Tree Trimming Party

Tree Trimming Party

Christmas is a time for family and friends, we all love to get together during the holiday season.  If you’re looking for an excuse to throw a quick informal get together with friends and family how about a tree trimming party?

It shouldn’t take long to organize and should be relatively inexpensive to host.  Best of all you get the tree trimmed while visiting with friends and family!

Here are some ideas to get you plan your tree trimming party!

Since it’s a very informal gathering you can call, text, or email invitations.  However if you want to and you have enough time you can also send invitation cards.  Just be sure you get a general idea of who will be attending.  No matter how informal the event you will still need a fairly accurate guest count so that you have enough food and drink.

To accommodate as many busy schedules you might consider setting a time period instead of a specific time.  For example you can let guests know that the tree trimming will be from 6pm-9pm in the evening and they are welcome to drop by during that time period.

Have the tree set up and the decorations ready to be hung before the first guest arrives.  It’s not the time to haul stuff out of closets or the garage when the house is filled with guest.  If possible have ornament hangers already on the ornaments, or at least easily available.

Play some Christmas music during your party, it gets everyone in the holiday spirit.  Encourage everyone to sing along.

The easiest and really best way to serve food and beverage is on buffets, bars, or stations.  Guests will be arriving at different times and they will be busy during the time that they are there.  A buffet or stations will allow guests to serve themselves.  Just be sure you have someone periodically check the food to see if anything needs refilling.

Sandwich bar

If you are serving a meal, brunch, lunch, or dinner a DIY sandwich bar or pancake bar are the easiest and most economical choices.
For a sandwich bar set out several bread choices, sandwich meats, cheeses, salads such as tuna, chicken, or egg, and other sandwich fixings.  Have a bowl of chips ready to serve as the side dish.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Pancake bar

For  breakfast or brunch a pancake, waffle, or french toast station would be great.  You can pre-make pancakes, waffles, or french toast and keep them warm in a chaffing dish.  Be sure you have plenty of topping choices set out.  If you like you can serve a breakfast meat such as bacon or sausages.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Snack bar

If you aren’t serving a meal you can set-up a snack station, you can serve finger foods, tea cakes, and other snacks.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Candy barWhatever you decide to serve you will need a beverage bar and a sweet station.  They don’t have to be fancy, but at Christmas time everyone expects sweet treats![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

A hot chocolate or coffee bar will be welcome at anytime.

 

You can thank your guests by giving each one an ornament to take home.

You’ve Been Jingled!  FREE Printable!

You’ve Been Jingled! FREE Printable!

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  The turkey and trimmings have all been gobbled up and we’re all stuffed.  It’s time to turn our attention to Christmas, my favorite holiday of all! So let’s play You’ve Been Jingled!

Christmas is time for sharing and giving.  Here’s a fun neighborhood game to help you spread holiday cheer.  It’s exactly like the other neighborhood games we played this year during Halloween and Thanksgiving, this one just has a Christmas theme, You’ve Been Jingled!

You’ve Been Jingled is easy and fun, best of all the kids will love it.  It also helps teach the kids the importance of sharing, just like You’ve Been Booed, and You’ve Been Gobbled did during Halloween and Thanksgiving.  You might say we’re continuing the lesson!

My grandsons love playing “elves”.  We have a great time looking for creative ways to package the treats, we try to be unique.  Then we love choosing the treats themselves, they don’t have to be store bought!  It’s perfectly acceptable to give homemade cookies and candies, who doesn’t love homemade?  The best part for the kids is sneaking the treats to the neighbors without being seen.  They have a blast!

The game isn’t limited to your neighborhood, you can play this at the office, school, and pretty much anywhere you want to spread the holiday spirit.

It’s easy, just make up a couple of baskets filled with holiday treats and drop it off at 2 neighbors’ doors or co-workers’ desks.  Ring the bell and disappear without being seen.  Be sure to include a copy of the directions in the baskets so they can continue the game.

Click here for free game printable!

Polar Express Movie Night – FREE Printable

Polar Express Movie Night – FREE Printable

The Holiday Season is a time for family and friends.  A Christmas family movie night is a great way to take a break from the season’s hustle and bustle and spend time with loved ones.  A Polar Express Movie Night will get everyone in the holiday spirit.

It doesn’t take much planning, and should be inexpensive, all you need is the DVD and a few snacks. In most cases you don’t need much decor as the house is already decorated for the holidays.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

1.  Invite family and friends to your Polar Express Movie Night

You can send an email, text, or even call.  Be sure to tell them date, time, & place.  Also encourage everyone to arrive in fun pajamas!

2.  Buy the The Polar Express DVD  or order it from Netflix or your cable provider.

 

Polar Express Ticket 3.  Give each guest a Golden Ticket as they arrive – Here’s a free Printable.   

If you like you can have kids, and adults do a few Polar Express themed activities as you wait for all the guests to arrive.  Here are some Polar Express activities from Activity Mom. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

Blankets4.  Have Polar Express blankets and pillows around the TV for guests to use. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Polar express

5.  Set up a Hot Cocoa Bar with all the fixings so guests can make their own!

If you are looking for a unique way to bring your friends and family together, Shutterfly has just the thing. A hot chocolate bar party!  White chocolate chips, marshmallows, peppermint candy and yummy caramel syrup are just a few  options to throw in your warm and cozy drink.

Kids will love to create their own drink and adults will get a kick out of mixing all the fun flavors. They’ve even included printable labels to go along with your cups, toppings and sauces for a festive feel. So, grab your pen and paper and start planning…cold weather never felt so good. [spacer height=”-20px”]

 

Popcorn

6.  Pass out bags or cones of popcorn like Miracle Mama did.  You can do other movie snacks as well. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Bell

7.  When the movie is over, give everyone a bell as a favor as they go home, here’s a cute idea from Craft Gawker!

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DIY Wreaths and other Christmas Door Decor

DIY Wreaths and other Christmas Door Decor

Nothing is more welcoming than wreaths on front doors, specially during the holiday season.  I love the look and scent of a fresh pine wreath that greets me before I even ring the door bell.

But who says wreaths must only be made from fresh pine, or must only be hung at the front door? Not I!

There are many things you can turn into a “wreath” and many ways you can use it.  And if you’re not into wreaths how about a swag instead?

Here are some crafty ideas for your front door decor this Christmas, or any other time.  Most of them can be done with dollar store supplies and take very little time.  You’ll love so many of these ideas you probably won’t be able to stop at just one, but there’s no rule that says you can only have one wreath per household!

For instructions on how to make an inexpensive basic wreath with a wire form and mesh cloth click here!

wreathsFirst here’s a tutorial on how to make your basic over the top wreath by Sow & Dipity.

Watch tutorial here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

yarn wreath

Pretty yarn ball wreath by Fynes Designs.

Learn how here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

wreaths

Prefer the rustic look?  Here’s a twig wreath by Sweet Rose Studio. 

Learn how here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

wreaths

Instead of a wreath try hanging a festive swag.

Learn swag basics from Fynes Designs. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 wreaths

Recycle toilet paper rolls into this cool wreath by Kiflies Levendula.

The instructions are in a foreign language, but the photo tutorial is very easy to follow.  Learn how here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

wreaths

Learn how to make this candy cane mesh wreath from Big Bear’s Wife click here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

wreathsThis Peppermint Monogram wreath from Two Twenty One is easy and inexpensive!

Learn how here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

wreaths

Want something different?  This super cute frame wreath by Blue Cricket Designs may be just the thing!

Learn how here

 

 

Make this hanging chandelier wreath,Home Depot tutorial will show you how.

Click here for video tutorial!

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 Wreaths

This candy cane wreath uses candy canes glued together and decorated with a styrofoam snowflake and Christmas ball ornaments.

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wreaths

Gingerbread House Making Party

Gingerbread House Making Party

Gingerbread HouseThe holidays are always fun for kids and adults of all ages.  There are so many fun activities to do!  One of the things our family loves to do during the holiday season is to make gingerbread houses.  We never seem to be satisfied with just one!

Gingerbread house making or decorating is also a great holiday party activity, both kids and adults love it!  So if you have a birthday child in the month of December, a family or company holiday party, or just want an excuse to throw a party, why not throw a Gingerbread House Making Party!

Gingerbread Party

It’s easy and budget friendly.  The best part is the guests make their own party favors!  Here are some tips for planning and hosting your Gingerbread House Making Party.

1.  Keep your guest list on the small side, preferably have only as many guests as you can seat on your dining table.  If you’re hosting a larger party you will have to set up tables for guests to use.
2.  Set up your tables with pre-made gingerbread houses for kids’ parties.  You can use graham crackers, pretzels, or home made gingerbread to make the houses.  For recipes and instructions on how to make gingerbread houses and icing click here.  Be sure all the houses are the same, you want to avoid bickering.  Set the houses on cake boards, aluminum pans, or foil wrapped cardboard to make it easier for guests to take home.
If you’re hosting adults you can lay out pre-made gingerbread parts, or boxes of graham crackers or pretzels, and icing for guests to build their own house.  Alternatively you can provide a store bought kit for each guest.  Provide a base for each house.

Gingerbread Decor

3.  Set out all the decorations:  Candies, cookies, cones, etc.  Keep them neat and organized in several muffin tins or you can give each child their own set of decorations by putting them in paper cupcake cups.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Gumdrop place cards

4.  Place cards are a nice touch and avoids seating arguments.  Here’s a cute idea from Gimme Some Oven using gumdrops as place card holders. It’s simple and very budget friendly, just print each guest’s name on the cards. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

5.  Before you begin the activity it’s a good idea to serve a healthy meal or snack.  This is crucial for kids’ parties, you know that many of the candies will end up in their tummies and not on the gingerbread house.  To avoid sore tummies and a major sugar rush be sure kids eat something first. Finger sandwiches, veggies with dip, and even hot soups would make a hearty meal or snack on a cold winter day.
 6.  You may want to have a contest and guests can judge each other’s creations and award prizes for different categories:  Prettiest, Most Creative, Most Original, etc.  You can make ribbons to pin on the winning houses.  This may be too competitive for younger kids unless each child gets a ribbon.

Cocoa Bar

7.  Setting up a beverage bar would be a nice touch.  A hot cocoa bar for kids or a coffee or tea bar for adults.  Whichever you decide keep it simple, remember the main event is the Gingerbread House![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

You’ve Been Jingled – New Free Printables!

You’ve Been Jingled – New Free Printables!

jingledThe most wonderful time of the year is upon us.  Celebrate the season of giving with this fun neighborhood game, You’ve Been Jingled!

It’s exactly like You’ve Been Booed! the game we played during Halloween, but with a Christmas twist.
I love this game and so do the grandkids.  They especially love dropping off the treat and ringing the bell without getting caught.
JingledSo jingle in the holiday cheer with the free printable game sheets!
You don’t have to limit this game to the neighbors, play it with friends and family, at school, work, church, or where ever you like!

Here are 2 versions of the Jingled sign to use where ever you play.

Click here to download and print the poem, and signs!