Card & Party Giant Party Supplies Blog — #fall #partysupplies #decorations #partyware

RSS

Happy New Year 0

newyearshotglassholderAs we approach the festivities of New Year’s Eve and prepare for celebrations with family and friends, Card & Party Giant is sending you wishes for peace, health and happiness in the new year. Thursday marks the last day of the year. Yes, already it is the end of 2015. We look forward to a new beginning even though we know each year is only a continuation of the past – always filled with opportunity and, yes challenge.  But the anticipation builds  as we wait for the countdown to midnight to begin. Many of us will don our New Year’s Eve 2016 glasses, party hats, pick up our noisemakers and fill glasses with champagne to ready ourselves to toast to with hopes for a successful year ahead. In all cultures the new year is a time of hope. A wishing for something better – be it health or wealth. It is said that New Year’s Eve is one of the largest celebrations across the globe. No matter where we live – from New York to London, from Glenview to Reykjkavik, and from Bangkok to Tokyo - there are fireworks. There are people in the streets kissing and wishing each other a Happy New Year.  Most will join in a round of “Auld Lang Syne,” the Scottish tune with reminiscence of friends and loves from days gone by. This year as you raise your champagne flute, may your resolutions be meaningful. Our wish is for you to be surrounded by loved ones who cherish the spirit of the season. Happy New Year from our family to yours.

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.

Holiday Party Planning 0

placesettingsThe annual Christmas party for my extended family was held this weekend. More than a decade ago, my mother started a tradition where we celebrated as a family, usually a few weeks ahead of the Christmas holiday to limit scheduling conflicts. Our extended family is ever-growing (three new babies last year, one new baby this year, and who knows what the future will bring). This year’s party crowd was about 55 people ranging in age from three months old to 80 something.  Pulling off a party of that size takes planning, coordination, a great party supply store, and a little bit of luck. My role this year was party planner and Santa’s helper. As a member of the Card & Party Giant team, I see the festive holiday decorations that help get us in the party spirit. This year, I bopped into the party wearing my candy cane head boppers that were a simple touch to make my outfit all the more festive! You might wonder how one can pull off without a hitch a party that has to entertain multiple generations. The first step is to find a date and location. This year, as we frequently do, the party was held in a church hall near my father’s home. The hall easily accommodates our large family, has access to a kitchen with plenty of oven and refrigerator/freezer space, counters, and an array of serving utensils. Once the date and location are secured, invites go out. Social media plays a large role in getting the word out. For family members on Facebook, an invite is sent to this private party. Those not on Facebook, but with email, get the details via electronic mail. A few have neither Facebook nor email, but don’t mind getting texts with the updates. And then there is the 80-something hold out who has neither social media, texting, or email. He gets a snail mail invite. While it sounds complicated, it’s easy once you figure out who gets their info where. Once the invites go out and the fun begins as you try to put together a potluck menu, decorations, someone to provide music, activities for the kids. My secret to success is lots of communication and always being the one who takes care of plates and napkins. I learned a long time ago you can’t always rely on others to be on time or know how much tableware it takes for crowd of 50+. There is nothing worse than having a crowd, lots of food to eat and no serviceware. The invite suggests things for which people can volunteer. Who is responsible for the Christmas decorations, setting up a craft table, putting table cloths on the hall tables?  We know we need a quantity of appetizers, main dishes, sides, and desserts, and the trick is to be sure there is a good variety as well. What about something to drink?  So, after years of practice, I have discovered that weekly updates to include who’s doing what and what’s still needed are the most important aspect of making it all work. When you’re about ten days out from the party and still have no volunteers to don the red suit, or find yourself without any side dishes, the coordinator (yours truly) can reach out to those who R.S.V.P.’d but didn’t tell what they’re bringing and guide them in the right direction. This year’s party was perfect. There was more than enough food – appetizers ranged from a savory cheese cake to Swedish meatballs.  Our main course included Italian beef, ham, sloppy joes, and mostaccoli with meat sauce and fresh cheese.  There was a faro side dish with Brussels sprouts, kale and mushrooms, fresh green beans, and a fruit plate (that we forgot to put out!).  We had a games and crafts coordinator for the kids’ table. The little ones colored pictures and made snow globes to take home. Games like musical chairs were played by the kids and adults alike with only one minor injury to an overzealous adult who shall remain nameless.  One of our nieces made a dessert table where the place settings and arrangements were as artistic as the edible treats.  Santa Claus arrived a little early this year, leaving the children with toys and games to enjoy until the party ended.  And when the party was over, there were plenty of helping hands to clean up the hall and put it back in pristine order so that the CCD classes scheduled for the morning could be held without a hitch. It just doesn’t get any better than that! I wish all of you a holiday season filled with parties and celebrations that are as awesome as was our family party this year. Merry Christmas to all!placesettings

Fall Colors Make for a Lovely Season 0

FallLeavesAs the weather turns, our thoughts move from picnics and beach parties to back-to-school, Major League Baseball World Series, football parties, and Halloween costumes. Autumn is a special time, especially in the Midwest. Evenings are cooler. Days are a little shorter. The bronze of sun-kissed skin begins to pale. Families with children resume a pace where activities begin in the late afternoon or on weekends.  And, perhaps we make the first of many pots of soup or chili. I look with anticipation for the changing of the leaves. I love their spectacular spray of color, a picturesque reminder that the days are getting shorter and it is time to keep a sweater nearby. Ever since my childhood days, fall has been my favorite season. I watch in awe as the trees change from green to yellows, red, and orange and then slowly lose their leaves revealing the skeleton that stands ready for the winter months.  And while I understand that dropping the leaves is a necessity for the tree’s survival throughout the coldest months, my sensibilities are tickled by the fact that trees undress to prepare for the coldest months while we layer up to stay warm. Looking at and photographing trees is a fascination with me. During my first photography class in 1979, I spent hours looking at and taking photos of trees from several angles, including lying on my back. One year I photographed a tree outside my window on the same day each month so that I could compare its appearance over time.  For many years I worked 10 miles east of here and would alter my route in the autumn just for the opportunity to drive past Harms Woods and take a peek at the changing colors.  Without fail, a tree changing color will bring a smile to my face. Hopefully you can enjoy the fall season. If it helps, Card & Party Giant has a new selection of fall party ware and decorations that are sure to bring color to your autumn events.  The festive patterns for dinnerware, napkins, and decorations are new for the season, many featuring my favorite – leaves in their fall color splendor!