Monday, December 20, 2010

Creative Gift Wrapping Idea

Do you wind up throwing out a lot of extra pieces of unused wrapping paper after each wrapping session?  So do I.  Here's a GREAT idea from One Charming Party.  Simply use 2 different coordinating papers and cover the seam with a ribbon.  GENIUS!!  This works for birthdays and other occasions too - not just for the holidays.

I can't wait to do this with my next few packages I have to wrap!

Photo from

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Big Thanks to The Busy Budgeting Mama

A big thanks to The Busy Budgeting Mama for featuring my pink zebra christening dessert table on her blog yesterday!  What an honor!!

If you've never visited The Busy Budgeting Mama, I highly recommend heading over there right now!  Natalie is definitely a Super Mom!  Her blog has great ideas and inspiration.  She also has great Tutorials - check them out!

In addition to her blog, Natalie is also the Creative Director of Pretty Paperie.  Paper Paperie is a great Etsy shop full of beautiful party printables to fit all of your party needs.  You can save 20% on all prinatbles through tomorrow using code JOY14.
Here's a sampling if items from her shop:

Thanks again Natalie!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ever Wonder About How Much Alcohol to Buy for a Party?

Worry no more, with's Booze-O-Meter.  Just use their simple calculator and voila!!  It will even calculate how much ice you'll need! 

Image from

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How to Host a Holiday Gift Exchange

Gift exchange parties are a fun way to enjoy one aspect of the holidays (gift giving) without the pressure of buying gifts for everyone at the party. If you want to plan a gift exchange party, there are three popular, but different options. Here are tips for each one, as well as some of the pluses and minuses.

Photo From Two Yorks and a Bean

Secret Santa — Everyone draws one name and does NOT REVEAL IT. This is an extremely crucial step. Once everyone has picked, the name they chose is the person they will buy a gift for. It is also good idea to set a price cap to make gift buying easier and fair for everyone participating. On the day of your gift exchange party, have everyone put the gifts into a pile with the designated names on each of the gifts. Then, let each person open their gifts and find out who their secret Santa is!

Things to consider:
- The gift giver knows who they're buying for. This can either be good or bad, depending on the people involved.
- This type of gift exchange requires some coordination in advance of the event to notify guests about the person they need to shop for.

Photo from

Yankee Swap — With a Yankee Swap, guests bring wrapped, unmarked presents to your party. Again, it's helpful to set a price cap. During the party, each guest chooses a number. When it's time to open the gifts, the person with #1 chooses the first gift from the pile, opens it, and shows everyone else. Then, #2 selects a gift from the pile, opens it, and has the option to either keep it or trade with gift #1. This continues until everyone has opened presents. The person opening the present has the option to either keep the gift they selected OR trade with anyone who has already opened a present. At the end, the person with #1 has the option to choose from any of the gifts. This is what makes the Yankee Swap fun and entertaining.

Things to consider:
- Anyone can potentially end up with anything so gifts need to be gender neutral and relevant to any guests in attendance.
- Depending on how many people are participating, a Yankee Swap can take longer than a Secret Santa where everyone can open presents at once.

Photo from

White Elephant — A White Elephant gift exchange is similar to a Yankee Swap in how it works, however the gifts are typically "gag" gifts or items of little to no value to the gift giver. They are often items that the gift giver has around their home that they no longer use or items that they have received as gifts and don't want. On the day of the exchange, have everyone draw a number. Beginning with 1, everyone will choose and open a gift. The person to go will make a choice of whether to open a gift or to "steal" an already opened gift. If they steal a gift, the person with the stolen gift has an option of stealing from someone else, or opening a new gift. This continues until somebody decides to stick with their gift. NOTE: You cannot steal the gift that was just stolen from you. This process repeats until all the gifts have been opened and claimed.

Things to consider:
- The gifts are not typically items that people would actually want or need, however this type of gift exchange is often the funniest.
- Guests don't need to buy items to participate in a White Elephant–they can bring something from home.

Have fun!

Monday, December 6, 2010

7 Tips for Planning a Christmas Dinner

I've been married for 5 years and this is the first year I haven't been stressed out about entertaining for the holidays. We usually have about 15-18 people over on Christmas Day. Here are some tips for planning a stress-free Christmas Dinner.

Photo from Southern Living

1. Figure out how many guests will be attending at least two weeks ahead of time, and decide how you arrange the table and make room for additional tables if necessary.

2. Plan your menu at least two weeks ahead. A good rule of thumb is to plan for each person to eat between one and two pounds of food.

3. Organize shopping lists and try to list the items the way you usually navigate your grocery store. This will save you time in the store while shopping.

4. Empty out as much of the refrigerator as possible one week ahead. Get rid of everything that you won't need. The more space in the fridge, the better.

5. If you're baking cookies for the party, prepare the cookie dough in advance and freeze it. If you're serving a decorated cake, make and bake the cake parts a week or more ahead of time, wrap them well in plastic wrap and freeze them until the day before. Frozen cakes are easier to decorate anyway.

Photo From Lovin from the Oven

6. Set the table one or 2 days in advance.

Photo from Best Ribbon & Trim

7. Peel and cut all vegetables two days before. Carrots and potatoes can be stored in ice water in the fridge; onions, celery and other vegetables must be kept dry and wrapped well.

Photo from Inmagine

Happy Planning!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

DIY Candy Cane Topiary Trees

Need a quick and in expensive holiday centerpiece?  This Candy Cane Tree may be just what you are looking for!

Head on over to Pizzazarie for  for more photos and directions.

Photo from Pizzazzerie

Happy Decorating!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fresh Cedar Alphabet Wreath from Ballard Designs

I've been admiring the Fresh Cedar Alphabet Wreath from Ballard Designs for many years and this year I am finally ordering one!  Makes a perfect holiday gift too!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sweet Skewers - Holiday Treats!

Looking for a special treat to add to your holiday meal? How about a gift for Aunt Molly? Party Favor? Gift for a co-worker? Sweets Indeed has the perfect holiday treat - Sweet Skewers!

Sweet Skewers from Sweets Indeed are the perfect dessert, gift, favor and even stocking stuffer! Custom Sweet Skewers are handmade to order with the freshest ingredients. They are served on a 9 inch stick and topped with a gourmet lollipop and weigh over half a pound. Each one comes individually wrapped and tied with a festive ribbon.

Reserve your Sweet Skewers today!