It's a long cold winter, but it doesn't have to be boring, too. Beat the blahs with a warm winter party. It's a perfect time to reconnect with friends and have fun. Or maybe you're already planning an event such as an anniversary or sweet 16 celebration. If you're looking for inspiration for a big occasion in January or February or just a casual get together, here are sixteen ideas to get you started.
- If you're having trouble finding a great winter party invitation, then look for a company that can customize one of their Christmas invitations or cards that is filled with snowflakes, snow, or a snowman. Ask them to eliminate the holiday aspect of it and make it just a winter theme.
- Decorate with tons of white and accents of silver and icy blue. Use fabrics like chiffon, gossamer and other shears to create a winter fantasy feel.
- Scented candles can enhance the atmosphere of a winter party. Try scents like evergreen, hot cocoa or apple pie.
- Do you own a sled? Clean it up and use it as a decoration or even on top of the table to hold platters of food.
- Make a garland of mittens. Attach every pair your family owns to a ribbon and hang it across the room. If you don't have enough gloves, you can pick up some extras at the dollar store.
- Raid your box of Christmas decorations in the attic for your winter theme party. Snowflake ornaments, white twinkling lights, silver garland, plastic icicles and snowmen can work both at Christmas and at your party in January or February.
- Have a fondue party. When your guests gather around the fondue pot to dip their bread cubes into the warm cheese sauce, the conversations will flow. Plus, since they're doing their own cooking with the sauces you prepared ahead of time, you'll have a chance to join in the fun, instead of being stuck in the kitchen.
- Cook up your famous chili recipe. Nothing warms your guests more than your homemade chili, French onion soup or beef stew. A winter party is a great time to serve those stick to your ribs, comfort foods.
- Feature gourmet hot chocolates in a variety of flavors. Don't forget the whipped cream and marshmallows!
- Make your own ice sculpture. You can buy inexpensive reusable molds on the internet in a variety of shapes. Simply fill the mold about 90 percent with distilled water, freeze for 48 hours and unmold.
- Winter party favors can be anything with a snowflake motif. How about magnets with a snowflake background and personalized message like, "Your friendship warms the coldest winter - Jane and Barry Parker"? A quick online search and you'll find lots of products that can be customized with your words and even a photo.
- Plan your winter party around a seasonal activity such as sledding or ice skating.
- If you don't want to remind your guest of the cold, ice and snow, why not have a luau or Caribbean theme? Borrow some CD's from the library of Hawaiian or reggae music. Decorate with fake palm trees, seashells and flowers. Blend some coconut drinks. Break up the winter by going tropical and your guests are sure to think your party is hot.
- Build your party around a holiday or event. Have a Valentine's Day party or a Super Bowl bash. Turn President's Day, Groundhog Day or Chinese New Year into a fun get together. Check the internet for obscure special days to celebrate like Elvis' birthday on January 8th, Winnie the Pooh day on January 18th or National Gum Drop Day on February 15th. Plan a party to watch the Grammy's or the Academy Awards. And don't forget Mardi Gras!
- Throw an ugly sweater party. Invite your guests to wear their most hideous winter woolen-wear. It might be a gift they received from a well-meaning relative during the holidays. Or it could be a 20 year old impulse buy hanging in the back of their closet with the tags still attached. Whoever makes it to the top of the worst dressed list, wins a prize.
- Consider including a "snow date" on your invitations. If you live in an area that gets a lot of bad winter weather, you might want to add an alternate date for the party, in the event that the forecast is for slippery roads. Explain that you will call them before the party to change the date. If you decide to go this route, make sure you plan your menu around make-ahead foods that you freeze. In the event that the party is postponed, you won't have to buy or make new party food.
So send out those invitations and get ready for a great winter party. Your guests will be thrilled that you planned something fun and memorable to break up the cold weather blues.
- Editor's Note: Linda Kling is the owner of Lindell Productions, which offers personalized photo favors and custom photo invitations, including Year You Were Born photo birthday bookmarks, featuring your photo and fun facts from the year of your birth. Visit her website for free printables, party recipes, quotes, trivia, more.