Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Parties, Crafts and Decorations

I'm going to go over the holidays of the year in the order of their arriving and give tips and advice for having fun celebrations on those holidays.

For Valentines Day as a child my parents always helped me make a box or container to put the Valentines inside. This was the funnest part of Valentines Day for me. Once my brother made/painted a cardboard castle with a string to operate the drawbridge! How creative! However, my most awesome Valentines container was made out of Papier-mâché. (a process where you get an air filled balloon and cover it in a mix of flour and water then place newspaper strips all over it in several layers, as the newspaper and flour dries up it hardens. After the Papier-mâché is fully dried (couple days) you can pop the balloon, cut a hole in it, then paint it pink or red and wah-la! You have a Valentines Day container!

St Patrick's Day can be a lot of fun. I remember one memorable St Patrick's Day a few years back where we set up a treasure hunt for my nieces and nephews to find. To make a treasure hunt you cut up a bunch of small pieces of paper and begin putting clues on them. The first clue could be like this "Go to the fridge and look for a clue there." On the fridge you could have a clue (all a "clue" is, is a piece of paper with writing on it that is taped to something) that says something like "The next clue can be found somewhere on the kitchen table." Keep making a bunch of clues, and include some riddles if you must. Eventually at the end of the treasure hunt the nieces and nephews found a great "treasure" of green ice cream, green cookies and of course green drink. (lime drink I think?)

The Fourth of July is also a really cool holiday for my family. Fireworks always brings out the pyrotechnic child within us all. One cool way to celebrate the Fourth of July is to go online and find a company that sells and ships fireworks. (This is especially useful for people in states that don't allow the sale of Roman Candles, Bottle Rockets and Firecrackers etc) Once you got your fireworks go and buy a remote control helicopter or truck and with that you can tape fireworks to the R/C toy and run them all around the place! The kids will freak out and have some serious fun! (be sure and keep the kids a safe distance away from the igniting fireworks!)

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays that I like to get into with that fun, mysterious, and sometimes scary mood. For elementary aged kids its fun to make paper pumpkins. Start by getting some colored paper and cut out pumpkin shapes with the orange paper, then cut out the eyes, face and nose out of the yellow paper and glue them to the orange pumpkin shaped paper. Cut out and glue a green stem to the top of the pumpkin to finish it. Another really fun thing to do for Halloween night is to make a bunch of dummies by filling clothes up with newspaper and sewing it all together. (be sure and use old holed up clothing) Once you have a couple of dummies made (you can use Halloween masks for their faces, then here comes the best part: Put on some old clothes yourself, stuff some newspapers into your long sleeved shirt and pants to make you look all lumpy and fake, then lay limp somewhere in the yard and when trick or treaters come you come to life and scare the living crap right out of them! For Halloween parties you can put water in plastic gloves, tie it off and put them in the freezer, then when its time for the party, take the gloves out of the freezer and remove the glove from the hand shaped ice inside it and place that hand shaped ice inside the juice bowl! Really creepy!

Christmas is by far the most celebrated holiday of the year. If you have kids you can make a paper chain with the amount of chain links corresponding to the number of days left till Christmas, each day you remove a single link as the count down till Christmas has begun! For Christmas parties its always awesome to have a "White Elephant" party where everyone brings one wrapped present and puts it in the pile. Then everyone sits in a ring and you start with one person who gets to choose a present from the pile, then the next person chooses from the pile OR they can take a present that some one else got from the pile. You can have your present taken from you only twice, the third present you get cannot be taken from you. At the beginning of the game everyone donates 2 dollars to the bowl. At the end of the game everyone votes on who's present that was given was the best and that person who gave the present gets all the money! When it comes to setting up Christmas lights most people put them up outside on a tree or around the windows but I'm here to tell you that that is only half the fun! Put some Christmas lights up inside your front room and kitchen to liven up the mood for a nice cozy bit of Christmas decorating! To put lights up along the wall buy some tiny nails from a hardware store and set them up in the shape you want your Christmas lights to be in.

Living Christmas trees are fun but I have a severe warning for you if you do choose to get a real tree: My aunt had her house burn down because the tree caught fire! She gave a child a candle to hold and she got busy doing something else, next thing she knows the front room is ablaze because the child had lit the Christmas tree on fire.  Keep fire AWAY from real Christmas trees, especially when they are dry!  Dry Christmas trees burn VERY fast!

For New Years Eve you can have a lot of fun staying up late playing games and eating food. One New Years Eve I had about 10 years ago we came to a dinner where you could only use your hands to eat, there were no forks, spoons, or knives! It was a blast! After that we pulled out some fun games like Baldurdash and Risk! Stay up late and have fun!