Stress Free Holiday Party

This year was my 8th holiday party and it was by far the best! It ended up that our party fell on the same day as my 3 year old son's daycare Christmas program. His program started at 4pm but our school lets out at 3:45 so I knew I was going to have to leave early to make it. Parties were supposed to start at 2:45 per our admin. This meant that our party had to be finished and clean up complete by 3:30 so that one of our teacher's assistants could take over dismissal for me.

I had to do a little bit of prep the evening before the party:

I bought a holiday pack of Solo cups that contained green, red, silver and gold cups. I arranged them on a tri-fold board in the shape of a Christmas tree and glued them in place with a hot glue gun.  

I filled them with little goodies - like holiday ducks from Oriental Trading, toy cars, holiday stampers, bubbles etc. I made sure to have more cups and prizes than I have students, just in case of any last minute additions and to ensure that everyone got a choice of which cup to open.

I traced the top of the cup on red, green and brown butcher paper, cut the circles out and used a hot glue gun to secure the paper "lids" to the cups. For the silver cup at the very top of the tree, I spray painted a piece of white butcher paper silver, let it dry and then cut out a circle. 

I used our very limited selection of holiday dies to cut out some decorations for the board, as well as a title and used a glue stick to put them in place. The children were so excited by this, and couldn't wait for our party to start to see what it was all about. 

I also prepped our Pin The Nose on the Snowman game. It came with only 9 carrots, and I have 20 students, so I just traced one of the carrots on orange paper and cut out some extra ones. I labeled each with a child's name, and put them in a bucket to draw randomly to see who would be next. 

I taped the snowman to our dry erase board with masking tape - it came right off after the party so I could fold it up to use again next year!

I had each child wear the blindfold that came with the game, and spun them 6 times before guiding them to walk forward towards the board. They had so much fun watching each other and giggling at the silly placement of the carrots. I didn't have a prize for the "winner", and that was okay because the whole point was to have fun playing the game with our friends!

On our back wall, I taped up some black butcher paper and used chalk markers to decorate it. I then added a $1.97 photo booth kit from Walmart. It came with a background poster and a set of photo props. Here you can see how our elf, Nick, used the photo booth the next day:

During the party, I had students come up and pick their props and pose with their friends. I will be sending these pictures to their families over Christmas break (using the Remind app)!

After Pin the Nose on the Snowman, we settled at our tables to make a foam Gingerbread craft kit from Oriental Trading. This was great because it gave the kids something to do as I took pictures at the photo booth. It was super easy for them to peel and stick the pieces on, and they came out so unique even though they had the same pieces! 

Each child was able to take their gingerbread person home at the end of the party too! 

After the craft was finished and the little pieces of backing paper picked up, I called everyone back to the carpet for some dancing! We did these videos:

After getting our wiggles out, it was time to head back to our tables for our treat:

Our elf, Nick, chose to bring us some Gingerbread cookies that day, to cap off our Gingerbread Theme (we read and compared so many versions!). Each child got a few gingerbread cookies to munch on while we played the Pick a Prize game:

 I drew random names and had my students come up to break through the paper and grab their prize. They LOVED it! Everyone was thrilled with the little toy they got, and it was totally worth the time I spent making the board.

Once everyone had their prize, they threw away their napkins and extra cookies, grabbed their jackets and backpacks and sat back at carpet to listen to a story from the assistant who was covering our class while I headed for my son's program:

He looked fabulous in his Ugly Christmas Sweater, and actually sang the words and danced along! It was the icing on the cake of a very busy but fun filled day!

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