The Saturday before Christmas with a winter storm on its way, we had her teammates over for "tea". (Only the grownups drank tea. The girls preferred hot chocolate.) Risa's guests all wore their holiday finery.We started the party at our dining room table making Christmas ornaments. A quick trip to Michaels had netted a kit to make adorable Creatology Felt ornaments, including a reindeer, Santa and penguin. I also set out some metallic pipe cleaners and pony beads in holiday colors. My review of the felt stickers for the ornaments is "pass" in the future. I'll stick with foam stickers instead. While the ornaments were super cute, the paper backing was very difficult to get off the felt. Most of the girls just couldn't manage it so the other parents and I spent the whole time taking paper sticker backings off and cursing under our breath. I did find that using a pin to slice the backing a bit made it nominally easier to get off. That wasn't always easy though given the tiny size of the some of the stickers.
The girls then played freely about the house while making frequent trips by the snack buffet Risa and I had prepared. Though very cute and perfectly fancy for a tea party, none of the snacks were difficult or time intensive to prepare. I'll list each separately with a link to the blog where we found the idea to give credit where credit is due. The pictures are my versions.
We didn't use mini marshmallows. Not because I was opposed to them. But our toothpicks were too short.
Ours were more inspired by the linked version. We cheated with Pillsbury sugar cookie dough and used dark chocolate M&Ms for the eyes and nose. Have I mentioned the one thing I hate about our new house is the stove? Expect to see a lot of OGB (overly golden brown) baked goods until I get that darn thing replaced.
Broccoli & Cherry Tomato Christmas Tree
We found lots of inspiration for this tree so I can't give credit to any single blog. We picked vegetables my kids like. On the day of the tea party, the veggies were barely touched. The next day with close friends over to celebrate, I recreated the tree and it was GONE in an hour with a different set of kids.
Once the snacking started to die down and the running rampant through the house was getting boring, the girls asked to play the games we'd prepared. Again, these were very simple with little prep work. The first game was Penguins. Prep work... gathering a stack of white paper. Penguins is like musical chairs but instead of chairs, the "penguins" move between "ice flows" (the sheets of paper). Everyone starts on an ice flow then the music starts. I used the Christmas music channel on our cable service. I gave each penguin a candy cane as she was eliminated. The final two were so close to hitting the ice flow at the same time we decided to call it a tie and they each got two candy canes.
Next we played Animal Charades. I had printed up pictures of common and popular animals before the party. As each girl had a turn, she would draw a picture from the stack and then act out that animal. The animals weren't too difficult and all were fairly easily guessed but the antics while pretending to be the different animals garnered a lot of laughs.
The final arranged game was the book exchange. Rather than making everyone responsible for yet one more gift to purchase, we did a "previously loved" book exchange. Everyone brought a wrapped book selected from her own library. For the game, the girls sat in a circle, each with her own book in her lap. Starting with my daughter and moving clockwise, each girl rolled a die. I put the die in a small, clear plastic container to keep track of it more easily. Depending on the number rolled, the girls did something with the books. We used one die and the following number instructions:
1 - Freeze your gift (keep it for the rest of the game) OR switch with anyone.
2 - Switch your gift with anyone.
3 - Switch with the person on your right.
4 - Everyone pass to the person on your right.
5 - Switch with the person on your left.
6 - Everyone pass to the person on your left.
We went around the circle twice rolling the die. After two passes, three girls had wound up back with their own books so we continued on until everyone had a different book. Then everyone opened her book.
Alas I have few pictures from the actual festivities. I am just awful at remembering to take pictures while I'm hosting a party. For the kids' birthday parties, I have assigned friends who take the pictures for me. I forgot to designate a photographer this time. Fortunately, one of the parents here got this great shot of the girls during the gift exchange game.
I would encourage anyone to jump right in with entertaining. A "fancy" party doesn't have to take a lot of prep work. This party took me about 3 hours for all the invitations (evite.com), planning and prep... 3 hours that were spent with my daughter enjoying each other's company.