Friday, November 23, 2012

8 Great Christmas Party Theme Ideas

Dinner parties are okay, but why not try something a little different with your Christmas party this year? Here are great Christmas party themes you can pull of without a huge fuss.

The Cookie Swap: 
Everyone bakes their favorite Christmas goodies and brings them to the party in individual packages to share. Include a recipe with your gifts so that everyone can add their favorites to their recipe book.

The Ugly Sweater Party
This one doesn't need a lot of explaining. The goal is to wear the ugliest holiday sweater you can find. We think there should be prizes for the worst dressed -- with extra bonus points going to those who knit their own ugly sweathers!

The Karaoke Party 
What's more fun than karaoke? Christmas karaoke of course! If you have a shy bunch, a cocktail or two might be in order to kick things off.

The White Elephant Gift Exchange 
These are by far some of the funniest and most entertaining parties we've ever been to. If you need help with the rules for a white elephant exchange, check out rules and variations here.

The Holiday Costume Party 
Like the ugly sweater party, only with costumes. Award prizes to the best, worst, and most creative costumes.

Tree-Trimming Party
This is a great idea for new homeowners, set up a tree and ask everyone to bring or make an ornament to help you decorate. In return for their help, feed your guests lots of yummy treats.

The Gift Wrap Party
This is a great one for people who dread gift wrapping -- turn it into a party! Ask everyone to bring their gifts, wrapping paper and tools and make a fun day of it with holiday treats and festive music.

The Everything Party 
So not everybody celebrates Christmas? No problem. Have a holiday party where everyone pitches in a favorite dish, game or activity that represents the holiday they celebrate. Play dreidel, sing Christmas carols, bring a kinara and, most importantly, have fun!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Roundup: Holiday Entertaining Tips

Vintage Christmas Paper from
If you're looking for tips and tricks to make your holiday entertaining a breeze, you're in luck. We've rounded up some of the best holiday entertaining tips the pros have to offer.

10 Holiday Entertaining Tips from Clinton Kelly

Clinton Kelly, host of the popular show "What Not to Wear" offers some great tips for planning your Christmas or New Year's celebration. He suggests that readers "think outside the dinner table" and plan for guests to be very hungry and thirsty! Also, he reminds us all that one of the biggest mistakes we can make is blocking the view (and the conversation!) with an oversized centerpiece.

Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes 

Martha Stewart offers some absolutely delicious fall appetizers to share with your guest (or take with you) this Thanksgiving. From Winter Squash Dip to Baked Brie with Pecans, there are plenty of dishes on Martha's appetizer list that might just steal the turkey's thunder this year.

12 Tips for Holiday Entertaining Success

Sandra Lee offers advice for holiday decorating that you might not have thought of before. For example, she recommends renting fancy dinnerware rather than buying. We think that's a great idea for those who want to create a super special party or get-together but don't have the money (or storage) for all that extra dinnerware.

7 Tips for Easy Holiday Entertaining

Let's face it, the holiday parties are as much about the food as they are about spending time with the people you love. Eating Well has some great tips for preparing healthy cocktails and appetizers that won't send all of your guests reeling toward a food coma before the evening has even gotten started. Don't miss the related recipes section featuring Vegetable Satay and Pomegranate Cosmos.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012: Party Ideas for Families and Friends

Stumped on what to do for your Thanksgiving party this year? Time is running out, but luckily we've found some great ideas from around the internet to help you find your party planning inspiration.

Thanksgiving Party Ideas for Kids

Kids make passing on your thanksgiving traditions a must. If you're look for some fun and entertaining party ideas for the younger crowd, you can't go wrong with these tips from Family Fun. You can find instructions for fun crafts and recipe ideas too!

Party Ideas for Thanksgiving

The Holiday Spot offers some great ideas for prepping your home for the perfect Thanksgiving party. We guarantee you'll find some new ideas on this page, from the crazy hat party to the collection party. There are also some great ideas here for showing your friends and family how thankful you are to have them in your life.

Thanksgiving Menus, Recipes and Turkey Help

Rachel Ray has pretty much everything covered on her Thanksgiving page. Whether you need help getting the turkey reader or planning your party menu, you're sure to get all of your questions answered here. This is a great site for those planning a very traditional thanksgiving celebration.

Host a Food Drive at Your Home

Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to give back to those who might need a little help this holiday season. Turn your typical Thanksgiving party or family gather into a food drive for your local food back. As everyone that's coming to bring a non-perishable food item (or two or twenty!) to take to the food bank.

Thanksgiving Games

Finally, if your looking for some ideas to keep kids and adults entertained, you'll want to check out Divine Dinner Party's "Thanksgiving Party Games: Thanksgiving Fun for Kids & Adults, Too".

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Easy Thanksgiving Entertaining

Entertaining at Thanksgiving is always special, but if you don't plan ahead it can also be a stressful time. Below are some of our favorite tips for easier Thanksgiving entertaining. If you have tips or suggestions to share, please add them in the comments!

  1. Ask for help. Just because you're the hostess doesn't mean you have to do everything on your own. Ask for friends and family to pitch in with different parts of the celebration. This can include menu planning, shopping, decorating, cooking and cleaning.

  2. Shop early. Once you've planned the meal, you should start shopping early. You can use grocery apps to prepare a list of the items you'll need and pick them up all at once or over several different trips. Shopping early also means you have time to hunt for the best deals.

  3. Cook ahead. While you might like the tradition of cooking the turkey on Thanksgiving Day, you could easily make side dishes and desserts the day before. You can also get a lot of the prep work out of the way by pre-measuring dry goods or cleaning and chopping fruits and veggies.

  4. Make plans for the kiddos. Don't have enough high chairs? Need a children's table for all of those nieces and nephews? Make sure you figure out the logistics ahead of schedule and borrow or ask guests to bring any items you don't already have in your home.

  5. Invite your guests early. If you don't invite your friends and family early you might find that someone else was planning to host the main event or that your guests made plans to celebrate Thanksgiving elsewhere. So, if you haven't done it already, send your invites or start making those phone calls.
By planning ahead and asking others to pitch in this Thanksgiving you can spend more time enjoying the company of your friends and family at the holidays!

Photo credit: alex27