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.

Party On Chicagoland - Party On! 0

sportspartyIt is a great time to be a Chicago sports fan. On Sunday, the Chicago Bears defeated the Raiders in a home game. Their first win since last year! And if that inspires you to host a Chicago Bears football party on October 11th when the Bears face the Kansas City Chiefs, then you can stock up now on the party supplies that will add just the right touch to your table décor. But, if football just isn’t your thing, you can tool up for Wednesday night’s Wild Card game when the Chicago Cubs will face the Cincinnati Reds. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:08 (and for those who like superstitious premonitions – that’s 1908 in military time – or the last year the Cubs won the World Series). And again, we’ve got the party decorations, plates, napkins and other décor to set a table worthy of a World Series contender. Last, but surely not least, also on Wednesday, October 7th, the Chicago Blackhawks begin their season by raising the Stanley Cup banner at the UC before they face the New York Rangers.  That’s right, the only Chicago team to bring three championships in recent history, the Chicago Blackhawks are hosting their season opener on the same night the Chicago Cubs compete in the Wild Card game that determines their World Series destiny. If you’re a Chicago sports fan, I hope you have picture and picture and that you’re as ready as we are for a sports-themed party. We have decorations, table cloths, plates, napkins, and balloons.  Everything you need to make for a great Chicago sports themed party.  Stop by today!  

Halloween for Less 0

halloweenforlessHalloween is perhaps one of the most favorite holidays for children and adults alike. Kids love to dress up and look forward to their day of trick-or-treating for candy, lots and lots of candy!  Adults look forward to the excuse to dress up any way they choose - to hide their true identities or reveal alternate ones.  Children’s Halloween parties, once known only for bobbing for apples and scariest costume contests, now run the gamut of entertainment. Musical chairs played to the scariest music, a Halloween version of Twister (available at Card & Party Giant), a backyard treasure hunt for glow-in-the dark eyeballs, pumpkin decorating contests; these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to party-planning. From the simple to the macabre, there’s something for everyone this season. And, of course, from the simple to the macabre, there’s something for everyone at Card & Party Giant in Glenview or at its temporary Halloween store in Chicago. Yes, as you can imagine, Halloween is anything but a minor holiday for a store specializing in party supplies. The on-the-floor inventory features seasonal party supplies, Halloween decorations, Halloween-themed party games, and costumes. Costumes range from traditional ghosts and goblins to super heroes or cute, funny, sexy, and other scary attire.  Wigs, masks, make-up, tee-shirt costumes, and a host of accessories are easy to find and come in a variety of colors, designs, etc.   The Glenview store remains family-friendly throughout the season.  But with Halloween just around the corner, Card & Party Giant also has a specialty Halloween for Less location at 6610 Sheridan Road in Chicago. This store operates throughout the month of October, offering a selective inventory of costumes and Halloween accessories. In fact, it will be your best place for adult-themed costumes, even though the store also has plenty in the way of children’s costumes.    

Time to Shop Local for a Chance to Win Prizes 0

CPGSIgnAccording to Glenview Patch, the Village of Glenview’s Plan Commission recommended approval of Ten-Ninety’s request for a craft brewery and tasting shop permit. The Commissions’ recommended approval is scheduled for debate at the Tuesday, August 4 Village Board meeting. Hopefully after that meeting, we will know the fate of Card & Party Giant’s (CPG) former Glenview location. As indicated in prior blogs on this topic, CPG looks forward to seeing its former Glenview home occupied by a new business and signage.  While CPG relocated just up the road, closer to Lake Avenue, the 1318 Waukegan location is somehow missed by some of our seasonal patrons. We’re here with GView Nails and Samadhi Yoga.  The size of CPG’s store and inventory are deceiving from street view.  Customers often express surprise at the size of the store. If you haven’t visited us lately, Card & Party Giant invites you to a unique party shopping experience at 1318 Waukegan Road. Aisle after aisle is organized to help you find your Halloween costumes or costume accessories, general party supplies, a large selection of which are available and in stock.  A special wedding section is at the front of the store where you can select custom wedding invitations, and wedding accessories.  Party and bridal or baby shower supplies include elegant designs, party favors, bachelorette party supplies. Now is an especially good time to shop. CPG is participating in the Glenview Chamber of Commerce, shop local program, “Win with the Bear.”  During August, patrons can earn points for shopping with participating retailers and can enter for their chance to win a CPG gift certificate.   From greeting cards to gift wrap we’ve got you covered.  And, as always, we’re open seven days a week.      

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.

The Sport of A Piñata Party 0

pinataOne of the common party supplies used in Cinco de Mayo celebrations is a piñata. The sport of breaking a piñata that has been filled with small toys or candy is also popular at children’s birthday parties. And recently a customer called looking for one that her college-aged son wanted at his graduation party. The entertainment in having a piñata comes from watching blindfolded participants take turns swatting a stick or bat at a suspended piñata filled with candies or small prizes. The art is in keeping the piñata at bay so each participant lands only a few strikes and the piñata remains unbroken so that all participants have at least one turn before the final crack that sends a trail of prizes and candies to the ground. Since I knew the piñata to be associated with Cinco de Mayo, I assumed it was a Mexican tradition. However, in doing a little research I discovered that some historians believe its origins go back to the 14th Century in Europe while others believe it originated in China. Early traditions involved using a clay pot rather than the papier-mâché designs that are popular today. The Chinese tradition was associated with New Year and involved a container in the shape of a cow or oxen decorated in bright colors to symbolize a productive growing season.  After the container, often filled with seeds, was burst, the remains were burned and the ashes stored for good luck. The European tradition was associated with a Lenten celebration and was brought to Mexico in the 16th Century. When introduced in Mexico it was said to represent the struggle between man against temptation. Beating the piñata was symbolic of man’s struggle against temptation and evil.  Having lost its religious association, today the piñata is a popular party activity, especially at Cinco de Mayo and birthday parties. A large selection of piñatas in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes ranging from butterflies and race cars to rainbows and zoo animals, horses, and superheroes are available to complement a themed-party.