Posts Tagged ‘Celebration’

6 Tips for Hosting a Gift Exchange Party

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As a last hurrah before we tore up our main floor, I threw a gift exchange party. It was a rather small group of friends, but just perfect. It’s truly such a joy having some of my favorite people under one roof. 

Since Christmas is a hectic time (for business owners and moms, especially), I threw it on the 28th. I also threw the party mid-day and provided childcare so my friends with little ones at home could still enjoy the party. It was easy to find a babysitter since the school kids were out that week, and I just had her party with the kids downstairs and keep them entertained with food and a movie. 

I kept the party festivities rather simple. I used Paperless Post to send out the invites and manage RSVPs, but I think in the future I may try out Evite instead. I’m curious to see which one is better.

I kept the food fairly simple and somewhat dietary-inclusive. My menu: 

  • Quinoa salad (Gluten-free with avocado, cilantro and chopped chicken on the side)
  • Bananas and oranges
  • Kale salad
  • Various herbal teas as a hot drink
  • Chipotle cheddar biscuits
  • Churros

It was a simple spread, but delicious. The churros were definitely the best part of the food situation. 

I teamed up with San Diablo Churros. They catered the event and provided us with mini filled churros. We had dulce de leche, nutella and salted caramel. Each one was made fresh right there. That was the one special thing I wanted about the party. I feel like when it comes to planning a gathering, it’s best to plan one thing you want to be perfect. Everything else is a bonus. Otherwise, I personally spend the whole time focusing on all the things that didn’t go exactly as planned. 


Tips for hosting a simple and fun holiday gift exchange: 

  • Use a digital invitation service
  • Plan it on a day when not a lot is going on (post holidays, is great)
  • Provide childcare during day-time hours so more friends can come
  • Keep the menu simple and ask for help! Get a friend or two to bring a dish, cater what you don’t have time for
  • Introduce everyone, tell everyone your favorite characteristic about each guest (this is especially helpful if you’re inviting friends from different circles)
  • Do White Elephant gift exchange rules. Stealing good gifts from each other is fun!

Have you hosted a holiday gift exchange before? What are your tips for hosting a good one? 

A last-minute celebration isn’t the worst thing in the world.

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Life for the Esplin clan has been a little hectic, as I’ve mentioned in every blog post the last couple of weeks. Since we’ve been so transient, it was a little hard to plan the birthday celebration for Penelope that I had in mind. While I’ve had to come to terms with reality, we didn’t seem to have any shortage of laughter, cake, ice cream and family.

cake & Penelope

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have enough time to send out proper invitations, so I settled for pingg invitations and good ole fashioned phone calls. Pingg is fabulous, except when you don’t have everyone’s email addresses. Sadly a couple of family members fell though the cracks and weren’t informed of our partying.

lemon cupcake

cake face

My theme, if any of this had any sort of theme, was yellow. I love yellow, and Penelope brightens so many people’s lives that it just fit. I wasn’t able to get yellow cupcake cups or yellow napkins or yellow flowers (again, seriously only 24 hours to prep for this thing), but I did find my mom’s awesome wedding plates that had a ribbon of yellow, my yellow table cloth and some yellow wallpaper for Penelope’s happy birthday sign. Find the tutorial on how to make your own banner, here.

birthday banner

I now realize how much effort my parents went to when it came to celebrating my birthdays. They always made such a big deal out of us kids. Stay tuned for a special birthday tutorial & download!

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