Spring is almost here and in my house, that means it’s almost time for a birthday party…for a little boy–my youngest, no less. Every year he gets excited about six weeks beforehand and starts dropping not-very-subtle hints about what he wants for his birthday, and where he wants his party. This year he is turning the big 1-0 and he’s all about computers and baseball–if you can’t catch it or code it, it’s impossible to get much of his attention for very long. He wants a robotics and game design party–yes, this exists–but maybe because it’s a landmark year (ten feels special and monumental to me) this got me thinking about all the different parties we’ve had over the years (don’t worry, I’ve omitted any duplications).
One of my closest friends from childhood had a baby last week and I’m meeting him for the first time today. Suffice it to say, I’m beyond excited–first, I love babies and second, I remember getting the text last June that she was preggers and have been following this pregnancy with much joy and anticipation.
When thinking about a gift for a new, first baby I always go back to my first year arsenal of must-have items that saved my new-mommy tush from meltdowns, helped me cram in a much-needed shower or just added some joy to our daily reprieve. Here are some of those items.
Despite my passion for gift-giving and shopping (it’s kind of the whole premise for this blog) when it comes to the holidays, hosting and feeding my family and friends takes the cake–literally and figuatively. I love preparing the menu, decorating our house with my husband and kids–well, he watches and directs while we decorate but it’s still really fun–finding a fun activity for guests to break the ice and then pulling it all together. That said, I also visiting family and friends: our annual tradition of going to my aunt’s for Christmas Day, celebrating New Years Eve with my husband at “our” restaurant where we had our wedding reception, watching all the kids and grown-up men get sweaty and hungry playing soccer (or maybe it’s football) on Thanksgiving at my in-law’s.
Whether it’s an established tradition or a new invitation that finds you celebrating in someone else’s home, it’s customary to bring a token of thanks. I’ve written about hostess gifts before, and my “rules of the road” (a bunch of them will work for the holidays too so feel free to check them out again, particularly this one and this one) but these gift ideas focus on unexpected and holiday specific ideas to warm the hearts and homes of your hosts.
Nothing gussies up a table like place cards and a holder can serve a couple functions. There’s the obvious, of course, but some holders can be favors transforming into paper weights or picture frames after your guests have gone home. I had gold cherubs at the dinner party following my wedding which today holds a small family photo on our coffee table. This last Christmas Eve I used little snowflakes on my table that held a mini Polaroid photo my kids snapped of each guest as they walked through the door paparazzi-style. Guests took their snowflake and photo home as a keepsake. But that was then… These are place card holders I’m looking at for future dinner parties (or fantasizing about). Psst… Look for any savings opportunity marked with an asterisk (* or **), details in the footer.
When I was a little girl, I was given a set of Crane’s stationery for my First Communion from someone I don’t now remember. Because of the simple and clean look of the stationery, that gift really came in handy at that time because I used them to send thank-you notes. However, stationery has come a long way, and the web has given shoppers and gift givers options like never before from variety to customization and crowd sourcing. Here are some options on my list to give AND get (remember, even if you get stationery, you’re going to be giving it to people over time).