Creating a memorable party for less

Winter Wonderland Party

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Winter Wonderland Party

I am trying to plan a surprise birthday party for my best friend. It will be held in January and I was going along the lines of a "Winter Wonderland" theme. I want to tie in her religious faith in some way. She is a devout Christian and the Youth President of our church. She will be turning 32. We will be holding it at a recreation center, and hopefully, we will be having 50-75 people attend. Can you give me some party suggestions? Perhaps some of the ideas will help other people who are planning parties this winter. Thank you so much!

Get the Youth Group Involved

I think it would be great to have some of her youth help you (secretly). Have them make sparkly snowflakes, snowmen, etc. Also, it may be kind of fun to put a spin on the old "pin the tale on the donkey" and make a big snowman and try to pin the carrot on for his nose.

Decorate Your Winter Wonderland

As an event planner, we love doing Winter Wonderland Parties! All you need to do for decor is to add white everywhere with silver accents. You can get some tree branches, spray paint them white and then add some white lights. You can also get some cheap white fabric to drape overhead out from the corners of the room or off the trees. Dim the lights, and light candles on all the tables. You can get some cheap tea light holders at Ikea. I believe a set of six is $1.99. You can even purchase the cheap mirrors at Ikea to reflect the candlelight. It gives any room a soft intimate feel, especially for the size of your party.

As for adding in themes from her faith, I was thinking about incorporating white doves to go with the winter theme. Another way to include her faith is if you are doing assigned seating, you could put the names on mini crosses, or even put white crosses throughout the room. Have fun!

Take Advantage of Christmas Decorations for Your Winter Wonderland

Having the party in January should help immensely. You should be able to get much of the white Christmas decorations on clearance for more than 50% off. Make sure to get snowflakes that would be used on Christmas trees or as window decorations. You can hang them from the ceiling, windows, walls or use as part of the table decorations. You could put up many Spruce/Christmas trees and cover them with the white snow for the look of winter. Pick up a fake snowman to place in there also.

Make sure you use an underlying color. I would probably use a baby or medium blue. This will help to accent the white. Silver is also a great accent color and will reflect the light. You could do a candle on each table as part of the centerpieces and wrap the glass container with silver tinsel or left over garland.

Have the kids do a special wall of thanks for her. Have each one make a large snowflake. Cut a white circle and have the kids put their favorite bible verse or memory of your friend on them and then paste them to the middle of the snowflakes. If you don't want to do one specific wall, they could be placed on each table or used as decorations on all of the walls. Make sure each child signs his/her snowflake. These will be keepsakes that she will treasure forever.

I would use silver serving dishes. Many people have a piece or two they would probably lend you, or you can pick them up at garage sales and thrift stores. With a theme of winter wonderland, you could serve hot cocoa, hot cider and coffee instead of the traditional punch.

Utilize Post-Holiday Sales

For the Winter Wonderland Party in January, try going with a color scheme that would utilize the post-holiday (Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's Eve) sales.

Blue and silver or red and white are two wintry combinations that can be found on sale after the holidays. Stock up on items such as candles, decorations, candy like Hershey Kisses or M&Ms in appropriate colors, and paper goods. Tables can be covered in silver or red foil wrapping paper (and is sturdy enough that it can probably be rescued after the party and saved for future gift-wrapping). A plain, clear glass serving bowl or punch bowl filled with glass ball ornaments in the preferred colors, perhaps with some silvery tinsel or a garland woven throughout, would be a lovely centerpiece.

Another simple, yet elegant idea is a "snowball party" where everything is white, perhaps accented with a bit of silver to make it sparkle. Use white candles in silver or clear glass holders, white tablecloths and plates, maybe even small tabletop artificial trees sprayed with white flocking and hung with tinsel and tiny silver balls as centerpieces. Again, many of these items can be found for a fraction of the cost after Christmas.

Let Her Know She's Appreciated

A winter wonderland can be achieved by using fake "Alpine" trees (typically sold in a trio) and white lights. Using blue, silver and white will help. Silver and blue ball ornaments in clear bowls, vases, etc. can help with the reflection and feel of a crisp cold winter night.

Incorporate the religious theme into a gift. Consider having each of the invited guests, whether or not they can attend, write what they appreciate about her and the blessing that she has been in their lives. Then, you can put them together in a scrapbook. Another idea is to tie her a quilt. There is a myriad of other things that you do to show her that her service is appreciated.

Celebrate Light

You could celebrate light, as the days are now getting longer, giving it a religious or a secular meaning. Theme your party around that with fat white candles and white twinkling lights (found for pennies during after-Christmas sales). Dress the tables in white sheets, and have a snowflake making station for kids or adults with scissors and white paper. Serve cocoa with scoops of ice cream and peppermint sticks. You could ask the guests to all come dressed in white and serve mostly white food to embrace the winter.
Monika in Wisconsin

Gift Ideas for the Winter Wonderland Party

One of the nicest touches to just about any party being held to honor an individual or couple is also one of the simplest and least expensive. We send out a "secret" letter, encouraging the adults not to tell the kids (as they sometimes burst with a secret). In this letter, we ask that the person/couple take the time to remember something special about the person being honored (memories shared, etc.) and include a photograph or two, if possible. Then, we purchase a nice memory box (you can also make one with decoupaged photos of the special someone/couple) or scrapbook to keep these letters/photos of shared special moments and memories in. It adds such a special touch to any gathering, whether an anniversary party or surprise birthday party. You can decorate the scrapbook with newspaper articles of interesting and newsworthy events that occurred on your friend's birthday or plaster the walls with these instead. I would use blue and white to denote the "winter" theme.
Jackie in Arkansas

Reviewed March 2018

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