Christmas Party Planning Ideas

Are you hosting a Christmas party this year?  If so, you may be feeling a little stressed.  Have you started planning yet?  It doesn’t have to be crazy if you put a little thought into it.  Here are some Christmas party planning ideas that may make your holiday gathering easier to pull together.

If you’re doing a gift exchange, decide on the rules.  Is everyone buying for everyone else?  Are you doing a Dirty Santa game?  What kind of dollar amount should each person spend on a gift?

Are you having a full meal, finger foods, or just snacks?  Decide what, if anything, your guests should bring.  Plan out your menu and make what you can ahead of time.  Be sure to include some healthy snacks for those who don’t want to eat a lot of sweets or may have a restrictive diet.  Also be sure to have a variety of beverages, too.

What type of entertainment will you have?  Some people like to play games or dance at their parties.  Space may be an issue for dancing, but if you have a large table or several folding tables, you and your guests can enjoy board or card games.  Some people forgo games and just have a gathering where people can talk and visit.  You can also lead your guests in Christmas carols, or just have some soft music playing in the background.

Will your party have a theme or central aspect to it?  Some people like to base their parties around the gift exchange, but for others, the meal is the important part.  Some parties involve watching a holiday classic or going out to see Christmas lights.

Are kids coming to your Christmas party?  If so, you’ll want to have activities for them to do.  This may include watching a kid’s holiday show in another room or playing games.  If the weather permits, kids can even make snowmen or have a snowball fight while the adults talk.  Of course, make sure all kid activities have the proper supervision.

Keep the decorations simple with bowls of red cranberries, evergreen boughs placed around the buffet area with cinammon snd small ornaments.  Consider ordering a pretty Christmas centerpiece from your favorite florist.

Don’t get stressed out over your Christmas party.  Remember, it’s supposed to be fun!  Be sure to leave yourself a little time between all the preparations and the actual party to rest, or even take a quick nap, so you’ll be refreshed when your guests arrive.

Gift Giving Suggestions and Tips

Tis the season to be jolly…and to do a lot of shopping.  While some people don’t get into the gift-giving that comes with the holiday season, many people do at least exchange small trinkets.  However, there’s a certain amount of stress that goes with giving gifts, especially if you don’t know what to buy a person or are on a limited budget.  However, there are a few ways you can make your Christmas gift giving a little easier.

•    Make a list of everyone you’re buying gifts for, what your budget is, and what you’re going to get them, if you know.  This will help ensure you don’t spend way more than you were planning, and it will also help save you time.  You won’t be wondering aimlessly around the mall looking at things—you’ll have a plan!

•    Shop early if possible.  Waiting until the last minute means dealing with crowds and facing the possibility of not finding what you want.

•    Shopping online also makes the holiday season less of a pain.  However, again it’s very important to shop early.  Otherwise, you may have to either pay for fast shipping or wait until after Christmas to give your gift.

•    If you have family or friends spread across the country, it’s usually convenient to send a Christmas centerpiece with flowers, a poinsettia, or even a fresh, decorated Christmas wreath from a local florist.  In the DC Metro areas, check out MyFlorist’s Christmas flowers, centerpieces and poinsettias.

•    Don’t be afraid to ask someone for gift ideas.  It’s better that you ask than get them something they already have or don’t need.

•    Keep all your receipts just in case, especially when buying electronics (something may be defective), fragile items (things can get broken while being shelved in the store), and clothing (not all brands are sized the same).

•    Food is always a good gift, especially if you know what someone likes.  Desserts, cheese, and candy are hard to beat.  Be certain the person doesn’t have a medical condition and needs to avoid certain food, of course.  A bottle of wine is also a good gift for some people.

•    Gift cards aren’t always a bad idea, and they aren’t always seen as impersonal.  For those who often eat out, a gift card to a restaurant would be appreciated.  College students might enjoy a gift card to Starbucks.  Instead of guessing what books someone might want, get them a gift card to a bookstore.

•    You don’t have to buy all of your gifts.  If you knit or crochet, make someone a hat, scarf, or blanket.  Scrapbooks are great gifts, too, as are original pieces of art.  Get creative!  Sometimes, in fact, handmade gifts are much more personal and touching than something bought at a store.

The Spirit of Christmas

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What is the spirit of Christmas?
What is the spirit of Christmas?

nd this time of year, many people start talking about the spirit of Christmas.  But while it’s talked about often in a general sense, few people really take the time to define what the spirit of Christmas really is.  We’re just expected to know, it seems like.  What does it mean to have the Christmas spirit?

One of the reasons the spirit of Christmas is so hard to define is because it’s a very personal thing.  Ask ten people what they believe the spirit of Christmas is and you’ll get at least a dozen different answers.  Of course, saying that the Christmas spirit is something you have to discover for yourself is something of a cop-out.  Here are a few ideas as to what the spirit of Christmas is all about.

For some, it’s all about being with friends and family.  This is especially true for those who live far from their family and rarely see them.  Gathering with their relatives, exchanging gifts, eating great food, and just being together fills their hearts with love and joy.  You don’t have to live far from your family for this to be your Christmas spirit.  In fact, you might live with several of your family members and still make them the central part of Christmas.

For others, the spirit of Christmas is religious.  They find their happiness in attending a Christmas church service and in sharing in the spirit of their religion with others.  This sharing and feeling of community is very important, especially to those who may not have close family or friends. 

Another meaning of the spirit of Christmas is in giving to those who are in need.  Helping out at a soup kitchen on Christmas Day, donating warm clothing to the homeless, or even giving a few dollars to one of the Salvation Army bell ringers who stand outside the mall gives some people that warm, happy feeling often associated with the spirit of Christmas. 

These are just three possible things that the spirit of Christmas can be.  They may not be what you consider the Christmas spirit, and that’s certainly OK.  However, it may give your holiday season a little more meaning if you take a few minutes and consider what the spirit of Christmas is to you.