Commencement Ceremonies 2016 0

We’re just getting ready to turn the corner on the spring holidays and head into graduation season.  In our community, there are commencement celebrations for elementary students moving into middle school, for middle school students moving on to high school, for high school students who will begin their college or career experiences, and for local college students. Every town, village, and city within ten miles any direction from the party store is having a graduation celebration between May 17th through June 17th (a list of commencement dates is at the end of this blog post). Graduation parties are a joyous, memorable time. Grandparents and parents gather round to mark the right of passage from one life phase to another. The children are happy because they know their summer break is about to begin, and almost everyone is excited about the prospects of moving on to something “bigger and better.” Planning a graduation party is easier today than ever before. You can visit our Card & Party Giant party store online to get ideas about what’s available. You can stop in the Glenview party store and check out the inventory that will fill the shelves as the Easter holiday party decorations and supplies are rotated off the floor and graduation party supplies take a place front and center! Card & Party Giant is your local party store for graduation party supplies with a large selection of 2016 Graduation party decorations, cards, balloons, custom banners, and more at the Glenview store. Call ahead for balloon orders and deliveries.  In addition to party supplies and other party incidentals, Card & Party Giant also has chairs and tables for rent, and offer a limited selection of local school logo party supplies (OLPH, Loyola, Glenbrook South, Glenbrook North). To help you plan, following is a list of local graduation dates: May 17th Oakton Community College (Des Plaines) May 22nd - Evanston Township High School (Evanston) May 22nd - Maine West High School (DesPlaines) May 22ndNew Trier High School (Wilmette) May 28th Loyola Academy (Wilmette) May 28thRegina Dominican High School (Wilmette) May 29th - Niles North High School (Skokie) May 29th - Niles Township High School  (Skokie) May 29th - Niles West High School (Skokie) June 1stOLPH (Glenview) June 2ndBaker Demonstration School (Wilmette) June 5th Glenbrook North High School (Northbrook) June 5th Glenbrook South High School (Glenview) June 7th - Ida Crown Jewish Academy (Skokie) June 17th Northwestern University (Evanston)    

Purim Costumes for Boys and Girls 0

PurimPurim is only a few weeks away and already customers have started their shopping, looking for just the right Purim costume and Purim costume accessories. One young man selected a pirate costume, another a skeleton. Card & Party Giant has a fairly extensive selection of boys costumes, many of which are no longer available at other retailers.  The White Ninja costume, Spider Man, Captain Jack Sparrow costume, or other similar themes are available in various sizes.  There are also Superhero tee shirts that are not only a quick and easy way to dress up, but also can be worn long after the Purim holiday has passed. There are, of course, also plenty of lovely girls costumes from the beautiful Queen Esther to the Shabbas Queen, from the Gypsy Princess to the Daisy Hippie Tie Dye costume.  And don’t forget to check out the Superhero costumes that include none other than Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Batgirl. For the do-it-yourself families, beards, bandanas, suspenders, socks, hats, etc. all are out on the floor so customers can see the large selection of Purim costume accessories.  We have the largest selection of Purim Costumes in Chicago for boys, girls, men, and women. We also have lots of fun and silly adult costumes. We carry dress-up and costume accessories for the Purim celebration. Stop by our Glenview store to see our year-round costume selection, discounted heavily for the Purim season, we guarantee to have the largest costume inventory at unbeatable prices.

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.

Thanksgiving, more than a feast 0

Thanskgiving3This week many of us will gather with family and friends. We will sit at tables set with Thanksgiving napkins, the good china or Thanksgiving-themed place settings. There will be centerpieces to delight our sense of sight and aromas to tease our sense of smell. In many families, a tradition is honored where each person takes a moment to share what they are thankful for. In most families, no matter what football games are being played, everyone comes to the table to feast together. In this holiday there is a warmth like no other. Yet, today our world is in turmoil. These are troubling, heartbreaking, and frightening times for many, making it imperative that we take the time to think about what we have. I know I and many others in this country have much to be thankful for. We will be together with our families and friends. We will honor the memory of a time when the natives of this land shared their resources with the settlers of this “new world.” They are our forefathers and we replay the meal with a menu that includes some of the fall harvest favorites, turkey with stuffing, and pies made from the fruits of the season. Thanksgiving is the time when even those who do it no other time of the year will stop and reflect about all they have: Family and friends at our Thanksgiving table; a home - warm and safe from the elements where we enjoy the holiday festivities. And there is so much more that we can add to that list. Almost anyone reading this blog will also be among those of us who have resources sufficient to purchase food to put on our table. And no matter how stressed we are, we have enough time to plan a menu, shop for food and party goods. Hopefully we have good health and the capacity for joy and laughter. However you spend this Thanksgiving, please remember to take a moment and express what makes you feel thankful this year. And, of course, be sure that are sufficiently sated so that you have the energy for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or however else you proceed to prepare for the winter holidays of Hanukkah and Christmas. Happy Thanksgiving.

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.