Winter Holidays Around the World
The winter season is filled with holidays. Here are some examples of how different cultures celebrate in the winter months around the world:
Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration that lasts eight days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev. Part of the celebration includes a candelabrum called a menorah. Each day includes a ritual of lighting one of the candles, symbolizing the miracle of the Maccabees’ oil lasting nine days.
The rest of the celebration includes:Singing songs
Playing with a top called a dreidel
Eating potato pancakes, or latkes
Making jelly-filled donuts called sufganiyot
The Hindu religion celebrates Diwali, a festival of lights, during the month of Kartika on the Hindu Lunisolar calendar – it is usually between mid-October and mid-November. The five-day festival is associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and is a celebration of light over dark, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.
The celebrations include:Fireworks
Decorations like intricate flour and rice designs beside shrines
Candies called “mithai”
Kwanzaa originated in 1966 as a holiday that honours African heritage and culture. The week-long celebration includes lighting seven candles in a kinara, each candle symbolizing one of the principles of Kwanzaa, and culminates with a feast and presents.
4. Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year, is the first day on the traditional Chinese calendar, it is a celebration of ancestors and deities. The holiday has a variety of regional customs and traditions but most celebrate with a family gathering and feast, along with red envelopes filled with lucky money, and cleaning the house in preparation for the holiday.
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus every year with Christmas. Christmas is on December 25th and most celebrations include a feast, gift-giving, and decorating a Christmas tree.
In Finland, families light a single candle on Christmas eve beside the graves of their loved ones.
In Ireland, children go door to door singing while holding up holy bush and wren on a stick.
The winter is filled with many joyous holidays that are celebrated around the world. They are the perfect time to spend quality time with the family, eat delicious food, and stay out of the cold! If you’re looking for activities to do with your kids during the winter that aren’t holiday-related, our other ideas are here.
How to throw an Environmentally Friendly Party!
Hosting an event while being cautious about the environment can seem like a big feat, so here are some tips for hosting an environmentally friendly party:
Scrap the Invite Cards
Skip the disposable invitation cards, opting for Evites or other digital invitations. Evites will go right to the parents’ inboxes and there is a huge selection of cards that will adorably fit your theme.
Say No to Loot Bags
Loot bags are so been there, done that! Plus those cheap toys (and their packaging) go right into a landfill. If you are giving away party favours, make it something your guests can make themselves! You could try tie-dye shirts or pottery art, better yet, why not opt for something consumable? Your guests will have fun making these favours and these gifts won’t end up at the bottom of some toy box.
Giving to Charity instead of Gifts
Ask your guests to donate to charity in lieu of giving you a gift. Making it easy on your partygoers while supporting a wonderful cause. Choosing a cause with your child also teaches them giving back and caring. Here’s a great site to check out for more information.
Food and How to Serve It
Avoid using single-use utensils and flatware! Instead, use your own cutlery and opt for food that doesn’t need plates, like pizza, and homemade cupcakes make for a nice plateless cake substitute. Also, avoid providing your guests with juice boxes and plastic water-bottles.
Entertainment and Activities
Face painting is a great activity for guests and does not produce any waste! It’s environmentally friendly and your guests will love it! Eco Glitter is also totally biodegradable and will not end up sitting at the bottom of the ocean as regular glitters do.
Be creative and create an eco activity, such as crafts that are from recyclable items or can be recycled, or baking, kids LOVE baking. Play good old fashioned games like Freeze Dance, Simon Says, and Limbo – you’d be surprised how much FUN these simple, silly games will keep kids happy. Don’t overthink it! All of these tips will help in throwing an environmentally friendly party, but being cautious and doing your best is a step in the right direction.
How to Hire a Great Entertainer
Planning a birthday party or family event can sometimes be stressful. What type of theme will it be? What kind of food will you serve? What kind of great entertainer will you provide?
While it might not seem an enormous endeavour, sometimes providing something for your guests to do, especially children, can be a challenge. That’s where hiring a professional might come in handy, someone to take some of the work off of your shoulders and keep your guests occupied during the festivities.
To start with, you will need to decide on a theme because this will often inform your decision on entertainment. Having a backyard party – a bouncy castle might be in order? Throwing a princess theme party, a professional Princess will fit the bill? Doing an animal or zoo theme, a face painter or petting zoo would be suitable entertainment?
Here’s a few suggestions when looking to hire a great entertainer:
- Consider the age of your party-goers. Babies and tots might not respond well to clowns or a life-sized mascot. It might be best to find an activity that’s more age-appropriate. A musical entertainer or puppeteer might be more suitable for children under three. If you’re unsure, ask the entertainer their ideal age range.
- Decide if your party will be indoors or out. Some entertainers, like clowns and illusionists, work best inside, while carnival attractions, like popcorn and cotton candy machines, work best outside. Balloonists and face painters, meanwhile, will work well both in and out of doors. Just make sure to provide ample shade. Also plan a rain day alternative, just in case.
- One of the best places to search out entertainment is on the internet.
Keep these things in mind when looking:
How long have they been in business?
Is their website in order?
Do they offer pictures or a portfolio of their work and testimonials from past clients?
Do they have a favourable rating on social media?
The answers to these questions will provide good clues into how professional the entertainer is. Also, feel free to ask for references.
- Ask if the entertainer carries their own insurance. While an independent performer might not, a reputable business should have this.
- Get a quote ahead of time so that there are no unexpected surprises. Get payment terms from your entertainer; is there a deposit required and what types of payment will they accept?
- Make sure to discuss with entertainer the time they will arrive, what, if anything they will need you to provide. For instance, a face painter will usually require a table and two chairs, plus access to water, a magician will likely need a table and some quiet time before hand to set up.
- In most situations, tipping is optional, although most entertainers will always appreciate it.
10 Unique Theme Party Ideas
Tired of the same old birthday party and theme party ideas? Why not give one of these fresh and unique theme party ideas a go for your next celebration. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, just a little bit of creativity on your part and your guests young and old will love it!
Here are some great ideas, using food, décor and games to tie in with your theme:
Flamingo & Pineapple Party:
A great alternative to the Luau, this theme works great outdoors and in. Just add some inflatables to your table, tropical fruit and bright pastel décor for this fun festivity.
Pancakes and Pyjamas:
Perfect for sleepovers! Make breakfast a late-night meal with this fun theme party idea. Great for teens and tweens, create a pancake and waffle station with all of your favourite toppings, add in some movies or a dance party to make your party complete.
Under the Sea Mermaid Party:
Get creative with buried treasure chests filled with chocolate coins and beads, seafood themed treats, seashell and pearl décor in purple and turquoise colours. Your little darlings will be delighted.
Host a Spa Day for Kids:
Great for kids of all ages, but especially teens and tweens. Break out the face masks, bath bombs and nail polish! Offer up healthy snacks, smoothies and herbal teas, this theme is all the new-age!
Tea Party for Tweens:
Dust all your tea sets and fine bone china and set a table with fine linens. Serve up tiny tea sandwiches, pastries and bite-sized treats with pink lemonade or iced tea. Host your party in the garden for a memorable setting, fitting for even a queen.
Everything old is new again, and Trolls are known for throwing an awesome party. Tie in their rainbow colours into your décor and food and don’t forget the glitter!
What better theme party for your little outdoorsman/woman. Tackle this theme with some edible bait like worms-n-dirt, set up fishing rods and nets in a kiddy pool and offer up snacks in tackle boxes.
With red and black checkerboard table linens, some rustic décor and good eats, this theme will delight your guests. Tie in some fun lumberjack games to make this party complete.
Perfect for kids of all ages, bring out their wild side with this fun theme idea. Use jungle theme décor colours like green, brown and yellow or an animal print theme for your table. Have a face painter or balloon twister on hand to create jungle animal faces/animals.
Overnight or for just a few hours, this camping theme is sure to be a hit. Have a small campfire where the kids can make smores or just make them in the oven. Sing camp songs or tell stories around a fake fire.
6 Awesome Loot Bag Alternatives
Kids love loot bags! You know, those little bags filled with toys and treats that they receive at the end of the party. Only trouble is, many of the keepsakes are dollar store items that just end up in the garbage. Loot bags can also be expensive and stressful for parents when planning a birthday celebration. Here are some loot bag alternatives that will keep costs down but still create a memorable experience for the kids.
- Hire an entertainer
Balloonists, face painters, or nail artists are all great options. This form of entertainment is fun or kids of all ages. Not only will your guests experience a one-of-a-kind experience, they’ll have a short-term souvenir from the party which can be captured long-term in pictures.
- Offer a T-shirt
Offering t-shirts that are themed or colour printed with the birthday child’s name is a great reusable alternative to loot bags. Not only can they wear the item at the party, but they’ll be able to wear it again and again. Check out these customised t-shirt options here.
- Make a keepsake craft
There are hundreds of affordable ideas available, you just have to use your imagination.
Work your craft around a theme
These adorable popsicle stick Minion or monster crafts,
superhero popsicle heroes or these paper bag monsters puppets. In a fun craft for preschoolers, use fruit loop cereal to craft a necklace or rainbow, or create a great eco-craft like these two versions of bird seed ornaments using cookie cutters or oranges. Or get messy with one of these paintable options: woodland birdhouse craft or monogram letter art.
- Rent something cool
Renting from a party rental supplier, like a bouncy castle for younger kids, an arcade game or pinball machine, or photo booth for older kids, or a popcorn machine or cotton candy maker for an outdoor event or carnival themed party. Local companies offer delivery and set up too!
- Host a treasure or scavenger hunt
Set up a fun activity with an ultimate prize. Not only is searching for the treasure through a series of clues a fun-filled activity, but the prize can include edible items like wrapped candies, chocolate coins (doubloons!) and small packages of chips or cookies. Depending on the age you can also offer keepsake items like colouring books and crayons, Play-doh (for the younger set), baseball, Star Wars or Pokeman cards, dollar store gift certificates, and drugstore products like lip gloss and nail polish (for tweens and teens).
- Donate to a charity
Donate to a charity on behalf of the birthday child and give each guest a thank you note telling them a little about the charity and what difference their donation made. Check this site out for free party invitations and ideas.
Tips for a Great Theme Party
Having a party? Why not make it into an event by creating a theme party. It’s great for all ages and it will be a change from the norm.
- Decide on a theme
Ideas can come from brainstorming with friends and family, the internet, books and magazines or pop culture such as movies and television. Be as creative as you like.
- Decide on a date for your themed event
Make sure that it doesn’t conflict with any important family or work event or holiday (unless the theme is tied to the Holiday)
- Create invitations
Mail or hand deliver the invites – it creates more excitement than a phone call or email. Allow at least two weeks before the party for mailing and ask that everyone RSVP so you know they received the invitation. Sometimes they get lost in the mail.
- Make a list of all of the things that need to be accomplished before the party date
This might include food and drinks that you want to serve as well as music, decorations, party games and entertainment (like a face painter!), prizes, etc. You will feel less overwhelmed if you have written everything down.
- The party doesn’t have to cost you a bundle
Ask guests to bring one item that you select for them that ties into the theme. This could be a food dish or a beverage. Include this in their invitation.
- Hold a Costume Party
To encourage guests to dress in costumes, offer incentives such as door prizes (that can be purchased at the dollar store) or lottery tickets.
- Ask friends ahead of time to help
Get your guests to bring music and equipment or help serve food and drinks. This will make you job as the host/hostess less stressful and you will be able to mingle with guests.
- Make sure Everyone stays hydrated.
Have plenty of bottled water and non-alcoholic beverages available for guests
- Set an end time if you don’t want guests to overstay their welcome
You don’t want them to have too much fun! Don’t forget to have some cash on hand for taxis.
These tips will help you get started:
Some popular theme party ideas are:
- Great Gatsby/Prohibition/Roaring 20’s
- Colour theme: pink, blue, etc.
- Titanic Era
- Mods and Rockers
- Mexican Fiesta
- Vicars and Vixens
- Screen Heroes and Heroines
- Medieval Knights/Lord of the Rings
- Agatha Christie/Murder Mystery
- Wizards/Harry Potter
Major events that make great themes:
- Showers (Bridal and Baby)
- Stag and Does
- Fundraisers (church and school)
- St. Patrick’s Day
- Mardi Gras
Bodyssey & Beyond Conference 2016!
The Bodyssey & Beyond conference is an annual event for party and event staff held at the gorgeous Banff Centre for the Arts, nestled between the mountains in Banff, Alberta.
The conference, hosted by the CAFABA – Canadian Association of Face and Body Artists, is filled with workshops for all types of entertainers.
The Happy Faces Party team touched down in Alberta to attend the conference in 2016, allowing our face painting artists and balloonists to attend workshops and fine-tune their skills!
We are excited to learn, network, take in the beautiful scenery, then come back to Toronto with all sorts of new tips & tricks.