Children have birthdays all through the year, including the winter months when there is possibly snow on the ground. Parents can still give their children a great birthday party even when it is too chilly to let the kids outside to run in the yard.
One of the easiest things to do for a kid’s birthday party in the winter is to have the party at an indoor activity center. This can include a bowling alley, laser tag facility, or other location that offers arcade games and prizes. Bowling alleys are great for smaller children because of the enclosed space. There are packages that parents can purchase for different size parties. Parents can also send out birthday party invitations to their child’s friends inviting them to the party. Laser tag is excellent for teenagers who want to have fun with their friends for their birthday, but want to be away from their parents. The parents can sit and talk with each other while the kids run and play for hours at a time.
If you don’t mind having children at your home, a birthday party at your house is still a popular idea. Send out party invitations a few weeks in advance and let everyone know when the party is and what the child is interested in. decorate the house in the theme that the child likes. Have cake, chips, and drinks for the guests as well as a few games for the children to play. If you would like to take the party a step further, invite a few of the child’s friends to spend the night. You can also make the birthday a sleepover by making kids birthday party invitations that ask a few close friends to spend the night and go to a movie. Take the children out to get pizza and then head to see a favorite movie that they want to see. Then head back to your house and set up your living room for a night of fun.
Other ideas for birthday parties include going to arcades and holding parties at church fellowship halls. Skating rinks are good for larger groups so that there is enough room for everyone to spread out. If you attend a church, ask if you can use the fellowship hall for a few hours. Decorate the hall and invite friends and family to the birthday party. You will need to clean up and make sure everything is back in order when you are done. There are many ideas for winter birthdays if you use your imagination.
Once all of the wedding invitations have gone out and all of the wedding planning begins to come to an end, it is time to think about one of the best parts of the whole event. The honeymoon trip!
WARM WEATHER TRIPS
Many couples, who have winter weddings, immediately think about warm, sandy beaches as their top honeymoon destination. It is easy to imagine trading the stress of all the wedding planning for a bottle of coconut tanning lotion and the company of your beloved. And, if you are a type A personality, then you might even be planning to combine sitting poolside, with writing out all of those wedding thank you notes.
Couples set on a warm weather trip should definitely consider Hawaii. It is beautiful in winter, as always, but also offers whale season, easily viewed from the Auau Channel, for animal lovers, as well as surf season along Oahu’s North shore for the sports minded pair.
The Florida Keys, via a drive from Miami, is a great choice for beauty and warmth, as well chic hotels and fresh sea food. Winter is a good time to take advantage of honeymoon packages in Orlando’s Disney World, as most of the children are back in school and the weather is generally nice.
Some couples may prefer something cool, such as a Colorado ski adventure. Aspen and Boulder, as well as many other cities’ hotels, offer custom ski and spa packages to honeymooners. With the beauty of elk season, luxurious ski lodges and enjoyable pubs, Jackson, Wyoming is another good winter destination.
OUT OF COUNTRY ADVENTURES
Argentina offers fabulous shopping, wine country and horseback riding to it’s Buenos Aires honeymooners. The cooler weather in India may also beckon adventurous couples to come and experience Jaipur’s Pink City and Agra’s Taj Mahal.
SPOTS TO AVOID
New York is magical at Christmas, but after that you are going to face unpredictable weather and possible interruptions of your honeymoon plans. Las Vegas, Nevada should also be avoided due to it’s reputation of hosting winter conventions and being somewhat crowded.
AN UNUSUAL PICK
The Ice Hotel in Norway beckons honeymooners with it’s icy, yet cozy rooms. Couples can enjoy drinks, hot tubs and, if lucky, a view of the Northern lights. Open for business every January and melting by spring, it is sure to be the most unusual vacation you will take!
Happy Holidays from the team at LookLoveSend! Amidst the shimmering lights, sparkling wine and shiny wrapping paper of the season, are you or someone you know also wearing a glittery new ring this season? In honor of the 19% of all engagements occuring in the month of December, we decided to share the top engagement ring trends of 2012. Which trend is your favorite?
Rings with color
Clearly fueled by Kate Middleton’s famous ring from the late Princess Diana, the darkest blue sapphires have become increasingly popular (and expensive) this past year. Indeed, the single sapphire with two smaller diamonds on each side is one of the most popular styles after the traditional single diamond solitaire. Yellow diamonds also seem to be in style for celebrity blondes (Carrie Underwood and Heidi Klum each have one) ranging in color from a pale lemon to bright canary yellow.
The pavé setting consists of many small diamonds set closely together which create the effect of a continuous surface of diamonds. The most widely-seen pave ring this year was the Twilight engagement ring which featured a large oval surface of encrusted diamonds instead of a single gem. Only time will tell if Twilight-inspired engagement rings will catch on…
The round diamond is no longer the go-to solitaire design. Celebrities and non-celebrities alike are choosing more interesting and unique cuts, like the cushion and emerald cut, which feature a rectangular shape and a unique facet structure. Kate Hudson and Reese Witherspoon both wear an emerald cut ring with distinct vintage style.
After the excitement and newness of the engagement ring subsides (a little) it’s time to start the fun wedding planning process. If you choose to send Save the Date cards, checkout the great diverse selection at LookLoveSend.com. All cards are printed on superior quality paper and order quantities over 50 ship for free.
All dinner party planning has several goals to ensure success. These include making quests feel welcome, comfortable and satisfied with a memorable meal. What better way to accomplish these goals than to serve comfort food that has been tweaked into gourmet status?
A traditional Monday night family meatloaf can be renovated into an entrée sure to please the most discerning meatloaf devotee. Meatloaf filled with a mushroom and sour cream mixture spiced with horseradish and Dijon mustard updates mom’s recipe. A turkey meatloaf can be turned into party fair that appeals to the eye as well as the taste buds by adding chopped apricots, flat leaf parsley and carrots to the meat mixture and glazing with apricot preserves. Meatloaves can also take on international flairs for themed menus. A South African inspired meatloaf uses lamb, curry powder, apples, raisins and almonds.
Add mashed potatoes to meatloaf to compliment a dinner party based on comfort foods. Update butter and milk flavored mashed potatoes with some roasted garlic and grated parmesan cheese. Adding chopped chives and sour cream adds color and flavor to an old standby side dish.
A few easy changes to the standard macaroni and cheese recipe can turn this side dish into a main course. Replace American cheese with a mixture of gruyere, mascarpone and Parmesan Reggiano and turn macaroni and cheese into a dish worthy of fine dining ranking. Serve with a salad of tossed field greens and a crusty artisan bread to round out this party menu.
Crusty artisan breads and cheeses such as Fontina, Havarti or gruyere turn grilled cheese sandwiches into the perfect luncheon entrée. Slices of figs or roasted green or red peppers nestled between cheese slices make taste buds sing. Add a cup of roasted tomato and roasted yellow pepper soup topped with a dollop of sour cream and the grilled cheese and tomato soup comfort food combination becomes an instant hit at a baby or wedding shower.
A hearty artisan bread also goes great with a comforting tasty stew. In addition to the carrots, potatoes, celery and onions add mushrooms, leeks and burgundy wine to a favored stew recipe and guests will rave about the culinary skills of the chef. A pork stew flavored with Granny Smith apples, apple brandy and hard apple cider will have guests asking for more.
Recipes abound that turn old fashioned comfort food dishes into gourmet dishes worthy of presentation to honored guests. Party invitations with an updated recipe included will fill guests with anticipation.
According to The New York Times and National Jeweler Magazine, December is the most popular month for couples to get engaged. This is probably in anticipation of the holiday season and gift opening when the groom wants to surprise his future bride with an unforgettable presesent. But now that you have the ring on your finger, you have many decisions and plans to make, the first of which is your wedding date.
Length of Engagement
Some couples want to get married immediately after receiving the ring. Other brides may prefer to have a long engagement that lasts a year or more so that they can adequately plan for their wedding. Consider the amount of time you want for wedding planning to help you determine the ideal wedding date.
After you decide whether you want to get married this year or next year, you should decide the season you prefer to get married in. Some factors include the weather, convenience for guests, and local tendencies. June and July are common wedding months, probably due to the summer weather and little chance for rain in most regions. However, you may prefer a winter wedding or a fall wedding if these seasons more align with the colors and decorations you prefer. You may also want to get married during an “off season” so that you can take advantage of discounts on wedding supplies and vendors.
The attire you want to wear may help you decide in which season to get married. Flowy summer dresses are most appropriate for a summer or beach wedding. If you want to wear sleeves, you are probably hoping to get married during a colder season. Short dresses will require warmer weather. Take these factors into consideration when deciding your wedding date. The time of day will also affect what type of attire is appropriate for your wedding, such as an evening black tie event or a less formal daytime event.
Once you have determined your wedding date, you should send save the dates. These cards give advance notice to individuals who live far away or will need advance time to schedule a trip to your wedding. You can also begin to order wedding invitations wedding invitations once you know the time and location for your event. Send the wedding invitations out no later than three months before the wedding.
Spotlight on America’s True Holiday Spirit
Don’t let the media fool you. The frantic mob scene images from this year’s Black Friday news coverage only tell half the story. Of course Americans know the holidays aren’t just about spending; we also focus on connecting with friends and family through gift giving, parties and sending of holiday cards.
In addition, Americans love to give through charities. We are at our most generous during the holidays, recognizing the needs of those less fortunate than us, regardless of our own position. 50% of charitable donations come during the months of November and December, making holiday giving our bright spot.
Here’s a look at our holiday spirit by the numbers:
- 74% of U.S. adults give during the holiday season
- $48 billion gets donated in the form of cash and goods
- Nearly half of that $48 billion is given by foundations ($20 billion)
What do we Americans like to give?
This holiday season anticipates donations of the following items:
- Clothing. More than 11 million articles of clothing
- Electronics. Over 580,000 electronic items
- Food. Americans will donate 387,160 food items
- Cars. More than 330,000 cars will be donated
- Christmas trees. 11,000 trees go to U.S. troops and their families
Popular American Charities
These non-profit organizations should top the charts again this holiday season:
- Toys-for-Tots. Toy drive for needy children sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps
- Make a Wish Foundation. Granting wishes every 40 minutes
- Operation Christmas Child. Christmas gifts for children worldwide through Samaritans Purse
- Christmas Spirit Foundation. Environmental stewardship (recycling, hurricane relief) and ongoing support of programs in education, youth camps, and Trees for Troops
- Angel Tree. Gifts for the children of an incarcerated parent.
Give With Your Next Purchase
Other ways you can make a difference include donations to non-profits who partner with retailers. For example, make a direct contribution or send a portion of proceeds with the purchase of your holiday cards and holiday party invitations.
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There’s no doubt this time of the year can at times be stressful for many of us. With less than one week to go before Christmas Eve, time is certainly running short. The top reasons people cite for getting behind with either their holiday cards or gift shopping tends to be one or all of the following:
- Can’t ignore the day job, obviously.
- Our kids become increasingly involved in more activities this time of year.
- Some years the energy and enthusiasm for decorating and wrapping gifts is stronger than other years.
- Family obligations and needs require more attention some years compared to others.
What to Do if You Miss the Christmas Mail Date
Even with the best of intentions, there will be years we can’t get our personalized holiday cards out on time. Maybe it’s because we didn’t get that perfect holiday photo. So what is that cut-off date and when should we admit it’s to late to send them out? We have two options:
- If you can get them post-marked by no later than the 24th, go for that “grace period.” Many on your holiday card list will be away and traveling and fully expect to receive the full bevy of holiday cards upon returning home.
- Consider sending out New Year’s cards. New Year’s cards are still a perfectly acceptable place to include:
- An annual family letter updating what’s happened the previous year.
- Pictures of the family or a special occasion.
- Gift cards for those extra special friends or family who you do not get to celebrate with.
I have noticed an increase in the New Year’s holiday greeting cards I receive. Many of these cards come from friends or family who do a lot of traveling themselves during the holidays, and have made a conscious decision to distinguish their card by making one celebrating the new year. Some of these cards don’t even arrive until well into the first or second week of January.
New Year’s cards available at LookLoveSend.com can be personalized just like holiday photo cards. Choose from a variety of designs for your personal photos and text, and choose from flat or folded cards. When you order 50 or more domestic ground shipping is free.
The New Year is only a few short weeks away, and if the social butterflies inside of you are screaming to host a New Years party, then you need to start planning fast. There are many things you will need to do and decide to start planning your party. Here are a few do’s and don’ts when planning your New Year’s Party.
Don’t wait until the last minute to send out your party invitation, as your invitees are already making their plans ahead of time. Be the one to get your holiday party invitations out first so you can have a better chance of having a well attended party.
Don’t provide the alcohol at your party. Save money and make it a BYOB party and ask that your guests keep it discrete, meaning, the use plastic cups instead of visual open containers. This will keep the pressure off your guests about hesitations they may or may not have with drinking alcohol out in the open.
Don’t let your guests go hungry. You don’t have to break out a four course meal, but have some snacks and hors d’oeuvres available either in one place or spread throughout the party.
Have a lot of space for your guests, and this depends on how many people you invite. You want your guests to feel comfortable, so provide them with choices, like indoor and outdoor areas to sit and visit. Create a different atmosphere in each room. For example, you may have a garage area for card playing, a den area for television and an outdoor area for a fire or music.
Do have a plan to offer rides home for guests that have had too much to drink. You may want to even have a place where they can rest or sleep for the night. Be a responsible host and take their keys at the door, and then hand them back out only after they have passed your tests or arranged for a designated driver.
When sending out the invitations, do express the things that are important to you like BYOB, having a designated driver or other things they can expect. This will make your guests feel more comfortable and decide whether or not they wish to attend your party.
Think you might be getting engaged soon? 19% of all engagements occur in December, more than any time of year including Valentine’s Day. But before you put a ring on it and starting thinking about save the date cards, here are the pros and cons of a December engagement. Read on and perhaps you’ll be swayed to either wait or go-ahead with your asking or accepting!
Pros of a December engagement
- The holiday season is a great opportunity to spend time with extended family on both sides. Having your families nearby is a meaningful way to include them in your engagement celebration.
- The holidays are full of moments that easily lend themselves to a proposal. Decorating the tree and passing a new sparkling ‘ornament’, or building up the week’s Hanukkah presents leading to the ultimate gift of a ring.
- The general anticipation and excitement of Christmas and New Year’s Eve can set a wonderfully festive tone for your wedding proposal evening.
Cons of a December engagement
- Be aware that the engagement may be overshadowed by the holiday season. Consider if your partner would rather have a wedding proposal on its “own” day, instead of on Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
- The holiday season can bring a lot of stress, and suddenly having to think about wedding planning on top of it all may seem overwhelming to some.
- Your proposal may not feel very private or intimate with so many family members around.
Whether your preference is a fun and rowdy proposal amidst family or an intimate moment just for two, we extend our best wishes at this special time. And when your wedding planning gets underway; consider the diverse selection of wedding stationery available at LookLoveSend.com. Our stationery selection features beautifully coordinated elements such as save the date cards, wedding invitations, and wedding thank you cards. Order quantities over 50 ship for free.