Throw the best party ever!

Happy Halloween!

What are some of your favorite things to do on this magical holiday? I love Halloween because it embraces three of my FAVORITE things:

1.) Treats involving apples and pumpkins (Yummy!)

2.) Lots of magical tales (Yippee!)

3.) PARTIES!

rainbow project

(Click the photo for a magical rainbow pumpkin project by Alexa Westerfield)

On this magical day, I thought I'd treat you to my top five tips on how to throw the best party ever!

Why listen to me? Nearly every week I plan and implement birthday and holiday parties for families. I've seen nearly every party theme and I often experience the perfect party scenario! This fun expertise has given me insight on which parties will work out fabulously and which parties will end up a stressful disaster. Here is my list of musts:

1.) KEEP IT SIMPLE.

I can't emphasize this enough. Children don't need bounce houses, pony rides or great-grandma Ann's famous 18 layer birthday cake. What they do need is for their family and friends to relax and have fun. The best way to have a stress free party is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Checklist:

Snacks and drinks

Games (an art project and/or an activity)

Playground

Smiles, hugs and plenty of love

Smiley

Some sort of favor to remember the magical day

magical stones

stone

2.) Activity

When it comes to an activity or game, make sure that all developmental stages can participate and that all guests (even adults) feel included in some way.

But don't stress out about finding the perfect activity or game (refer to tip #1).  There are hundreds of indoor and outdoor variations of tag to fit your party's theme and a simple art project--even just providing a few coloring or painting pages-- is always a crowd pleaser!

If in doubt or stressed about the mere thought of entertaining a large group of children, hire a professional. Trust me, we do this all of the time and we will make sure everyone leaves your party smiling. It might surprise you just how inexpensive professional support can be. Here are pictures from my own birthday storytelling program:

storytelling

emmy storytelling

emmyb

 

hazel

emmy tale

dance

silly story

Emmy's rainbow dance

3.) Location

Make sure the location suits your plans and always have a back-up plan should poor weather occur. If you are on a tight budget and your home is not an option for a party, then there are still many inexpensive places to rent a room or a picnic shelter. Call your local community centers, parks departments as well as churches.

If your summer party is outdoors, make sure that the children have a cool, quiet place to escape the hot sunshine. Also, provide plenty of fresh cool water as well as clean bathroom facilities. Similarly, if your winter party is outdoors, make sure that the children have a dry place to get warm.

awning

4.) Let go and be a child again!

Choose a theme that excites you and that makes you feel childlike again!  Your own positive energy and childlike excitement will have an enormous impact on your child and your guests.

Make a list of the of the colors, decorations, foods and activities that sound fun to you and go for it!

Make sure that your party is easy enough where you do not have to remain the host or hostess, but you can also let go and play!

This is a picture of the birthday girl's mother, Rachel. Not only does she love rainbows, but she is filled with magic, so this party was fun for her:

Rachel and Emmy

5.) Play it out

Imagine the worst case scenario and play it out in your head. Then take a few breaths to release your fears and worries...LET THEM GO. See how dropping that custom-made cake really can be funny?!

Now, step away from Pinterest and imagine YOUR party. Visualize the party and feel the party! See how everyone is laughing and smiling? That's because you kept it simple and you are having fun.

cake

Hopefully everyone enjoys a holiday packed with sweet treats, magical tales and a party or two today! Lots of love and magical rainbow pumpkins! Xx

Picture 3

P.S. Feel free to e-mail me with questions about parties or for more party advice! Or visit my Facebook page to keep in touch.

Magical activities for your holiday!

Hello again magical friends! Glad to see you back at the enchanted tree house so soon! Here is the second holiday blog post, enjoy! Xx This week a concerned teacher and friend told me she had to return her daughter's Christmas presents because her husband lost his job. She cried, "What can we do on Christmas if there are no presents to unwrap or toys to play with?"

Remember, money and gifts don't make your holiday special, your imagination and inner magic does! I have never had the funds for a Christmas celebration like I experienced whilst growing up, but every holiday since has been just as magical and memorable! Here are a few activities that I use to brighten up  my holidays...

1.)  Gingerbread House Contest. This Christmas we are having an extreme gingerbread house building contest. A simple box of generic graham crackers, colorful and textured inexpensive candies and bright icings are all you need for hours of holiday cheer! (Don't waste money on expensive icings, just make a cheap paste out of sugar, water and food coloring!)

2.) Oral history. Share your traditions or special stories about past magical holidays with your friends, your children or your partner. Remember that children (and adults, too) are sensory-oriented, so add in "treats" and visual aids to turn your story into more of a "show and experience" tale. For example, if your favorite holiday memory is making cookies with your grandmother, then find the recipe and make the same cookies while you share the tale.

3.) Storytelling game. Place 10 holiday treasures or unique items on the table. Have every participant choose an item and then take turns telling stories about these items. Stories can be false or true! Here are some ideas to try: Make up a holiday pourquoi (a story that explains an origin) about that bizarre piece of machinery you found in the garage. Or come up with an incredible fantasy about how the Elf on the Shelf saved the life of a giant polar bear who had fur like a pine tree!!

4.) Treasure hunt. Make small gifts (like coupons, sweet treats, finger puppets and crayons) more special by creating a holiday scavenger hunt. Write age-appropriate clues that include hide-and-seek activities, riddles and challenges. 

Here's an idea to get you started: Tell the players they have to call a relative and sing a holiday song in order to retrieve their next clue. (Be sure to call the relative in advance and give them the child's next clue). To make the challenge more difficult, let your child try to figure out which relative you chose. Hopefully several of your relatives will get a holiday serenade before your child finds the correct person.

Another idea for younger children would be to ask them to find tiny surprises that a little holiday elf or faerie left around your home. The possibilities are endless!

5.) Fill your day with a variety of holiday activities. Take a walk to enjoy the lights and the evergreens. Go sledding or make a village of snow people. Write and illustrate your own holiday storybook. Give your child the power of creating the entertainment. My favorite activity as a child was to put on holiday plays, musicals and puppet shows. (And dare I mention holiday charades around my family? This game will yield hours of laughter. And be warned, you just never know what's going to come out of Grandma Judy's mouth as she guesses!)

It doesn't matter what activity you choose, just make sure you fill your holiday season with BRIGHT COLORS, LOVE, LAUGHTER and MAGIC! And who knows, perhaps you will discover some new holiday traditions! Xx