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Ugly Sweater Party for the Christmas Season

3 different ugly sweater color

We all have a few ugly sweaters tucked away, deep in our closets. The terrible holiday garb our moms made us wear no matter how much we complained or struggled to get away. It’s almost like they were made with hideous designs and scratchy materials on purpose. The sole purpose must have been to make us as uncomfortable as possible, in more ways than one. And for some odd reason, we never seem to throw them out. So they always end up laying in wait for that special time of year. But things have changed because now we wait for that magical time with glee. We are ready to dig them out, dust them off, and put them on for a ridiculous party. All because an ugly sweater party is the best way to blow off steam during a stressful time of the year.

Planning the best ugly sweater party depends on who you are inviting. If it is strictly an adult party, you can consider cocktails and adult games. But it can be a lot of fun for kids too, and you will want to have special treats and activities geared towards your younger guests. I’ve been to several different ugly sweater parties thrown by youth groups, my family, and now my over-21 friends. They’re all a blast as long as you gather a fun group of people who are down to have fun during the holiday season.

Only The Ugliest Sweaters Allowed

ugly sweaters for ugly sweater party theme

Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay 

The sweaters are the main point of an ugly sweater party. You need to plan ahead to give people plenty of time to get a sweater and do some party prepping of their own. Mainly because they will have no excuse to show up in boring clothes if you give them a few weeks to prepare. In fact, they might even go completely over the top. Sending out invitations right after Thanksgiving is a great timeline to follow. Maybe even before Thanksgiving if you know a bunch of people who also plan holiday parties.

Consider making your own ugly sweater

different kinds of ugly sweater

via Giphy

Half the fun of an ugly sweater party is getting ready for it. If you like getting crafty, you might even want to make your own. There are plenty of ideas for making your own ugly sweater now. Ugly sweater parties are exceedingly popular these days, and I don’t see them dying out in the near future. Since everyone gets so excited for them, there are many fun ideas that might inspire you to go a little wild. Making your own sweater gives you the perfect opportunity to have some fun before the party even begins.

Where to buy an ugly sweater

Ugly Sweater Clothing Shop

We all know that the holiday season can suck you in and sweep away all of your time before you even know what happened. It’s a blur of buying and wrapping gifts, baking cookies, and decorating your house inside and out. So some of us simply won’t have the extra time to make a sweater even if you want to.

Luckily, there are plenty of other options online and in stores. The main issue when buying in a store is the fact that they all seem to stock the exact same sweaters. You run a high risk of wearing the same hideous article of clothing as someone else, and what fun would that be? I recommend checking out the online options like Amazon. They have a fantastic and unique selection from ugly to weird to highly inappropriate (for kids) to match any sense of humor and any age.

Host an ugly sweater contest

If you want to motivate people to find the wackiest outfit, consider including an ugly sweater contest. Good competition always inspires a little extra fun. The best way to run the contest is to make it a game. Everyone can vote for their favorite ugly sweaters. Get a ballot box and consider coming up with silly prizes like fanny packs, ribbons, or ugly sweater ornaments.

Decorations Just For An Ugly Sweater Party

woman decorating for a party

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay  

You don’t need to go insane with the decorations. They might add a festive flare, but the price can add up quickly when there are so many other things to focus on. But it is a great way to add to the humor with ugly sweater party garlands or tablecloths. It would also be entertaining to add some drink labels to your wine. At least, if you are planning on having alcoholic beverages.

If you're going to have kids at the party, it could be fun to have them make decorations of their own or decorate gingerbread houses that have already been assembled. You might want to prepare for a mess, but it would give them something to do together. There are plenty of simple Christmas crafts that would be easy for them to make if you set up a kids craft table.

Fun Food and Drinks for an Ugly Sweater Party

Food and drinks are the areas we like to go a little wild. Keep in mind you could save some money by making it a potluck for your friends and family. That way you won’t be the only one in charge of feeding everyone at the party.

Appetizer Trays and Snacks

cupcakes on a serving plate

Image by HomeMaker from Pixabay

It's important to remember that you don’t need fancy snacks for a ridiculous party. The whole point is having fun and keep things light. There are some fantastic trays that everyone uses as a go-to option. Consider meat and cheese tray, a fruit tray, a veggie tray, and a sandwich tray. That will certainly cover all your bases.

If you’re feeling fancy, you might even add a fondue dipping station with a tray of goodies to dip in melted chocolate or cheese. But dips or cheeseballs are perfect options too because they are so easy to whip up ahead of time. Some group favorites are buffalo chicken dip, bacon cheddar ranch dip, and spinach dip. Throw in some chips and crackers, and you’ll have some merry guests.

Dessert Ideas

Making cute desserts to fit the holiday doesn’t need to be a pain. There are fabulous ideas for many clever desserts. You can even spice up normal desserts with holiday decorations like these cupcake wrappers with ugly sweater toppers. What could be more perfect for an ugly sweater party after all? Or make ugly sweater cookies and leave them blank for the kids to decorate.

Holiday desserts ideas for a party:

  • Rice crispy wreaths
  • Christmas tree brownies
  • Christmas light cupcakes
  • Melted Snowman cupcake
  • Reindeer Chow
  • Gingerbread cookie bars
  • Penguin Christmas cookies
  • Rudolph mint stuffed cookies

These are some adorable holiday desserts, but there is no limit to what you could make. You don’t even need to stay on theme because your guests only care if it’s tasty. You just get bonus points for making it cute.

Adult parties call for adult drinks

people drinking cocktail and doing some toast

Image by bridgesward from Pixabay

Now, not every party needs to be fueled by alcohol. We all like to think our party days are long behind us. But it can be fun to have cocktails as an option at an ugly sweater party because it’s a nice way to wind down for a second during all the stress of Christmas. Plus, only the people who want to drink are going to drink. So it’s nice to give them the option or let them know if it will be a bring-your-own event.

You also don’t have to stick to holiday drinks. They tend to lean towards minty or sugary concoctions. As a person who isn’t very fond of either, I highly recommend choosing drinks you love. Although, I’ve never known a person who turned down a delicious spiked apple cider. Christmas wine glasses and shot glasses are a fun way to decorate and all you need to keep your drinks looking festive.

Make a hot chocolate bar

If you are going to have kids at your party, it’s nice to give them something to be excited about too! Although if you’re honest with yourself, you know you’re just as excited about this suggestion. Making a hot chocolate bar is simple. You could even consider making your own hot chocolate that people can mix together for themselves. That is a great way to avoid too much waste at the end of the night.

Make sure you give them everything they could possibly need. It is a bar after all. So you will want to include marshmallows, crushed peppermint candy canes, sprinkles, whipped cream, and hot fudge. Add whatever else you can think of so people can get as creative as they want!

Activities Will Put Your Ugly Sweater Over the Top

The real fun at an ugly sweater party comes with the games. Keep in mind that you don’t need to have any if you think it will be too much trouble. Everyone will understand how many other things you have to focus on at this time of year. Getting all your loved ones in the same place for some lighthearted fun will already be a blast.

But if you start planning early enough, there are plenty of games that you can include in your festivities without having to stretch yourself too thin.

Group games

Group games are always fun because the only time you ever have enough people to play them is at a party. There are classics like charades or card games, but it would certainly add to your party to have some holiday games.

Ugly gift exchange

Let everyone know in the invitation if you will be playing this game. It’s as simple as it gets, but you will need everyone to bring something. You probably don’t want to pay for all the gifts yourself, since that can seriously add to the cost of the party.

Get everyone to bring a gag gift and have it wrapped before the party. Then have everyone sit together in a circle. Each person will choose a gift to steal and swap their gift with the person they stole it from. Once each person has had a chance to steal, everyone can open their presents to see that they ended up with.

This game is great for an ugly sweater party because it is just supposed to be funny. No need to worry about getting the perfect gift for anyone in specific like you would in a secret Santa gift exchange.

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Christmas trivia

If you have a bunch of friends who love trivia games, you could include this Christmas trivia game. You will need to do a little bit of preparation because you will need to either print out a game or make some note cards. The link provided has a mix of questions, and they vary in their levels of difficulty, but if you split the groups into teams, it should be fun and fairly easy.

simpson in a trivia game

via Giphy

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Gift wrap relay

I know this might seem like a just a kids game, but it can be fun for adults too. All you’re going to need are some boxes, wrapping paper, and some tape. Then have everyone split off into pairs. Each pair will tie one of their hands to a hand of their teammate. When everyone is ready, set two teams against each other. The goal is to work together to wrap a present faster than the other team. You can even make it a contest and move through the ranks until there is an ultimate winner!

Christmas version of Family Feud

Once I threw a baby shower for my sister, and I thought it would be fun to play a version of Family Feud. For that, I was able to find resources to give me baby specific questions and answers. It was fantastic, and almost everyone loved it. At least, everyone except that one Aunt who’s always overly competitive and challenges all your answers. But besides that, it was the best party game I had ever put together. I also found that there are many useful links to the holiday version of Family Feud. So you wouldn’t even have to overthink the questions, just copy them. Plus, this is the perfect ugly sweater party game.

Based on my experience I would recommend picking about eight questions from the website and setting up a poster board. Limiting the categories will keep the game from going on forever. Use a large piece of poster board to set up the game. Write all the questions and their top five answers in a grid. Then cover the answers with thick paper cutouts that have been attached with double-sided tape, I used cardstock. At the ugly sweater party, you will need one person to act as the game host and split everyone else into teams. After that, you can play like a normal game of Family Feud.

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Games just for the kids

Man holding the dice and ready to release it to win for the game

Image by F1 Digitals from Pixabay

The games listed above are a little advanced for younger kids, but the older kids might enjoy them. For younger kids, consider having simple games with a Christmas twist. Such as playing spoons with candy canes, musical chairs with Christmas carols, pin the nose on Rudolph, or Christmas bingo. You can get creative and turn kids games into the perfect games for an ugly sweater party.

Time to Throw Best Ugly Sweater Party of All Time

We are here to give you the best ideas you can use for your ugly sweater party. There’s no rules or guidelines to follow. It’s supposed to be a fun time to catch up with friends and family. So bust out the funniest or most horrendous ugly sweater you can find, make some awesome food, play some fun games, and blast those Christmas carols.

Have fun with it and don’t worry about the little details. While it might be your dream to throw an epic party with a little bit of everything, the real key is getting a fun group together. You can’t go wrong with a great group of friends.

Have you thrown an ugly sweater party? We would love to hear about your favorite food, games, or ugly sweater ideas in the comment section below.

Featured Image: Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

Minecraft Party Ideas For Your Little One

A kid wearing a MINECRAFT PARTY mask

If your house is anything like mine, Minecraft is often the go-to option on a rainy Saturday. My kids create and build in virtual worlds among cliffs and oceans. Minecraft is beloved by kids of all ages, and for many, it's their favorite game. If that's the case in your home, then it's of little surprise that you're looking for Minecraft party ideas. Picking an interest of your child's as a party theme is always a good idea.

Honestly, when my children started playing Minecraft, I was skeptical about the benefits of a video game. However, after a little research and watching them play, it was evident this isn't a standard game. Later, I even discovered that our public library is on board, offering Minecraft coding classes for children over summer vacations.

Why Minecraft?


Minecraft party cake

image source: flickr.com

Minecraft stands out among other video games because of its broad educational applications. Some teachers are even recognizing the benefits of using the video game for STEM activities. Of course, when it comes to kids, they love the game. But parents, rest assured, this one is a little different. Researchers say Minecraft has "been shown to have benefits for both learning and emotional growth."

So go ahead, plan that Minecraft party!

19 Minecraft Party Ideas For Your Little One


boy standing in front of a Minecraft image

image source: flickr.com

There are so many great items on the market for Minecraft party ideas, from basic supplies and decorations to little party favors and games, and, of course, food, you will be able to transform your party place into a pixel wonderland that is sure to please your miner.

Minecraft party ideas: supplies and decorations

birthday decorations

image source: flickr.com

First, you need the basics. Fortunately, there are plenty of products available when it comes to Minecraft party ideas.

1. Pixel Party Large Invitations

First, we will start with the invitations. Pixel Party Large Invitations measure five inches by seven inches and are printed on matte paper, making them easy to write on without streaks. These invitations are a favorite on Amazon, with reviews at 4.8 out of 5 stars on average. You'll receive 12 invites and 12 envelopes at a price range of $ to $$.

2. Blue Orchards Mining Fun Standard Party Pack

Next is the tableware for your Minecraft party! Our favorite is this Blue Orchards Mining Fun Standard Party Pack, which includes dinner and dessert plates, cups, and napkins for 16 party goers. Amazon customers give this set 4.5 out of 5 stars. You can purchase this party pack online at a price range of $ to $$.

3. Pixel Mine Crafter Style Party Tablecloth

You'll also need a fun tablecloth to round out your table settings. This plastic covering measures 108 inches by 54 inches, which provides ample coverage for a large table. Amazon customers rate this product at 4.0 out of 5 stars. This piece ranges in price from $7 to $11.

4. Pixel Cupcake Toppers And Wrappers

Whether you bake cupcakes, make some rice crispy treats, or go the store-bought cupcake route, these Pixel Cupcake Toppers and Wrappers are a Minecraft party idea sure to please everyone. This set includes 24 wrappers and 24 toppers. Overall, Amazon customers review these gamer party pleasers at 4.7 out of 5 stars. The price range goes from $ to $$.

5. Pixel Style Miner Party Balloon Pack

What's a party without balloons? The Pixel Style Miner Party Balloon Pack is perfect for your Minecraft party. This pack includes 25 pixelated balloons measuring 12 inches in diameter. Amazon customers are pleased with this product, giving it 4.6 out of 5 stars. These balloon packs range in price from $ to $$.

6. 'TNT Party' Hanging Swirl Decorations

Finally, no party room is complete without decorations hanging from the ceiling. Skip the solid-colored streamers and check out these 'TNT Party' Hanging Swirl Decorations. The package contains a dozen pieces, which includes 6 foil swirls without cutouts, 3 swirls with 7-inch cutouts, and 3 swirl decorations with 5-inch cutouts. This "Amazon's Choice" product reviews well, getting a near-perfect rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars. These decorations range in price from $ to $$.

Minecraft party ideas: party favors

minecraft toys

image source: flickr.com

The next Minecraft party idea is all about the party favors. Kids love them, and they add to the aesthetic of your party. We found these cute options that are sure to put smiles on the faces of everyone in the room.

7. Pixel Mining Inflatable Pickaxe Birthday Party Toy Favor

Equip your little miners with these cute inflatable pickaxes. These come in packs of 8 and measure 15 inches long by 10 inches wide. Your invitees will be very excited to have their very own pickaxe, just like they use on the video game! This product is also on Amazon's Choice list and has received 3.8 out of 5 stars on average. These inflatables range in price from $ to $$ per pack.

8. Katzco Pixel Sunglasses

Next, pixelated sunglasses are a great Minecraft party idea! Pass them out to the kids and watch their cool factor go through the roof. Amazon customers review this birthday party favor positively, giving it 4.9 out of 5 stars. You can find these sunglasses online ranging in price from $ to $$ per package.

9. Pixel Mine Crafter Style Character Wristbands

Spiders, skeletons, creepers, and diamonds, oh my! Pass out these Pixel Mine Crafter Style Character Wristbands to your little partiers, and they will be wearing them long after the party is over. These bracelets come in packs of eight, and each package includes two of each style. Amazon customers rate these bracelets 4.3 out of 5 stars. The character wristbands range in price from $ to $$.

Minecraft party ideas: activities and games

person with minecraft head

image source: flickr.com

Next, party games keep your invitees entertained and happy. You can modify and theme many traditional party games for Minecraft party ideas. To get you started, here are a few Minecraft party ideas.

10. Birthday Galore Mining-Pixel World Photo Booth Props Kit

Photobooths are all the rage and will create memories to last a lifetime. Mining-Pixel World Photo Booth Props Kit will match your photos with your party theme. Imagine looking back on cute pictures of your Minecraft party with your littles and these adorable props. Amazon reviewers give this prop package 4.1 out of 5 stars. You can get a package of 20 online for a price ranging from $ to $$.

11. Pin The Tail On The Pig

Do you remember playing pin the tail on the donkey as a child? Well, this game is Minecraft-themed as Pin the Tail on the Pig! Reviewers made a point to mention that the poster is on the small side measuring 13 inches by 19 inches. It also includes 12 little tail stickers. This game has a rating of 3.0 out of 5 stars from Amazon customers.

12. Minecraft Animal Scavenger Hunt

With a Minecraft Papercraft Animal Mobs Set, you can hide the crafted animals and have the children find them. Or, go more advanced and create a custom scavenger hunt. The children can also use them for their intended purpose and build them during the party. Amazon reviews show great customer satisfaction, with this item earning a 4.3 out of 5 star rating.

13. Minecraft Musical Chairs (Musical TNT)

The folks over at The Spruce have a long list of Minecraft inspired games to play with kids of all ages. "Musical TNT," which is musical chairs with a Minecraft twist, is one of our favorite Minecraft party ideas.

In this game, you will label one chair "TNT" and keep it in play the entire time. You will remove a single chair at the end of each round. Then the person stuck in the TNT chair is "out." It's also suggested to hide the TNT label on the bottom of the chair and to shuffle the chairs each round, which adds the element of surprise.

14. Mining For Diamonds

Another creative Minecraft party idea from The Spruce is to freeze small gemstones in ice cubes and give the kids spoons. They can chip away at the ice "mining" for their diamond. Plastic gems like SunRise Acrylic Diamond Shape Pirate Treasure are available through online retailers like Amazon. A bag will run between $ and $$.

15. Candy Scavenger Hunt

The blog Moms & Munchkins featured some adorable Minecraft party ideas including a fishing game and hidden chests. However, the candy scavenger hunt is by far our favorite.

To make this scavenger hunt, you will print a small "inventory" card and place it in a small pail. Then, you hide candies that look like key elements of Minecraft around your party area. Next, the kids search and fill their buckets with all the items listed on the card. You will notice that favorite candies like Dots, Swedish Fish, dark green jelly beans, watermelon fruit slices, and Robin Eggs are just a few things you can use to as inventory items.

Minecraft party ideas: food

party foods, cakes

image source: flickr.com

Finally, it's all about the food! You can have fun making party foods, but Minecraft party foods take that creative inspiration to the next level. There are a plethora of things you can do for Minecraft foods, but these are a few of our favorites.

16. Minecraft Rice Krispies Treats

First, The Chic Site has a perfect Minecraft party idea. You will thrill your party guests with these Rice Krispy treats made to look like blocks of ground from Minecraft. Ingredients are as simple as Rice Krispies, Cocoa Krispies, miniature marshmallows, butter, and food coloring.

17. Minecraft Elements Table

Next is your main food table. Snacks and treats at your party can be easily made to look like elements from Minecraft gameplay. DIY Inspired has some creative and fun ways to create those elements with food. For example, rock candy can pass for coal. Dirt finds a spot on the table as brownies. Bars of gold and iron are simply Hershey's Nuggets. Twizzlers candy makes perfect sticks of TNT that can be bundled or boxed. Our favorite is water represented by blue Jello -- so cute!

Also, the blog Catch My Party has free adorable tented food card printables for an elements table as a final touch.

18. Creeper Punch

Now, you can't have a party without some party punch. Creeper Punch is a recipe shared by the blog Totally the Bomb and is a take off a traditional party punch, except this one is creeper green! You will need three simple ingredients for this recipe: Sprite, Lemon-lime Kool-Aid, and lime sherbet. Can you just imagine the looks on their faces when they see this?

19. Minecraft Birthday Cake

Last, but certainly not least, what birthday party is complete without a birthday cake? And what Minecraft birthday party is perfect without a birthday cake that looks exactly like the cake block in the Minecraft video game?

So, if you're feeling especially adventurous, check out the tutorial on Eating on a Dime. With square cake pans and a free afternoon, you'll be able to whip up this stunning birthday cake that is sure to be a fan favorite.

Party Time!


children having a Minecraft Party

image source: flickr.com

Whether you go full-on "creative mode" and build a candy scavenger hunt for 12 or you're in "survival mode" and store-bought activities out of the box are just the right kind of magic -- your Minecraft party will be pixel perfect. In other words, get creative, let the kids get creative, and have a blast!

Most importantly, you're giving them a party they will remember for years to come, and that's what it's all about.

What are some of your favorite Minecraft party ideas? Share them in the comments below!

Most Popular Toy Brands for Your Child

teddy bear stuffed toy

Toys bring us back to our childhood. There's something lovely about watching children today play with the same toy brands we did. What's great is that many of the toys from yesteryear are still with us today. That makes it easy to match a toy to a child because chances are that you're already familiar with it. However, there are several new brands that you didn't have as a kid. Thanks to online retailers such as Amazon, and incredibly cheap and efficient supply networks which didn't exist in the '80s, small startups have as much of a shot as the larger brands. At the end of the day, this is great news for kids, and for the adults who want to buy them gifts.

As a father of two young children, and an uncle to a few older children, I've developed a reputation as the guy with the best gifts. I hit birthdays and Christmas out of the park. The truth is that I like buying toys just as much as they like receiving them because then I get to play with them too. When my son gets a new robotic dinosaur, the first thing he wants to do is play with me. Even my teenage niece loves to sit with me as we go through some complicated setup manual from a high-tech gift. My secret? A childhood filled with the best toys from the best toy brands.

Which Toy Brands Should You Gift?

baby playing with toys

Image source: Unsplash

There are some toy brands that we tend to stay away from because they're either lower quality or not appropriate. On the other hand, we are still in love with Playmobil. There is a whole world of fun with Playmobil that every child loves, regardless of age or gender. Also, Playmobil toys are sturdy and well-made and are proven to fire up imaginative play. Lego and Mega Blocks are other familiar brands that we love.

But before you rush out and grab a set, you need to determine some criteria for the person you're gifting. After all, the best toy brands to gift are only good if they go to the right person. So when you're choosing a toy, think of the age of the receiver, how they'll use it, the quality of the toy, and its price.

AGE​​​​​​​​​​


The first thing you need to consider when choosing a toy is the age of the receiver. A 2-year-old isn't going to get much use out of a complicated Lego set, while a 10-year-old could probably pass on the cute stuffed dinosaur. While each kid is different, you can stick to some general guidelines. A toddler will love a ball and some boxes. A pre-schooler likes lots of things, such as a box filled with cars and blocks and such. Once they're in school, playtime toys are hits, and older kids (including teens) love anything electronic.

Usage


The first thing you need to consider when choosing a toy is the age of the receiver. A 2-year-old isn't going to get much use out of a complicated Lego set, while a 10-year-old could probably pass on the cute stuffed dinosaur. While each kid is different, you can stick to some general guidelines. A toddler will love a ball and some boxes. A pre-schooler likes lots of things, such as a box filled with cars and blocks and such. Once they're in school, playtime toys are hits, and older kids (including teens) love anything electronic.

QUALITY


Of course, if the toy is cheaply made, then it doesn't matter how they use it because it's not going to last long. We find that a broken toy is more devastating to younger children, especially pre-schoolers. So it's best to find good quality toys for the three to five-year-old range. That being said, everybody appreciates a quality gift, so your 11-year-old will also enjoy something that's well-made. It's just that it doesn't have to be as tough as for a younger child.

Price


Finally, you need to consider price. If the gift is for your kids, then blow a lot of money on them. Go all out and get them high-quality, high-value toys that they'll love. On the other hand, if the receiver is someone else's child, then you should hold back on the big-ticket items.

How We Reviewed

We love kids, and we want you to find them the best toy brands. That's why we set out with determination to find the 10 most popular toy brands you should consider for your next gift. We'll be honest with you, it was a fairly easy challenge. First, we scoured our own memories of childhood, and then we checked out which toy brands from then are still around today. We were delighted to find that most of them are still here. Next, we checked out how many of them are still making quality toys.

After poking around our memory banks, we took a look to see what kids are playing with today. We found that most of the established toy brands are still a hit with youth and that a few new brands have joined the club. Then we took a look at the quality and pricing of these brands. Finally, we went through customer reviews and learned what real people thought of these toys.

The Best Toy Brands

Once we finished digging and remembering and reading reviews, we discarded any toys that didn't meet our criteria. That left us with a great list of the most popular toy brands you should consider for your next gift. Any kid will love toys from these brands.

Playmobil

We absolutely love Playmobil. They're well-built and filled with potential. Because entire houses, ships, and cities get built with Playmobil, kids can immerse themselves in some of the most imaginative play possible. Best of all, Playmobil doesn't accept any branding from most other companies. You won't find many gimmicks or movies in the Playmobil line. Instead, you'll find pirate ships, Egyptian pyramids, fire stations, houses with bedrooms and appliances, and even astronauts.

Lego

Another awesome gift for any child five years or older is Lego. Kids love Lego because they can build anything. Of course, what they build never looks like the picture on the box, but that doesn't matter. The fact that Lego lets them use creativity, logic, problem-solving and imagination all at once is impressive. Best of all, Lego is high-quality. Have you ever stepped on a Lego? Those things don't break. If the children you have in mind are movie addicts, then they'll love Lego's partnerships with Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, and others.

Pokemon

Pokemon took the kid world by storm back in the late '90s, and it's still going strong. Kids are obsessed with Pokemon, and we love it because it gets them outside, and they can play cooperatively. Pokemon is relatively non-violent yet filled with adventure. The Pokemon toy brand creates high-quality, fun toys which children adore. From backpacks for kindergarten-age kids to the famous Pokemon card game, to Pokemon headphones, they've got every age group covered. You can even find a Pokemon belt!

National Geographic

We all know National Geographic. Even our grandparents grew up with NatGeo. Well, your kids can, as well. None of the other toy brands allow kids to explore the natural world the same way that National Geographic does. We love this brand because it opens up the world of science in a fun and interactive way that most kids can't get from modern entertainment. Also, NatGeo uses real materials in their toys, whether it's a box of actual geodes or real dinosaur fossils they can dig up themselves. We're particularly fond of the slimy putty lab, but that's a personal preference.

Boley

Next is a newcomer to the world of toys, at least for those of us who grew up in the '80s and '90s. Boley began in China in the '80s but didn't make it to North America until Amazon and Ebay arrived on the scene. We like Boley because they make toys for every age group. Also, their toys are good quality, and they've put some real thought behind the design of each toy. They make the best set of play dinosaurs any little kid could want, and we still drool over their play tool set. And what kid doesn't want their own electronic cash register, complete with play money?

Cuddle Barn

For younger children, or for any kid who loves stuffed animals, there's Cuddle Barn. When it comes to plush toys, Cuddle Barn is one of the best toy brands you'll find. Their stuffed toys get designed with keen attention to detail that we appreciate. Also, they're all built really well, giving them a bit of toughness that any toy needs when a toddler gets their hands on it. We love the Mother Goose toy, but your baby will also love the light-up jellyfish or the singing school bus.

WolVol

For older kids, you'll find some great gifts from WolVol. They're only seven years old, but they make some of the coolest toys a kid could want. We love how fun WolVol toys are to play with, thanks to their flashing lights, realism, and overall build quality. Of course, most WolVol toys require batteries, so make sure you include some with your gift. Otherwise, the piano in the vanity set won't work, and the 3D lights on the fire truck won't blare. Even the play veterinarian set requires batteries.

Crayola

Next, set your children's creativity on fire with some awesome toys from Crayola. We all grew up with Crayola, so we're familiar with the high quality of their crayons, pencil crayons, and play-do. Everything is well-made, and we find that their prices are decent, too. We love that Crayola designs plenty of creative ways for the entire family to play together. Things like a color chemistry set are perfect for arts and crafts time, while a light-up tracing pen is perfect for older children. Even 1-year olds will love a set of washable palm-grip crayons.

Fisher-Price

Finally, you can get some great toys from the king of all the toy brands. Fisher-Price, thrilling kids since 1930, is still going strong. We love that they carry entire lines of toys for kids of different ages, and everything meets high standards. They're especially sensitive to safety issues, and you can trust Fisher-Price with your baby's playtime. Whether it's a fun play mirror set for an infant, a rockin' push-along toy-thing that will thrill any toddler, or an entire dollhouse complete with sounds for an older child, Fisher-Price has it.

Have Fun and Play!

child playing with two car toys

Image source: Unsplash

The most popular toy brands you should consider for your next gift are not only great to give, but fun for you to play with, too! If you can, once the child you gifted the toy to opens it up, get down on the ground and play with them. Kids, especially younger kids, love nothing more than sharing their joy with someone else, and to be honest, all of these toy brands are fun to play with. No matter if you're the fun aunt or the stodgy grinch, you'll love to play with any one of these toys. Just make sure to give it back when you finish.

Do you have a favorite toy brand we left out? Let us know in the comments!

Baby Shower Ideas for Girls: What You Need to Know

baby shower ideas for girls

A baby shower is a perfect way to celebrate and support a growing family. The guests will have a chance to pitch in as the mother-to-be prepares for her bundle of joy. It’s a crucial event because it often will be a huge financial help for mom and dad. The chances are they’re already going a little crazy getting prepared for their adorable baby girl and all the sleepless nights ahead. As you probably know, babies are expensive! For example, a newborn can go through 320 diapers in one month. Plus, they are extra expensive right before they arrive because you need to get all the essentials ready. That is where you come in with some baby shower magic and excellent guests. Lucky for you, coming up with baby shower ideas for girls is easy and fun.

Don’t get me wrong, planning a baby shower for a little boy is equally fun. But they are two completely different experiences. Preparing baby shower ideas for girls requires different themes, girly desserts, and downright precious decorations.

Tips When Coming Up with Baby Shower Ideas for Girls

The whole idea of the baby shower is to bless the mother-to-be. The focus is entirely on her and getting her ready for her newborn. There are a few tips we want to give you before you get started with anything else. Coming up with themes, decorations, and games might be the fun part. First, you need to know when and where you plan to throw this shindig.


Timeline to follow

Woman holding a calendar

Image source: Unsplash

First of all, we need to establish a baby shower timeline. Babies might have due dates, but that can change quickly if she decides to make an early entrance into the world. The first thing you need to do is make sure the shower date is set about four to six weeks before the baby is set to arrive. Shooting for six weeks before the due date is the safest option.

That means you should ideally start planning the shower at least three or four months ahead of time. You need to give yourself time to order invitations and send them out about six weeks before the baby shower. Sending out the invitations as early as possible is crucial. If people don’t know about the party until two weeks beforehand, there is a good chance that they won’t be able to come. Make sure you give everyone plenty of time. Keep in mind that the more guests you have, the more gifts she will receive. That will be an enormous help for the expecting parents!


Guest list and venue

person writing bucket list on book

Image source: Unsplash

If you expect a smaller crowd of about 10 to 20 people, you could consider holding the event in someone's home. It all depends on the size of the house and the seating available. If you are expecting more than 20, I would highly recommend booking a venue.

Which venue you select depends on the tone of the event. If the expecting mother is pretty laid back and there isn’t much money to throw around, you could consider a fire hall. It might not sound elegant, but they are usually perfect for small events like these.

If you are determined to have a classier event, consider a tea house, a cafe, a restaurant with a private party room, banquet hall, or a garden. It all depends on what is available near you and within your budget. With a little research, you might find that there are more options than you initially thought.


Don’t forget the tiny details

Keyboard with things to do list

Image source: Unsplash

When coming up with the baby shower ideas for girls, we tend to focus on making everything as cute as can be. But there are a few little details that might slip through the cracks if we aren’t paying attention.

Photographer

You don’t need to worry about hiring a professional photographer, but you will want to give someone the job. If you have a good camera or know someone with their own, designate one of your friends as the photographer. It’s so much fun to come up with baby shower ideas for girls, but the event usually only lasts a few hours and will go by in a blur. The mother-to-be will want pictures. You could even make her a photo book to commemorate the party.

Gift registry

The expecting mother will probably be on top of this as soon as she finds out she has a bun in the oven. However, you will need to find out where she is registered so you can add it to the invitations. You might even want to check out the list if she is a new mother and give some helpful suggestions if she missed anything crucial.

A registry is a perfect way to let everyone attending the shower know what she needs. Hopefully, this will help keep her from getting the same gifts over and over. Plus, she will probably have a few specifics in mind when it comes to strollers, car seats, and other high dollar items.

These days, it's easy to make a gift registry all of your guests can access on Amazon.

Is it a surprise?

Half the fun for some people is throwing a surprise shower. The chances are, she will probably see it coming since it has to happen during a strict time frame. Even still, it's a fun idea. However, if you are planning a surprise baby shower, you need to let people know on their invitations. Otherwise, they might ask her about the details and ruin the surprise.

If you are planning a surprise baby shower, you will also have to figure out who is in charge of getting her there. It’s easier to make it a surprise if it is at a public place. You get bonus points if she has never been there. Then she won’t be expecting a thing and probably won't recognize any familiar vehicles in the parking lot.

Keep the expecting mother in mind while planning

When coming up with baby shower ideas for girls, keep the mother in mind while you’re planning. Pick a theme she would like, only invite people she will be excited to see, and make the whole event about her.

Also, remember that the whole event is supposed to be full of lighthearted fun. Once the party is in motion, don’t stress out about the little things. My mother-in-law tends to get a little too stressed out if things aren’t running smoothly. That made my bridal shower a solid mix of fun and stress. You definitely want to avoid that at a baby shower because it’s supposed to be fun and exciting. Don’t put the mother on the spot if you know she’s uncomfortable. Don’t even make her open gifts in front of everyone if that will make her anxious.

Baby Shower Ideas for Girls with Adorable Themes

Baby miniature

Image source: Pixabay

Half the fun of coming up with baby shower ideas for girls is the fact that you can pick the cutest themes. Pretty much anything that counts as adorable or classy can make a good theme. You know the expecting mother best, so you will want to pick something she would appreciate. Get creative, have fun, and keep it straightforward. Complicated themes might be hard to execute.


A book theme

Books

Image source: Unsplash

If the mother-to-be loves books, what would be a better way to celebrate than with a book themed baby shower? There are so many great books that have been used as the central theme for baby showers, such as Winnie the Pooh, The Hungry Caterpillar, or Goodnight Moon. But why stop there? Combine as many as you want for a delightful shower. There are gorgeous invitations and decorations that you can make or print at home.

There are even some great ideas for using stacks of books as centerpieces and making food to match. You can also add a request with the invitations to ask guests to bring a children's book instead of a card. Just make sure to add a bunch of books to the registry.


Floral theme

Flower and box on white table

Image source: Pixabay

There is an incredible array of floral-themed baby shower ideas for girls. Plus, it’s almost impossible for a venue to look anything but beautiful when decked out in flowers. You can save money by having the baby shower in someone's home or a fire hall, and this might be the perfect theme to make a basic venue look extravagant. Consider a flower wreath cake, floral decorations, and garlands. It’s easy to find wholesale flowers to save extra money while still going the distance. Invitations will also be incredibly easy to find for this theme.


Tea party theme

Woman pouring tea on white cup

Image source: Unsplash

We had my sister's baby shower in a local tea house, and it was fantastic. If you can find a tea house near you, it is one of the best baby shower ideas for girls. It might even make things a little easier for you because the tea house will probably take care of many details. Food, tea, and the tables are prepared for you, so it cuts out much of the work. Keep in mind that most places will have limited seating, so you will need to check their availability.

Throwing a tea party yourself would be pretty straightforward as well. Every woman I know seems to have a tea set sitting untouched in a china cabinet, myself included. So ask around, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the resources available to you. Then all you need to do is add some teacup flower arrangements, pick up your tea supplies, and do a little extra decorating.

Party Favors

Party favors are an essential part of any baby shower. Clever little party favors are a great addition to your list of baby shower ideas for girls. Remember to keep it simple. They can also win prizes during the games, and the goal is to focus on the new mom. So you don’t have to go above and beyond to find-over-the top gifts for your guests.

Simple baby shower favors:

  • Baby is blooming seed packs
  • Loofah and bath salts transformed into a cupcake
  • Soon to pop” popcorn bags
  • DIY sugar scrubs labeled “from my shower to yours”

While these are some cute ideas, you can keep it even simpler by getting them hand soaps or candles. It depends on how much time you have to put the favors together, as well as what fits the budget and what most people will enjoy.

Keep the food simple

Food and beverages also depend on your budget and venue. Picnic-style food is always a great option. However, if you rented a venue, food might be included. Remember to double-check and get the details.

When making a menu that fits with your baby shower ideas for girls, you can be extremely flexible. Desserts are easily dolled up with decorations and pink icing. But the food, in general, can be easy. Since this will probably be a relatively short morning or afternoon event, you won’t need to worry about entrees as much as snacks and appetizers. There are great ideas online. One of the most popular baby shower ideas for girls is a morning shower. That's because it is so easy to serve brunch food in a buffet style while still keeping it classy.

Fun Baby Shower Activities

When whipping together some baby shower ideas for girls, make sure to include fun games. There are always the go-to shower games like the purse game, guess how big the momma’s belly is, or baby mad libs. Feel free to get creative and have a little fun with it. At my sister's baby shower, I made a baby version of Family Feud, and the Price is Right for baby products, which was a lot of fun. You could also consider playing “guess the baby food” or a dress the babydoll relay race.

But the best activity of all is the diaper raffle. It’s a massive help for the mom because she will make out like a bandit with a mountain of diapers. The whole point is for everyone to bring diapers for the expecting mother. The more they bring, the more raffle tickets they get. At some point during the baby shower, you will pick the winning ticket and hand out a great prize. Make it worth their effort with a spa kit or sought-after gift card.

Baby Shower Ideas for Girls: It Isn’t as Hard as It Looks

Coming up with baby shower ideas for girls is easier than ever. There are so many options already out there to explore. If you do a little research and narrow down a theme, everything is cake. Apart from that, the most critical part is getting the date set and the invitations out. The food and decorations depend on the venue because some places provide everything you need.

Make sure to focus on the stars of the show. Namely, the mom and her bundle of joy. So make sure to get her favorite people together and have fun blessing her with great gifts and a good time. Don’t stress out because this little party will only go on for a few hours. Have fun with planning and get some help if you need it. This new mom is in for a beautiful party!

If you have any baby shower tips, themes, games, or anything else, we would love to hear about it in the comment section below!

Great Great Gatsby Themed Party – Tips to Follow

great gatsby themed party

The mysterious Gatsby was renowned for throwing extravagant parties at his mansion every weekend. "The Great Gatsby" is a classic piece of American literature, telling the story of Nick Carraway, whose life changes when he meets his affluent neighbor, Jay Gatsby. While we don't all own lavish estates, that's no reason we can't all host delightful Gatsby-themed parties. These tips for throwing a great Great Gatsby themed party will transform your next gathering from just another dinner party into a Roaring Twenties extravaganza your friends will be talking about for years to come.

Just because Gatsby had a seemingly limitless budget doesn't mean you have to. Our tips for throwing a great Great Gatsby themed party are cost-effective ways to transform your home into a high society meeting place of which Gatsby himself would be envious. If you're ready to throw the best Gatsby party around, these tips will help you create a party to remember.


The Great Gatsby

A nearly ever-present member of any list of greatest American novels of all time, many consider "The Great Gatsby" to be the best novel ever written. The plot sees Carraway drawn into Gatsby's fantastic world, but soon things begin to spiral out of control. Before that happens, however, the plot heavily features Gatsby's many well-attended parties. These parties serve as the inspiration for many a home gathering, and the popularity has only increased in recent years. A 2013 theatrical release featured Leonardo DiCaprio in the titular role and brought with it renewed interest in '20s-themed parties.


Why You Need Tips for Throwing a Great Great Gatsby Themed Party

Hosting a Great Gatsby themed party lets you spend an evening indulging in the glitz and glamour of Gatsby. As a historical period-specific theme, Gatsby parties are fun for your guests as they give an excuse to dress up and try out looks they wouldn't get to wear otherwise. Simply put, a Gatsby Party provides an entertaining and escapist theme for an evening with friends or family.


Tips for Throwing a Great Great Gatsby Themed Party

There are many facets to throwing a party on the level with one of Gatsby's. You can't overlook any details. From suggested attire to the table settings, the more you and your guests get onto the theme, the more immersive your night will be. That extends to what you serve on the tables and even in the glassware. Gatsby wasn't a hotdog and soda kind of guy, and neither should your Gatsby party be. These tips for throwing a great Great Gatsby themed party has you covered at every base, so no "i" goes undotted, and no "t" goes uncrossed.

Decoration ideas

Decoration for party

Image source: Pixabay

The first thing anyone will notice when they show up for your Gatsby party is how everything looks. Creating the right first impression is vital to establishing an effective mood for the party. Fortunately, the 2013 film makes your task even simpler. No longer do you have to rely on the words on the page and your imagination. We've already seen highly paid, and acclaimed professionals translate Fitzgerald's version of Gatsby's party into the real world on the big screen. Several times. You can channel the 2013 version, the 1974 iteration starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Or even the 1949 version, starring Alan Ladd. When in doubt, just pull up screenshots from any of the three films to seek out inspiration.

Color schemes

Bright background with beer

Image source: Pixabay

Planning the colors for your party is made particularly simple by Gatsby. You will want to keep the colors almost exclusively to whites and blacks. You'll then augment the colors by the addition of metallic accents in gold and silver. The more of these four colors you get out in your decoration, the more gripping your theme becomes. When in doubt, add some more elements in this same color scheme.

Feathers

Party mask

Image source: Pixabay

When Gatsby and company decorated, feathers and fringe were very much in fashion. From table centerpieces to accent on clothing or worn in the hair, feathers dominate the look. If you can't decide between two feather options, remember that bigger is almost always better. Gatsby was all about being over-the-top, and you should be too.

Balloons

Ballons

Image source: Pixabay

An easy way to get your colors out is through balloons, and thankfully they also fit the motif of Gatsby bashes exceptionally well. Provide a mixture of helium-filled balloons dragging shimmering ribbons and air-filled balloons bouncing around on the ground. For a particularly brave designer, try a balloon arch or get a pair of champagne bottle balloons and create a chain of gold balloons "pouring" out of them at your entryway.

Outfit ideas

Women dress for party

Image source: Pixabay

Nothing tends to excite guests of a Gatsby party more than the opportunity to dress up. When sending out invites, include some suggestions for your guests on what to wear. It'll help out guests who don't know what the right style is, and makes their lives easier. They'll appreciate your extra effort.

Tips for men

Man dancing

Image source: Unsplash

A Gatsby-approved man is ready for a gala event. A black tie-ready ensemble is right up Gatsby's alley, but for guests on a budget, it's not a requirement. A crisp and clean suit, paired with an attractive vest, is enough to get the right feel for a roaring twenties party without breaking the bank. Don't shy away from going white with the suit, either, and accenting with gloves or a cane. As with the decorating scheme, gold is a powerful and thematic accent color for any suit combination.

Tips for women

Woman in dress

Image source: Pixabay

The flapper style is a fun look for women to wear to your Gatsby party. As mold-breakers who rejected traditional beliefs of what was appropriately feminine behavior, flappers were apt to find a Gatsby party as quite the compelling event. Flappers utilized more daring lines than were traditional and added in eye-catching fringes. Headwear was also fashionable in the twenties, with feather-adorned headbands, or cloches with rose-like ribbons serving as excellent accents to a flapper dress.

Food ideas

Party food

Image source: Pixabay

Providing delicious food for your guests to enjoy is necessary, which is why these recipes and recommendations are a vital part of our tips for throwing a great Great Gatsby themed party. From starters to the main course and through on to dessert, there's something special you can offer to bring your party's theme to the next level.

Hors-d'oeuvres

Hors-d'oeuvres

Image source OregonLive

Every great cocktail party needs a selection of finger foods for guests to dine on with their drinks. With so many great options, feel free to choose hors d'oeuvres you enjoy and that you think will please your guests. Some excellent options include oysters and stuffed mushrooms. You may not think of pigs in a blanket when picturing a fancy soiree, but the pastry-wrapped sausage was a traditional party nosh for twenties bashes.

Baked ham entree

Baked ham entree

Image source Hungry Forever

If you're planning a sit-down dining portion for your party, baked ham is a delicious and Gatsby-approved entree. A nice bourbon glaze completes the thematic feel.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cooked bone-in ham
  • 3/4 cups bourbon
  • 2 packed cups brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees as you complete your ham prep. Scour the outside of the ham by carving one-half-inch-deep slices in the ham, and aligning the slices to create a series of diamonds. Brush the surface of the ham with two tablespoons of bourbon. Bake the ham for two hours with no cover.

Combine brown sugar, mustard, marmalade, coriander, and bourbon in a bowl while the ham cooks, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth. Remove the ham after cooking and spoon the mixture over the ham. Bake for an additional half hour. Allow the ham to sit for 15 minutes after cooking before slicing.

Lemon cakes

Lemon Cakes

Image source Pinterest

Gatsby loved serving his guests tasty lemon cakes. They're the perfect dessert option for your Gatsby themed get-together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, unsalted
  • Butter or non-stick spray
  • 1-1/13 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and complete prep while it warms. Zest and juice both the lime and one lemon individually, gathering one teaspoon of zest and one teaspoon of juice from each. Mix two-thirds of a cup of sugar, the stick of butter, and both zests in a large bowl until creamy. Add the juices and eggs and beat to combine the mixture.

Mix the bowl on low while adding flour and salt in small amounts until the batter is uniformly blended. Grease the cups of a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with the additional butter or non-stick spray, then pour one tablespoon of batter into each. Bake the batter for 15 minutes.

Slice the remaining lemon into thin slices, and remove any seeds. Pour the remaining sugar and the water into a pan and combine over medium heat until dissolved. Simmer the lemon slices in the mixture for approximately five minutes until syrup thickens.

Poke a hole in each baked cake, then drizzle one-half teaspoon of syrup over each. Garnish the cakes with a lemon slice on top before serving.

Drink ideas

Wine

Image source: Pixabay

A party isn't a party without drinks, and a list of tips for throwing a great Great Gatsby themed party isn't complete without drink recommendations. As with clothing and dining, Gatsby's parties were all about style and elegance. Steer clear of everyman brands, and bring an air of sophistication to the affair instead.

Simple drinks

Your Gatsby themed party is not the night to bust out the latest microbrew you picked up from your local brewery. For ready-to-pour offerings, stick to what high society in the Roaring Twenties drank. That means hoppy beers are out, but bubbly champagnes are very much in. In addition to the glamour of fine champagne, offer a selection of wines as well, providing variety for guests without breaking out of the mold of high society affairs.

Gin Rickey

Gin Rickey

Image source Liquor.com

Pay tribute to author F. Scott Fitzgerald by serving gin, his favorite liquor. The Gin Rickey fits right in at any twenties-styled bash and leaves your guests delighted.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 lime, juiced (or 2 ounces bottled lime juice)
  • 4 ounces club soda
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Ice

Fill a 9-ounce glass with ice, then pour the gin and lime juice into it. Fill the glass with club soda. Place the lime wedge on the rim of the glass for garnish.

Mint Julip

Mint Julip

Image source Hungry Forever

A staple of the Roaring Twenties, the mint julip also features prominently in a key scene in "The Great Gatsby."

Ingredient:

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Water
  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup ice, crushed
  • 1/3 cup bourbon

Stir the sugar and water together in an 8-ounce glass until the sugar fully dissolves. Place the leaves in the glass and gently muddle, setting the sprigs aside. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Pour in the bourbon, then stir until the glass frosts over. Place the mint sprigs atop the drink for garnish before serving.


How to Combine These Tips for Throwing a Great Great Gatsby Themed Party

At the end of the day, the most important key for any party is making sure that you and your guests have fun. The more tips for throwing a great Great Gatsby themed party you're able to incorporate into your party, the more complete your immersion experience becomes. Whatever elements you choose to incorporate into your theme, make sure one critical thing when the night of the big event arrives -- enjoy yourself! Don't spend the whole night obsessing over keeping every balloon in just the right place. If you followed these tips, your guests are bound to have a great time, so join them!

Do you have any tips for throwing a great Great Gatsby themed party which we missed? Tell us all about them in the comments below.

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