Welcome to our home! We'll start at the front door with the gingerbread man vinyl placemat I snapped up from our local Jo-Ann craft store. I punched two holes in the top and threaded about one yard of 1.5" polka dot grosgrain ribbon through, then tied a bow. I wanted our guests to know they had the right house for our Cookie Decorating Party!
On Saturday our house was a buzz with ten little 4- and 6-year olds. Here are the photos I managed to snap amidst all the cookie crumbs and flying icing bowls. I'll share my sources and "what I learned" in this post too. It was a really fun party and I will definitely host again next year.
I started the decorating with the new 6" paper lantern dots coming to Polka Dot Market. I added lengths of lime and red polka dot grosgrain satin ribbon and hung over our chandelier. This marked the dining room as the fun kids' zone! I found the large gingham vinyl placemat at Hancock's - in the back on the roll. I love it because the vinyl is not folded into a square with wrinkles that NEVER come out. I will always buy our tablecloth vinyl at Hancock's now. I used my JoAnn's coupon for 50% off so it cost around $4.0o.
The gingerbread house boxes are from a Costco gift basket set. Costco saved the day since my gingerbread men cookies were not pretty. I made a last-minute run and they had those cookie kits - complete with 6 large gingerbread man cookies, gum drops, peppermints, cute house boxes, red grosgrain bows (that I put on my buffet lamps) and even two boxes of "fancy" cookies for the moms!
See that red/white/green striped open box on the table above? Those are the cookie boxes that the girls decorated with stickers when they first arrived. Then they decorated all the cookies they wanted to and put in their cookie boxes to take home.
The candy cane papers inside the gingerbread house box are free printables from www.twistynoodle.com. I saved the jpegs of two pages and pasted into a Word document so I had two coloring pages on one page. One said, "Thanks for coming!" and the other said, "Love, M- and L-". I folded and put the extra sticker sheets inside as a take-home gift too.
I found the cutest gingerbread boy/girl, cookie and candy sticker books at Hancock's too. They were like $1.99 each and had tons of pages - I opened up and separated all the pages for the girls to decorate their cookie boxes.
I put all the cookies, sprinkles and little bowls of icing on the tables. My oldest daughter and her friends took over the dining room table and my youngest claimed the little table. The small table is covered with green gingham oil cloth that I've had in my craft closet forever. (See the empty sticker sheet on the table below - she covered her cookie box in stickers!)
After they ate a few cookies and filled their cookie boxes, we bundled up the girls and sent them outside to run and play (remember we are in Alabama - we can do that!). The moms said they loved it - I think all the kids were on their way after 2 hours or so. I hope this will inspire you - it's a holiday party for the kids that is not expensive. Our party started at 10:00 a.m. Do what works for you! :)
After the party I put my feet up and drank two cups of coffee. Then my husband started a fire in the fireplace and we relaxed. This is what the holidays are all about. I hope you enjoyed the photos - they are taken by a real mom in the middle of hosting a real party with a real regular camera. I tried to crop out the little girls' faces too. I'm still finding sprinkles on the floor, but for some reason they make me smile. It was a really fun party and I loved doing something "sweet" for my girls. Having a mommy who works from home equals fewer and fewer play dates, so they deserved it!
God bless you all this holiday season! - Sally