Let's start with the story behind the party.........
So 5 years ago I thought it would be really sweet to host a gingerbread party with some of my girlfriends and their daughters. A new holiday tradition....fun for the girls and time to spend with my girlfriends. As I gathered stuff for our first party, my thoughts turned to how fortunate I am to have two healthy kids and the means to enjoy Christmas...when there are a lot of people out there in a much different situation. At that time, my parents were running a soup kitchen at their church and I asked if they knew of a family that needed some help for the holidays. My mom connected us with a family and I sent the wish list to our guests and we did our best to make that family's Christmas a little brighter. And that began our tradition of hosting the party and asking our guests to help us help a family each year. The past two years we have partnered with the PUNT Foundation, a local organization that helps families with children battling pediatric cancer. It's a wonderful organization, and you can learn more about them here.
The Party Details
I love Christmas, so my house is pretty decked out for the holidays! Most of my decor I have had for a number of years and the party stuff I keep what I can to use each year too.
We set up shop in our dining room and add a banquet table to the end... as we had 11 girls this year! I always use a disposable tablecloth, so I can just scoop it up and toss it when the party is over! I have mentioned this decorating tip with a previous party post, but I use wrapping paper as a runner down the center. Then I ran a strip of holiday ribbon along each side of my "runner".
The chair covers I found at our local Dollar Tree store a few years ago. They look so festive and help minimize the frosting on the chairs!
I always buy premade houses... way to many to make from scratch. Each girl used to get one large one, but as the party has grown, I switched to the mini houses. You can get 4 houses in one kit & each girl gets two to decorate. I try to get them during Black Friday weekend, as they are usually on sale at the craft stores. I assemble all the houses a few days before to give them time to set. Nothing worse than a meltdown over a collapsing house!
We set the table and everyone has their own board with stuff to decorate. The boards we used are a cake board I got from a local bakery supply store. They were a sheet cake size and I cut them in half and glued a red paper placemat on each and put a nametag at the base. Everyone got two houses, one sugar cone "tree", two gingerbread people and their bag of frosting.
I prefill the frosting bags (two come in each kit) and tie with holiday ribbon to make them look extra festive!
This year we made the cutest peppermint paths and candy cane lollipops! They turned out so cute!
A lot of candy comes with the kits and I usually pick up the rest at Target or the Dollar Store. Party City carries holiday disposable paper containers that were perfect for all the candy. Some candies we always have are gum drops, gum balls, M&Ms, red & white mints, mini candy canes, mini marshmallows, sugar wafer cookies-they make a fun path or roof, and Chex...also a great roof.
I distribute the candy down the middle of the table and try to keep a variety at each section.
These are the gingerbread people we use & cotton candy makes great "snow"!
We always ask the girls to dress "fancy" and bring an apron! We get a picture by the tree every year....before they start decorating!
Such sweet friends!
And then they decorate.......
This year was extra fun, because as the girls have gotten older they are pretty self sufficient. They decorated for over an hour!
I always have a fun cocktail for the moms......
And balance out all the candy with some veggies!
And this year I made some yummy Cranberry Brie Bites. Andrea shared them on her blog last week. You can find the recipe here.
The girls sip on hot cocoa from the Cocoa Bar.....
Their creations were pretty great this year... here are a few....
After decorating the girls played some Christmas Charades.....
We collected the gifts for our family.....
And handed out a sweet treat to take home......
Another fun party with my sweet girl!
Two other favorites from my week...
Loading up all the gifts for our family with my little elves to go deliver them.
We were blessed to be able to meet our sweet little girl and her family. I had the chance to talk with her mom and learn they found a brain tumor in April and she has been through surgery, radiation and is currently undergoing chemotherapy until June. At just 6 years old, this little girl is a fighter and had a lot of spunk! We are praying for her and her family and hope you will send some prayers along too.
Loved getting some good snow this week! The kids were so happy to get out and play in it!
And Maddie loved it too!
So excited to celebrate my birthday with good friends tonight....go visit the man in red tomorrow... and celebrate my birthday on Sunday with my family! I hope you all have a fun weekend planned too! Next week we will be sharing our Christmas traditions and a yummy recipe for your Meatless Monday... Coconut Crusted Cod with Pineapple Mango Salsa! Hope to see you then... there's always room for one more at our family table.