And the Winner is…Card & Party Giant’s Academy Awards Party Supplies 0

20160216_161217-1The Oscars will be awarded Sunday evening February 28th. It is a night of fashion that begins as attendees walk the red carpet. It is a night of intrigue and mystery as we wait to learn who the winner is. It is one of those parties that can be simple or elegant. And while I am not planning to make it a black-tie affair at home, there are oh so many wonderful Academy Awards party ideas to spotlight a glamorous evening for family and friends. Red, gold, black and white are the colors of the evening. The list of options for an Oscar party is limited only by your imagination. Popcorn buckets on the tables and movie-themed party drinks served in champagne flutes – like something iridescent to represent The Martian or a mysterious cocktail concoction for Bridge of Spies are ideas that jump to mind.  Perhaps you hold our at-home Academy Awards party on Saturday as a movie night where you show some of this year’s top movies so guests can catch up on the various contenders. Scene setters, centerpieces, gold and black star-shaped balloons, fancy hats, glasses and feather boas all add flair to an Academy Award party theme. Printable ballots for all the categories of awards are available online that allow your guests to complete and see how close they come to guessing the winners.  Card & Party Giant has a selection of statuettes for you to award an Oscar to the overall winner with the most correct guesses. We also have a terrific selection of Academy Award party supplies and we are open for 7 days a week to help our community prepare for a night to remember.  

Ring in the New Year 0

HappyNewYearAs 2015 draws to a close, the mind and attention turn to how to ring in the New Year. Most folks we know gather with friends celebrating together and waiting for the countdown to midnight. Some wear festive glasses and hats and decorate their homes with a splash of colorful banners and balloons. Some of our friends make it a night on the town. And still others sit and watch the ball drop in Times Square. However you celebrate, Card & Party Giant has a selection of New Year’s party kits, party supplies, wearables, decorations, poppers, neons, and noisemakers to make your holiday celebration a hit and bring in 2016 with a bang. How we celebrate New Year’s Eve and the traditions in which we immerse ourselves vary from culture to culture.  A friend of ours believes the New Year celebration should include a meal with grapes, greens, and beans.  Her meat of choice is pork and when you look at what is suggested to avoid for a prosperous year to follow, it makes sense. Eating grapes on New Year’s Eve comes from a Spanish or Portuguese tradition and involves each person eating 12 grapes – one for each stroke of the clock at midnight.  Each grape represents a month of the year and the goal is to finish all 12 grapes before the stroke of midnight. While I don’t understand the significance of eating of grapes, it is said this practice actually began as a way to use up the grapes left over after the harvest. Collard greens are prepared because green is the color of money. Thus the collard greens represent good fortune in the year to come.  And while the collard greens are said to resemble the paper money, black eyed peas, lentils, and beans are said to be a representation of coins. Thus, they are also related to the concept of good fortune in the coming year. In addition to the foods, to ensure everyone has a good time on New Year's eve, the party includes an assortment of liquid libations and, of course, sweets.  I don’t recall the particular sweets our friend prepares, but I know many countries have traditional New Year’s pastries. It seems most lean toward fried doughs of some kind and that they are covered with sweet sticky toppings like powdered sugar or honey.  And, in some cultures, a coin is hidden inside the cake. The person whose piece holds the treasure is said to be the lucky one for the coming year. And if you are particularly superstitious or just want to be extra careful to fill your tummy with the luckiest of foods, you have to avoid foods like lobster or chicken. Lobsters swim backwards and chickens scratch backwards. Thus both represent possible setbacks. Another tradition we honor with our friends is the practice of going out doors and tossing pennies to ring in the New Year. I must confess I never can bring myself to throw pennies in the street because it seems counter-intuitive that you throw money away to make it come to you. Silly or not we all have our superstitions. However you celebrate, enjoy. Have fun and stay safe.

The Competition of Thanksgiving and Hockey 0

tablewareFrom the time they were in kindergarten, the sport of choice in our sons’ lives was ice hockey. They were hockey players who skated early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and of course, holidays. If you haven’t had the experience, you won’t know what that means to Thanksgiving. First, many teams would find “cheap ice” for Thanksgiving, making it imperative that players get out for an early morning skate on Thursday - Thanksgiving day. And, the fact that school was closed for this four-day weekend, Thanksgiving also offered a perfect opportunity for out-of-town tournaments, usually in Michigan or Minnesota. A tournament in Minneapolis or just outside Detroit is close enough that you pack up the car and drive. That means most hockey families are out on the road Thanksgiving day. They deal with the dilemma of finding a meal time late enough for the meal to be called supper and early enough to be done with and safely start a six-hour road trip. Some years we ate Thanksgiving dinner at 1:00 p.m. I would get up at the crack of dawn to set the table and start the turkey and stuffing. By noon the potatoes were boiling and vegetable side dishes were prepared in anticipation of room in the oven or on the stove top. By the time the boys and their dad were up and about, the Thanksgiving table was fully dressed with the good dishes, glassware and silverware. The napkins were neatly folded at each place setting, and the smell of a roasting turkey already filled the house. Those Thanksgiving dinners weren’t very relaxing. In fact, they were challenging. The Thanksgiving meal tradition was observed and packing for the road trip included turkey sandwiches, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. So maybe these were not my favorite Thanksgiving celebrations – all those years of youth hockey – but we still managed to sit together as a family and celebrate our holiday in true fashion.  

Goodbye Daylight Savings Time, Hello Fall 0

20151030_153932I remember when the end of daylight savings time was my most favorite day of the year. An extra hour of sleep! From the time I was a child I celebrated this day. I always wanted that extra hour of sleep. Now, throughout most of my life, the extra hour came some time before Halloween. You may recall, until a few years ago we did not turn our clocks back on the first Sunday in November. Rather we “fell back” on the last Sunday in October. But this year, when I realized that daylight savings time ended the day after Halloween, and that Halloween was on a weekend, I celebrated something more than that extra hour of sleep. I celebrated at the thought that this was just the right time for the extra hour, especially for Halloween party-goers and fun-loving couples. This year they had an extra hour to dance the night away, bob for apples (does anyone still do that?), or engage in a bar crawl and lose less sleep than at any other time of the year.  For this year their celebration ended on November 1st, the only 25-hour day this year. And now Halloween is over. Things calm down for a millisecond before the planning begins for Thanksgiving. And just like the end of daylight savings time is my favorite day of the year, Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday of the year.  I promise that as you plan party decorations, place settings and tableware or think about who will be at Thanksgiving dinner, I will set your fancy with a series of articles featuring why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Till then, enjoy what remains of this 25 hour day.

Trick or Treat 0

20151015_111204Ghosts and goblins, Minions, witches, movie heroes, clowns, and other adorably attired youngsters will arrive at our doorsteps looking for a treat (few ever ask for or want a trick) on October 31st. Halloween falls on a Saturday, making it especially nice for parents who can take their children out trick or treating during daylight hours.  Each local community sets trick-or-treat hours and most communities also post safety tips to keep youngsters safe. To help our customers, neighbors, and friends enjoy a safe and happy Halloween, below we share the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list of Halloween safety tips along with a schedule of trick or treat hours for our local communities: Trick or Treat Village of Glenview – Saturday, October 31, 2015 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Village of Northbrook – Saturday, October 31, 2015 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Village of Skokie – Saturday, October 31, 2015 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. Village of Wilmette – Saturday, October 31, 2015 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. City of Evanston – Saturday, October 31, 2015 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Village of Niles – Saturday, October 31, 2015 noon to 4:00 p.m. at Golf Mill Mall Village of Morton Grove – Saturday, October 31, 2015 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.   CDC list of Halloween Safety Tips20151015_111204 S Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft & flexible A Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult. F Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you. E Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.   H Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don't run from house to house. A Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation. L Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible. L Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses. O Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe. W Wear well-fitted masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls. E  Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers. E  Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers. N  Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes. Card & Party Giant is a local family-owned card and party supply store located in Glenview, Illinois with a vast inventory of unique costumes and Halloween party supplies.

Bring the Party Indoors 0

fear-the-reaper-halloween-scene-setter-9Now that the weather is cooler, we’ve begun to move our gatherings indoors.  These get-togethers range from the informal t the elegant. They center around sports and a variety of fall festivities.  And no matter the reason for getting together, there are plenty of options for turning any party into an event to remember. It takes only a little ingenuity and party supplies that are easily and readily available. Let’s begin with scene setters.  A themed party can be made more dynamic and certainly a more memorable event when you add scene setters.  These oversized backdrops are a great way to entice your guests into the party mood. Currently there are some very interesting Halloween themed scene setters available. Next on the list is tableware. These days it is easy to dress up a party simply by using the right tableware.  There are elegant designs for your Thanksgiving table, everyday colors to match any décor, and Halloween, Thanksgiving, or football-themed party plates and napkins. Balloons can be used to add a little color to any event. Balloon bouquets are a cost-effective way to create perfect centerpieces to match your party theme. Large balloons staked at the front door make it easy for guests to find your home or party location.  For a more sophisticated look, paper lanterns are a nice alternative to balloons.  This year, there are some of the cleverest designs for Halloween. This time of year it’s Halloween on everyone’s mind. And no matter what you are looking for – indoor, outdoor, scary or more kid-friendly, there is bound to be a Halloween décor that is just what you’re looking for.  The large props are a perfect way to greet your trick-or-treaters.  A strategically placed tombstone on your lawn or friendly ghost hanging from the eave can definitely set the scene.  Adding window clings or gels, lighted pumpkins, or hanging spiders and spider webs gives the neighbor kids the nod to stop by on Halloween night for a little something sweet.