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.

I Hear those School Bell Ringing 0

Teacher helping kindergarten children learn how to use computersCard & Party Giant is your local source for party supplies, decorations, balloons, and we are conveniently open 7 days a week to serve you.  Card & Party Giant is also an invested member of its community. Last spring we posted a list of upcoming middle and high school graduation dates; a list we believe was appreciated by our community.  Now, to serve you as schools go back into session, below is a list of when local students begin the 2015-16 school year: Glenbrook North High School (Northbrook)- August 24th – First Day of School (August 21st is Freshman Orientation) Glenbrook South High School (Glenview) – August 24th – First Day of School (August 21st is Freshman Orientation) Glenview Public Schools – District 34 – August 25th – full day of attendance (except kindergarten which has a staggered start on August 26th and 27th) Loyola Academy (Wilmette) - August 25th  - Classes Begin (August 24th is Freshman Orientation) New Trier High School (Wilmette) – August 19th – First Day of Student Attendance Northbrook School District 27 – August 26th – first day of school Northbrook School District 28 – August 25th – first day of school Northbrook/Glenview District 30 – August 26th – first day of school OLPH (Glenview) – August 24th –School Begins (schedule differs for incoming PreK and Kindergarten Students) Regina Dominican High School (Wilmette) – August 20th – First Full Day of School (August 19th – Class of 2019 Orientation) Wilmette Public Schools – District 39 – August 26th ½ day of student attendance Baker Demonstration School (Wilmette) – August 27th – First Day of School We wish everyone in our community a safe and successful 2015-16!

A Party Almost 200 Years in the Making 0

patrioticThis year we get a 4th of July bonus. The holiday falls on Saturday. Thus many businesses are closed on Friday (we’re open so even last minute shoppers can get the best patriotic party supplies). Almost all are eager to see spectacular bursts of color in the sky throughout Independence Day weekend.  Not only is it an excuse for the little ones to stay up late and don their favorite glow jewelry, it also is a time for families to come together and celebrate the birth of our country. In the Midwest it has particular importance as one of the few holidays that generally promises good weather for an outdoor party. The Continental Congress voted for independence on July 2nd in 1776, but it took two days before the document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, was complete. If you order your balloons on July 2nd they’ll be ready for pick up on July 4th, the date that makes U.S. Independence from Great Britain, or as we call it, the birthday of the United States. Back then there were 13 colonies; today three are 48 states, all united to recognize our forefathers and our country’s independence.  And we do it in style.  It is estimated that there are more than 14,000 firework displays across the country. And who knows how many backyard parties, picnics, parades, or barbeques are held each year. We are in the heat of summer and everyone looks forward to an excuse to get together and party. Happy Birthday U.S.A.  Let’s party!

Father - Dad - Pops - let's celebrate! 0

dadheroFather’s Day is next weekend and many of us will host or attend parties and celebrations to honor that special man in our lives. You may fire up the grill or go out to dinner and make a fuss to acknowledge your dad and recognize his role in your life. In my generation the role of the father was that of breadwinner and wise counsel. My father worked hard and was honored daily for his commitment to the family. This was demonstrated by our understanding that he needed a few quiet moments when he arrived home after work, by making sure he had the seat of honor at the dinner table, and by deferring to him in conversation. Growing up dad was my favorite. Mom was my rock, but dad - well, he was the one whose attention was something to seek and to cherish. I especially remember Friday nights when he brought home a few liters of soda and made something he called pizza bread for a snack. We chomped down on our pizza bread and gulped our soda while we watched the Chicago Blackhawks, the Friday Night fights, or a movie This was our time with dad and those Friday family nights are a cherished memory. Those days are long gone. I haven’t lived with my parents for more than 40 years. Recently, however, circumstances gave me an opportunity to spend some concentrated time with my dad. For the past several months we’ve spent a few days together each week. We run errands, watch television, and cheer on the Chicago Blackhawks. We dine together and have lots of opportunity to chat. In all, we are just reconnecting. It’s nice - really nice. This weekend one of my brothers is hosting a backyard barbeque for our dad. Everyone will take a dish to share, and dad will be the center of attention at his father’s day party. We’ll have greeting cards and gifts for him to open, but mostly it is about being with family and honoring our dad on this one day set aside just for that purpose. Dad, father, pops, pa, daddy – whatever you call that special man in your life, remember to let him know just how special he is this Sunday, June 21st. Happy father’s day to my dad, my husband, my son, and to all of you who are fathers!

Card & Party Giant, a “Giant” of a party supply store 0

tyCard & Party Giant (“the Giant”) is a family-owned business that’s been around for a good long time. It is part of the Glenview community, a treasure now located on north Waukegan Road, but originally founded in 1989 to specialize in party goods and costumes. It’s true the Giant has not been around as long as, oh let’s say, the Glenview House that was built in 1878. Nor is the Giant as old as the Village of Glenview itself which was incorporated in 1899.  But then again, you were more likely to find a dry goods store than a party supply store back before the turn of the last century. We’re here now, and for the past few years the Giant has been located in what was the former Clipper’s Toy Store location, just south of Lake Avenue on the west side of Waukegan Road.  From street view, the size of the store is quite deceiving. It takes a walk inside to get a real sense of the available inventory and just how much space the store has to offer everything from party platters and decorations, balloons and banners, to costumes and accessories. We hope you’ll stop in soon to check out our supply of elegant entertaining items, birthday party supplies, specialty party items from wedding showers to graduation parties, greeting cards (including  Father’s Day cards), costumes, and more, more, more!  

Reflections of Yesteryear 0

granddaughterYesterday was the graduation of our granddaughter’s 8th grade class. The ceremony was attended by close to a thousand spectators who came to see their child, sibling, grandchild, or friend receive the diploma that acknowledges completion of middle school. As I looked across the sea of faces popping from the red graduation gowns, I thought that these 8th graders looked more grown up than I remembered my own children looking at that age. Certainly the young ladies seemed much more grown up than what I remember being at that age. When I returned home I looked at my own 8th grade graduation photos. I was surprised to see that, in fact, I was looking quite “grown up” in my own right. My hair had been styled. I was wearing a fancy dress. My shoes had a small heel and I had on just a touch of makeup – something I am sure my parents did not typically allow for me at 14. I then began comparing our granddaughter’s experience to my own. The commencement ceremonies were quite different. Growing up, I attended a very small school. Our class was less than 100 students. Hers was closer to 500.  Our school had no band, no orchestra. Last night’s ceremony featured the school band playing the Battle Hymn of the Republic and a very moving rendition of “For Good” by the school orchestra. Last night’s audience included family and friends, some donning graduation party accessories – oversized 2015 glasses, red streaks in the hair to show school spirit. Attire ranged from dressy to casual with some dressed in shorts and tee shirts. Back when I graduated, oh so many long years ago, family members put on their Sunday best. That I know for sure. Afterwards the children were talking about getting together at a friend’s homes for sleepovers or sitting around a bonfire. The “formal” graduation parties are scheduled from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.  Back in the late 1960’s we returned home with family members for cake and ice cream. No matter how graduation celebrated, how the program is orchestrated, when the graduation party is held, or how the children or their admirers are attired, the ceremony is for a group of children to march through another stepping stone in life’s journey. They gather one last time with the classmates who sat side by side with them for their years of middle school. As a collective they are given an ovation that acknowledges their completion of 8th grade and a diploma that says they are prepared for high school. And whether the commencement was 20 years ago, 40 years ago or yesterday, it is an occasion that gives parents pause to reflect upon how quickly their child has grown and to ponder how soon this child will be off to college. Parents’ smiles bear the hint of fear of the unknown for what lies ahead for their little one. Their hearts beat a little faster as they silently whisper wishes of success and easy times in their child’s future.  Graduation is the exclamation point of completion of a program.  For 8th grade graduates, it is one of those moments when parents and grandparents reflect and begin to internalize how quickly this child will become an independent adult. Congratulations to all graduates and especially to our lovely granddaughter.