Seasonal Celebrations ©
With our shrinking planet and the multicultural diversity we enjoy in our
communities, the holiday season brings not only great opportunities to join with
a friends and family to celebrate the season, it can also bring some
challenges. For some people, hosting a Christmas celebration is perfectly
acceptable. For others, it's important to be mindful of the beliefs of our wide
circle of family and friends. With this in mind, in the following plan you will
find an array of ideas suitable for traditional Christmas parties or those which
are more seasonal, rather than religious-based.
Here are invitation ideas that won't get
lost amid the glut of holiday greeting cards.
Type the invitation on a piece of paper that's geared to your celebration
(Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Snowman, Starry Night or generic)
Roll and tie with colorful ribbon
Insert the invitation into a clean, empty plastic soda, water, shampoo or
salad dressing bottle.
* For a Christmas party add:
* A sprig of pine (or a stem of rosemary which resembles a pine sprig),
mini ornaments or Christmas trinkets
Winter Wonderland, Snowman or generic party add:
Artificial snow or bits of white tissue paper
Starry Night Party add:
Attach appropriate festive stickers. Add a
Mail from the post office. (Be sure to mail one to yourself first to
determine the length of time it takes to arrive and its condition.)
For a Christmas
trim-a-tree or ornament exchange party:
Remove the hook from a clear, plastic Christmas ornament. Roll and
insert your invitation, being careful to leave a little piece sticking out for
For any type of seasonal
celebration, attach your invitation to a packet of hot chocolate mix or a
festive tea bag.
Short on time? Send a
pre-printed invitation with a generic snowman
Add a wreath to your door adorned with tiny birds, fruit or any
ornaments you'd like.
Attach candy pieces to your wreath for a whimsical welcome to a child's party
Let Santa greet your guests with a full-body cutout.
Snowman or Winter Wonderland
Add a snowman bucket or
basket to your front door design.
Starry Night celebration
Drape your doorways and windows with
shiny star garland.
Greet your guests with the sounds of
Tie snow-flocked ribbons
your indoor plants to give them wintery feel.
Rim archways or tables with holiday garland .
Use fresh pine cones and fruits with candles as mantel decorations.
Fill a basket with pine cones, ornaments and pine sprigs. (After the
holiday, place the pine cones outside for squirrels and birds, yet to fly south
for the winter.)
Give your bathroom a holiday touch (and cut down on your laundry) by
placing Christmas or snowman design guest towels for your company's use.
Suspend snowflakes cut from doilies on white thread from the ceiling fan (set on low) to give
guests a feeling of dining outdoors in a blizzard.
Line your walkway with luminarias you created from white,
red or green paper snack/lunch bags, sand, votive candles, and paper punch (or use a
very large needle to
create) designs to let your dinner guests know they're on the right trail to
your holiday happening.
Adorn the backs of each chair with a holiday garland
Add glow to the gathering with a collection of holiday candles such as a snow family creation
for a Winter Wonderland or Snowman celebration or a red and green star-shaped pillar for a trim-a-tree or Christmas party.
Tiny candles in the
shape of ornaments grouped together will create a festive fire.
Save hours of gift wrapping by simply using colorful gift bags which can be color-coordinated with your decor to really
add sparkle under your tree.
Bring out the camcorder or tape recorder and interview the guests
(especially the elder family members) about memories of earlier holiday
celebrations. If you've done this in the past, play the previous tapes. Add
recollections of any guests who had not been to your previous taping. Then make
a copy of the tape(s) for each family and to send to out-of-area relatives who
missed the celebration.
Get the kids to make up placecards by creating Christmas ball, snowflake,
gingerbread man or snowman designs.
The kids also can cut out and decorate Christmas ball, snowflake,
gingerbread man or snowman designs from light pieces of cardboard for use as
trivets to keep hot plates from marring your table.
Ask each guest to bring a non-perishible food item to make up a basket to
give to a less fortunate family through your church or temple. There will be an
even greater need after the holiday when many folks forget about their giving
spirit but your area's less fortunate still need food.
Collect everyone's favorite leftover turkey, ham or other meat or seafood
dish recipe you generally serve and share with all the guests.
Share your good fortune by inviting friends or neighbors who may be
celebrating the holiday alone.
Ask each guest to share a special "thank you" as a gift to someone at the
celebration who was particularly helpful to them that year.
Instead of having everyone sit and enjoy their gifts on Christmas morning
(or on Christmas Eve), bring your family to help out at a local soup kitchen.
It's a great gift to share with your children by giving them an appreciation of
their own good fortune and to teach generosity of spirit.
Encourage younger guests to look through their toys or clothing for items
in good condition to take to donate to a shelter or charity.
Have each guest write a letter to someone who is serving overseas in the
armed services to thank him or her for their efforts. Contact your local chapter
of the American Red Cross for information on writing to a serviceman or woman.
To find a local chapter, go to:
http://www.redcross.org or look in your Yellow Pages.
Ask each guest to bring a favorite dish and then compile a list of menu
items and the chef's name to create a program to put at each guest's place
setting. It won't be a hardship on your guests who will enjoy being able to
participate and it will be less work for you.
Tie ribbon or
garland to stemmed glasses for greater holiday flair.
Food will be more festive when set into holiday designed platters
Lightly spray your tablecloth with hairspray, then while the cloth's
still damp, sprinkle holiday style confetti and then mist it again with hairspray to help set the
pieces. Let dry and set your table as usual. After the party, use a small
brush to loosen the confetti and shake inside a plastic trash bag.
Try one new recipe to share with your guests and be sure to have copies
of the recipe on hand to share. (Don't serve too many untried dishes to ensure
you have enough food favorites.)
Give a gift to yourself by substituting paper plates for china in one of
a variety of designs to serve hors d'oeuvres or dessert. Solids in green and red
foil can be the basis of your own creative settings. Don't forget that plastic glassware will save you time in the kitchen as well.
towel, toilet tissue or wrapping paper tubes into 1-2 inch sections and have
children pretty them up with colored yarn, paints, paper,
stickers and/or glued trinkets for use as napkin rings.
Wrap utensils in napkin packets and place in a whimsical basket or bucket
at the end of your buffet table. Holiday napkins
complement the holders.
Set the stars out to dazzle on your holiday table, plates, napkins, garland,
confetti all in silver
and gold star designs.
Party Favors, Gifts and Prizes:
Compile a packet of dinner recipes to share with your guests.
A book of
Holiday stories from around the world will keep guests grateful for
Every home will be merry with a holly design napkin holder
Kids will love treat packs, without or without the snack when they come
in a Santa puppet style
packets.. Neat little
cup wraps make a game of holiday refreshments.
Kid-sized books with holiday themes will keep them busy.
Let them don their own
Santa's Helper hat, that you've personalized with their names hand-painted
An instant photo with Santa or against your festive background will be a
keepsake especially when in a colorful folder, plain white for your own
decoration or in a "Santa" or "Snowman" design. Digital photo frames, too.
For many of the items
mentioned in red, visit the following sites to check on ordering information.
©All rights reserved, 2002, Phyllis Cambria