed game ideas.  For example, how about a game of Christmas Pictionary?  Or Christmas Charades?  Or Name That Tune with Christmas carols?  If kids are involved, you can play Pin the Nose on Rudolph.   

Additional Considerations
Once you have chosen a theme for your party, here are the remaining details you need to consider:

As you are putting the party together last minute, you most likely won’t have time to mail out formal invitations.  Consider delivering invitations in person instead.  If you are really short on time, you can create a digital invitation and email it to your guests.  For best results, send invitation emails one by one with a personal message included.  Use social media groups and text messaging with caution.  Sending a mass invite is far less personal and may ultimately lead to fewer guests in attendance.

Food & Beverages
You can’t throw a party without food.  While several of the themes listed above included suggestions for snacks, here are some other foods you can prepare in a hurry:
  • Chips, salsa, and guacamole
  • Cheese platter with crackers
  • Fruit or veggie platter
  • Hot cocoa bar (hot cocoa with mix in & topping options)
  • Ice cream sundaes with festive sprinkles
  • Build your own mini sandwich bar
  • Snack mix
  • Sparkling cider 
  • Punch (mix pineapple juice, cranberry raspberry juice, and Sprite)

Consider Your Guests
You can make your guests more comfortable by thinking ahead.  If necessary, make arrangements for parking.  Have a plan for hanging up coats and winter accessories when each guest arrives.  Make sure your bathroom is clean and easily accessible for guests.  Turn the heat down a few degrees, as additional people in the room will quickly heat up the space. 

A party host should always consider special arrangements that may need to be made for specific guests.  For example, if a guest has a hard time getting around due to a wheelchair, cane, or crutches, make sure a comfortable place is available near the heart of the party.  If you choose to serve alcohol, consider any guest who may be a recovering alcoholic and read these additional tips.      

Don’t let the calendar or ticking clock get you down.  You still have plenty of time to throw a great party and really enjoy this holiday season.  Use the suggestions above and you will be grateful that you didn’t let another year slip away without celebrating with your family and friends.  

Thanks to Whitney for putting these great tips together!  I hope everyone has a great holiday season and can host or attend lots of parties!!! 

 Question: What is your favorite holiday party to host or attend?

5 Things Friday-Gifts for Her

I decided to switch up my Friday posts and do a 5 Things Friday gift series.  In case you missed the first 2 posts here are the gifts for him and gifts for the fitness fanatic in your life.  Today's gifts are for women in your life.  I'm still linking up with Heather and Katie for Friday Faves because these gifts could totally become some faves for you or whoever receives the gift!  As always, thank you ladies for hosting!!

#1-A fun new scarf.  I love adding a pop of color to any outfit with a scarf.  I've really been loving the plaid look lately too!

#2-Speaking of clothes... If you haven't heard of Stitch Fix (referral link), it is a really fun service.  For a $20 styling fee, a stylist picks out 5 pieces of clothing or accessories based on a survey that you fill out, your Pinterest board and notes that you can leave for the stylist.  The $20 fee applies to any items that are keep and if you keep all 5 items, you get 25% off.  It is so fun and addicting and Stitch Fix offers gift certificates!

#3-This awesome calendar!  Perfect to hang up at work. :)

#4-Another great gift is an at home gel nail kit.  I love getting gel manicures, but they can add up if I get them 2-3 per month!  This at home kit is perfect for the girl who loves to pamper herself, but is on a budget. 

#5-Another pampering option is to get her a spa day. This gift works for everyone from your best friend to your mom.  A massage, facial, body scrub...anything to make her feel pretty and pampered.

Honorable mention: fun socks, anything Bath and Body Works, cute jewelry, and concert tickets.

What are your favorite gifts to receive and/or give?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

12 Days of Happiness Day 3-8

I mentioned a little while ago that my friend has been sending out 12 Days of Happiness emails each day to brighten my day (and some other friend's days).  Check out my previous post to see days 1 and 2.  I love it so much that I am passing them along to you. 


Day #3 was a 2 part-er.  She did last year's West Jet video coupled with this year's video.  Warning-if you are watching these at work, you might keep tissues close by!

Day #4 - It seems like every year some good Samaritan pays off layaway for a store, but it is still great to read.

Day #5 - Ellen is so great about giving back throughout the year.  We should all strive to be more like her!!  Here is a recap of 2014.

Day #6 - A fun twist on helping the homeless.

Day #7 - This post is too cute!  Nothing better than good sportsmanship!

Day #8 -  Random acts of pasta...such a fun and funny story too.  The guy even wrote a blog about his never ending pasta journey. 

Bonus-here is one that I came across on my own that is too good not to share!!

I hope you enjoy the 12 Days of Happiness as much as I have.  It brightens my day.  I'm linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud to spread the happiness!