Christmas Sock Parties!

Now that we are starting to mingle with friends again (thanks to the amazing people that develop vaccines!) here is an innovative party idea. Similar to an ugly Christmas sweater party, may I present (drumroll please) the Christmas sock party!

Merry Christmas and ‘Fleece’ Navidad! Yes indeed, sweaters are out, and socks are in. I LOVE Christmas socks! Fluffy ones, patterned ones, ones with pom-poms on them, ones with jingle bells, ones with funny faces. So let’s get Sockin’ around the Christmas Tree!

There are three concepts you can go with, when planning your Christmas Sock Party.

1) Similar to a Cookie Exchange Party – Everyone brings a couple pair of socks and each person is able to go home with some new socks picked from the table filled with Socks, Socks, Socks, Socks!

2) Similar to an Ugly Sweater Party – Guests come in wearing the most outrageous socks they can find and there is a contest and a prize for the best socks. You can designate sock categories for additional prizes (IE Most Comfy, Most Tacky, Most Festive, etc.)

3) Similar to a Gift Exchange Party (Secret Santa) – Your friends bring a pair of socks filled with a small gift. The socks are picked by each person per their number drawn from a hat. As they select a pair, they reveal the gift. The next person can choose a new pair or steal from a previous recipient.

Whichever plan you pick, incorporate some games for the night. Here are some ideas…

1) DESIGN A SOCK – Have crayons, markers and paper available for the guests. Set a timer and see who can design the best sock!

2) MATCH THE PAIR – Gather a basket of unfolded socks (they don’t have to be Christmas socks, in fact similar color and patterned socks make this more challenging – also make sure you throw in some unmatched socks) Have guests get into partners. Set a timer and see how many pairs of socks they can match.

3) SOCK STUFF – You will need old socks, a spoon and sand (cheap cat litter will do). Allow each person 60 seconds to fill a sock up with as much sand as they can. The heaviest will win a prize.

4) SOCK THROW – This game needs to be played outside. Fill a thick sock with coins and tie off. Give each guest a try at throwing the sock. The person who throws it the farthest wins!

You must have food that matches your theme, right? A Christmas cookie cutout can come to your rescue. You can make sugar cookies or pizza dough (for individual pizzas) into a sock shape. How about Fruit by the Foot (get it, ha-ha) or arrange a vege tray to look like a Christmas sock. You can find plastic cowboy or santa boot cups (looks close enough to a sock for me!) and fill them with popcorn, peanuts, Christmas colored M & M’s, Caramel Corn or any smaller sized treats.

When it comes to decorations, you will need to get creative. I have seen little commercially made, other than Christmas Stockings. Grab some twine or ribbon and make a garland with paper sock cutouts along and Christmas tree cutouts. You can also make garlands by incorporating Christmas sock components, like puffs balls, jingle bells, ribbon bows, Christmas plush animals, reindeer ears and Santa hats. You can attach the items to a colorful string of lights for even more fun. Make a large sock from poster board or brown paper wrap to hang on the front door, welcoming guests to your Christmas Sock Hop!

And speaking of Sock Hop, it brings to mind theme music. Maybe a 50’s theme playlist will be prefect for your party. If that is just too much for your ears to handle, pick Christmas music that suits you. Whatever you do, have fun and have a Wonderful Holiday! I thank you for a year of following my blog. It has been a tough one for all of us!

Have a Holiday “Staycation”

With continued stay-at-home orders we need to learn other ways to enjoy our lives. With the kids getting a winter break and the holidays fast approaching how about planning a vacation at home – a “Staycation”!

A staycation can be rewarding plus less stressful and more affordable. Most importantly, commit to unplugging. If you act like you’re not on vacation by answering work calls and emails or being as in-touch with neighbors and friends as you usually are, it won’t feel like much of a staycation at all. Make sure everyone knows that you’re taking a little trip by putting your staycation on your calendar, telling friends and coworkers you need some time away, and resisting the urge to respond to every message. That task accomplished, let the staycationing begin.

Studies show that simply looking at beautiful travel photos releases oxytocin in the brain, helping you feel calm, focused and energized. It’s a mini vacation for your brain. So, choose some places that celebrate the Holidays and download photos and the information about the location to share with your family. Here are some suggestions…..

1) Nestled in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is a Bavarian village in Helen, Georgia. You can visit their market, winery or take a ride in a horse-drawn hayride and enjoy the history of the town. https://www.helenga.org/

2) In the Santa Ynez Mountains outside of Santa Barbara, this tiny Danish village celebrates Christmas with ample cheer during its annual “Julefest” in Solvang, California https://www.solvangusa.com/things-to-do/solvang-julefest/

3) This New England town in Woodstock, Vermont, has many charming historic homes that are elaborately decorated every year. The annual “Wassail Weekend” has a variety of events. https://www.woodstockvt.com/events/wassail-2020

4) Leavenworth, Washington, is a small Bavarian style town tucked away in the Cascade Mountains. Along with the thousands of lights, carolers, hand-bell ringers and marching bands they have an annual Christkindlemarkt for handmade gifts and steaming cups of spiced wine or hot cocoa. https://christkindlmarktleavenworth.com/

5) Over 6.5 million lights sparkle in Branson, Missouri every festive season. This town does Christmas proud with 100 Christmas trees, Rudolph’s parade, a petting zoo and more! https://bransonchristmas.info/branson-christmas-activities-attractions/

These are just a few places to explore. See more at this website! https://www.oprahmag.com/life/g28616974/best-christmas-towns-villages/ You can make a slide show and play on your computer or a large monitor.

When planning your staycation locations, research the food available at each place. Bring home some of the taste of the areas for your family to try. With all the restaurants able to deliver now, have your meals brought to you and spend the time you would be cooking, playing games or watching holiday movies with your family. Make your own Mulled Apple Cider in a slower cooker. You can leave it on all day and indulge whenever you want. The recipe is simple. Pour 2 quarts of apple cider into your slow cooker. Add ½ cup brown sugar, stir. Place 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp whole cloves and 1 tsp whole allspice in a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with a string to form a bag. Drop the bag into the cider. Slice one orange and place in cooker. Turn on low setting.

A fun idea is to create a cookie-decorating party! Purchase or make undecorated sugar cookies. Lay out bowls of decorating sugars and toppings along with icing. Decorate your party area with balloon garlands and streamers. You can purchase balloon garland kits here https://www.etsy.com/listing/788159019/custom-balloon-garland-kit-pick-your Gather the family around the table and get creative! Do some nibbling while you are at it. Stream your favorite Holiday music while you work.

At the end of the day gather everyone around the fire, cuddle up in warm blankets and read Christmas/Holiday stories. Search the internet for online stories along with books you may have purchased. Few months present the multicultural “teachable moments” that December does! The following multicultural events and celebrations are among those that will happen this year:

Saint Nicholas Day (Christian), Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican), St. Lucia Day (Swedish), Hanukkah (Jewish), Christmas Day (Christian), Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian), Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish), Kwanzaa (African American), Omisoka (Japanese), Yule (Pagan), Saturnalia (Pagan)

Get the family to research these celebrations and share what they learned. Whatever you plan be blessed and safe! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year!

Holiday Parties want BALLOONS!

Most people don’t associate Christmas/Holiday parties with balloons. That could not be further from the truth; with so many creations that can make the party spectacular! Many of them are air filled so they can be used for display for a couple weeks or more. The small Centerpiece trees or Gift Boxes can be easily picked up at our studio. They can be in any color combination. The Christmas Light Bulb garland can be a great DIY project using plastic cups, 12″ balloons and ribbon. If you use a cool glue gun you can glue the pieces together or use double sided tape. The large Trees, Columns and Arch can be delivered and/or installed at your office, home or venue; again the color combination is unlimited. Helium filled balloons are also available and can be picked up or delivered. We can treat them with a product called Hi-Float and they will last more than one day. Give us a call and I will be happy to discuss decorating ideas with you. Until then Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!