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12 Gifts Perfect for Party Hosts Slideshow

12 Gifts Perfect for Party Hosts Slideshow


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2. Hammered Glass Cake Plate

It's the kind of plate that can elevate a plain chocolate cake into a dessert that is sure to turn eyes. The edges of this sleek, sturdy, 13-inch glass plate from Annieglass are hammered to form jagged edges and painted with 24-karat gold, creating a stunning design that is evocative of a tree trunk. The sleek lines are timelessly modern, but with a bit of sparkle to catch the eye. It's the perfect statement piece to use for birthdays and holidays for years to come. $399.

3. Chalkboard Wineglasses and Carafe

Whether you're a host or a guest, keeping track of your wineglass amongst the sea of other seemingly identical glasses over the course of a night can be a challenge. If only you could write your name on your glass, kind of like they do at Starbucks when you order your triple grande hazelnut latte, right?

Now you can, thanks to Chalkboard China. The base of each stem is finished with chalk-friendly slate so each guest can personalize their own glass no wine charms needed and no mistakenly downing the last of that beloved red wine (belonging to someone else). They also make a coordinating carafe, so you know which is the kids' juice and which is the booze. Glasses, $19.95 each; carafe $39.

4. River Rock Place Mats

It's a place mat with a statement. Gone are those fabric- or plastic-coated mats of yore — say hello to place mats that fulfill both form and function. Made of hand-gathered smooth river rock, these 14-by-20-inch mats from Vivaterra come in an array of variegated colors and provide an unusual addition to the dinner table. $59 for four.

6. Italian Linen Napkins

There is something to be said about the understated elegance of these large, 100 percent cotton, Italian linen napkins that are at once both casual and formal. Inspired by Juliska's timeless berry and thread pattern, the napkins serve a multitude of purposes, from casual to special occasions, depending on whether you leave them to take on a relaxed wrinkle when air-dried or iron them to a crisp finish. They're a staple to have when entertaining. Each square is finished with a hemstitched border accented with hand-embroidered brown berry details and only grows softer with each washing. $32 each.

7. Reusable and Recyclable Cocktail Napkins

A stylish cocktail napkin that is as soft as linen, yet also so reasonably priced that you don't have to feel guilty about throwing the napkin away when it's stained with wine? It does exist.

Each roll of MYDrap cocktail napkins contains 50 squares, sized approximately 4.3-inches square perfect for serving nearly any party snack. Each can be laundered up to six times before being disposed of, and are made of recyclable, biodegradable materials. And with an array of more than 13 colors, there is a shade for nearly any party. $25 per roll.

8. Hand-Shaped Serving Utensils

They're the kind of thing you want to have on hand for any dish that is best served by dunking all 10 fingers into the bowl. Made by hand from a solid piece of eco-friendly acacia wood, these serving utensils from At West End function like a hand would, yet are a stylish, rustic (and slightly more hygienic) alternative to the traditional salad tongs or pasta servers. They're suitable for a variety of hosts, from the recent grad outfitting their first apartment to the experienced host who appears to have it all. $15.

9. Petrified Wood Serving Board

When cocktail parties are your specialty, having a variety of trays and boards in an assortment of shapes and sizes for serving is a plus for any host. From serving a wedge of Humboldt fog with dried fruits and crackers to a spread of one-bite tarts, this slice of polished, petrified wood from Anthropologie lends a touch of the unexpected to any party. About 12-inches in diameter, each board varies in size, shape, and color and makes for a unique alternative to the conventional tray. $148.

10. Jacquard Tablecloth

It's the kind of tablecloth that is sure to stand the test of time, be it the blinding harness of summer sun or the daily wear and tear its subject to as the covering for the family table. Inspired by the architectural details of Rajasthan, India, this jacquard tablecloth in rich pomegranate and curry hues from Le Jacquard Francais instantly upgrades the look of any table without limits on when it can be used or what it can be used with and is suitable enough to pass down from generation to generation. $425 for 69-by-126-inch cloth (shown at left in Rajastan pattern in Curry).

11. Bud Vases

No gathering, be it breakfast for two served on a tray in bed, or a celebratory meal with friends around the dinner table, is complete without a little color from a sprig of greenery or a single flower. These hand-blown glass vases from the master artisans at Simon Pearce are perfect for arranging in groups to create a larger mass of color fit for a large table, and also interesting enough on their own with a single stem. The vases come in an array of sizes, from 4 inches tall to 11 inches, and can be custom engraved with a name, date, or message. $65 for a 4-inch vase.

12. Flourish Table Wrapper

Allison Beck

When young kids are sharing the table with adults, it's wise to give them something to do while the adults chatter, be it a small game or a jar of crayons for doodling. Instead of buying extra coloring books (which you know they'll only color off the side of the page and onto your linen cloth), set the table using these elegant table wrappers from Cake Vintage.

Decorated with a curlicue design, each 32-inch wide roll is stylish enough for an adult gathering, yet also durable enough to resist kids drawing and splattering food. Plus, they are an eco-friendly, inexpensive alternative to traditional tablecloths to save the surface of your table from mealtime wear and tear without filling up your laundry basket. It also doubles as gift wrap, or as a stylish covering for a bouquet of flowers. $32 for one roll.

1. Vintage Napkin Rings

Jane Bruce

Napkin rings can be kind of boring, as there never is a story to tell about them or a meaning behind them. They're usually themed toward whatever sort of get-together you're hosting, be it a holiday brunch or festive meal, and aren't always timeless.

These classic vintage silver-plate napkin rings from Cake Vintage, fashioned out of mismatched silverware, have changed the game. They come in sets of four and you never know what sorts of patterns you'll get, as each set is hand-picked. Use them the next time you host a dinner party and make them a conversation piece say, "Now Chris, tell us about the story of your napkin ring." $34 for set of four.

5. Beech Wood Votive Holders

Jane Bruce

Whether you're hosting a casual dinner around the kitchen table or are venturing off for an outdoor picnic at dusk, candles are an essential part of any get-together where food and drink are involved.

When lanterns and candlesticks are too unwieldy to use, this set of five handcrafted beech wood tea light votives from Teroforma is sure to come in handy. Along with a snuffer, the set comes smartly packaged in an easily totable design that you can fit in your picnic basket or side table drawer and is finished with a flame-resistant lacquer — all you need are some votives. $50.


12 Rules for Dinner Parties, Emily Post–Approved

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Digital Colorization by Ben Park From Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

When Emily Post published her defining treatise on manners and entertaining, breezily titled Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, in 1922, she hardly could have imagined our world now, where FaceTime doesn’t mean actual face-to-face conversation, and the first thing guests say to each other is “Can I use your charger?”

“I think she would have thought all of it was so cool,” guesses Lizzie Post, her great-great-granddaughter and current mantle carrier of the etiquette doyenne’s legacy at the Emily Post Institute in Vermont. “She would have loved the sharing of photos with family and the like, but I think she would say what we say, which is that when it gets too personal, it’s a problem.”

And then there are dinner parties, a meal with friends sandwiched between status updates and careful cropping a simple pleasure that was once one of the great joys of entertaining in the era of the elder Post, who crafted it into a fine art. We asked Lizzie, who hosts a podcast on American Public Media, with her relative Daniel Post Senning, called Awesome Etiquette, to channel her great-great-grandmother and update her dinner-party rules for the hashtag generation.

Guest: Do not arrive early. For this there is no exception. Lizzie Post is very clear: “Walk around the block, go pick up some fresh flowers, anything. It is rude and it puts your host in an uncomfortable position, so whatever you do, do not arrive before the time listed on the card.”

Guest: In the (regrettable, but likely) event you are running late, be up front with the host about your E.T.A., perhaps even overestimate. Many a data plan has been exhausted with minute-to-minute updates about getting on fictitious trains or phantom pileups on the F.D.R. Be brief and honest and leave the protracted sagas to Tolstoy. Also, give the host permission to proceed without you, and if you’re going to be more than an hour late, Post advises, “Ask the host if it’s better if you just don’t come.”

Host: Be ready when you said the evening would begin. It sounds pretty simple, but it’s a common mistake, Post laments. “One of the easiest mistakes that hosts and hostesses make is that they’re not ready on time. Let’s say you told people to arrive at seven. Chances are people will get there between 7 and 7:30, but you tell people to arrive at 7, and at 7, you’ve still got way too much stuff on the stovetop and you haven’t laid out the hors d’oeuvres or drinks.”

Guest: As many etiquette conventions have fallen away, this one is timeless: do not bring someone unless you have cleared it with the host first. Even if it is not a seated dinner, it is not a barn raising. More than likely it will be fine, but who are you to decide? If an unexpected plus-one materializes, Post offers, “The good gracious host is going to welcome the uninvited guest in. They’re going to figure out how to rearrange the plates, add an extra place setting, and make it work. Make an uninvited guest feel just as comfortable.” Cher Horowitz grandstanding aside, the more may be the merrier, but it is not your call as a guest.

Host: Lively conversation will no doubt wander to the realm of politics in the coming year, and whether it’s divisive or just plain dull, a good host can reroute a boring or inelegant conversation on a dime. The best way to steer the conversation if it goes into politics, religion, or someone’s burgeoning sex life is to politely interject and offer, “Sorry to interrupt, but I was wondering if I could get everyone’s opinion on X,” and, says Post, people will be happy to oblige. “You invite people into a topic that’s about you and it’s a clear note to the offenders to change course,” Post adds.

Host: Any party worth going to will have a well-stocked bar, which means the chance of someone overdoing it is possible, if not very likely. What to do with someone who’s had one too many? Look to our nation’s Cold War policy of yore: containment. Isolate them. “Put them in a room and offer to keep them for the night. It’s really a safety issue,” says Post, adding that you are more or less taking on that responsibility when you serve alcohol in your house. “Take away their keys, say, ‘I’m insisting, you don’t have a choice, you’re staying here for the night. We will work it all out in the morning,’ ” Post generously recommends.

Guest: Speaking of booze, how many bottles of pinot have to die before we stop bringing subpar, last-minute wine to dinner parties? As much of a no-brainer as you may think the bottle of wine-as-tribute is, therein lies its downfall: very little thought. A guiding principle about what to bring begins with simply asking the host. And if his or her answer is a breezy “nothing,” do just that, as it is the host’s preference. If you are so compelled beyond the specific instructions, Post suggests something seasonal that may not be for the evening, like a jam or preserve or the perennial bouquet of flowers (already in a vase). And Vanity Fair has some suggestions, too.

Host: If any of your guests love you at all, they will Instagram the dickens out of the evening you so carefully and flawlessly executed so that friends of friends will quake with envy after finding you on the “Explore” page. But there is a time and place for all of this when actual sentient beings are together, which is to say: keep your phone away for the better part of the evening and certainly while you’re at the table. “As a host, it is live and let live, or you can specify on the invite itself, ‘I am dying to have a completely detached meal,’ and say you can use them during cocktails, but not at dinner.”

Guest: If you are newly arrived in a city or neighborhood, don’t shy away from any invitations. “And that is a time to definitely bring a gift for the hostess. Your best bet is flowers already in a vase,” Post asserts. And do arrive on time—first impressions being what they are.

Guest: Pitching in is admirable if the situation requires it, but it can often verge into awkward territory. “You can always offer to help out, but you don’t have to insist upon it. You know, you’re not this person’s best friend. Let yourself be a guest. Don’t try to insert yourself into everything.”

Host: When the host decides the evening is over, he or she, according to Post, need do one thing: “Close down the bar. Once you cut people off from alcohol, they’re ready to go somewhere else or they’re ready to go home.” And if that doesn’t work, simply begin talking about the evening in the past tense: “What a great night this was!” Which is to say, “We’re done here.” The key is to be clear, and they will get the point.

Guest: The thank you is definitely the most impactful gesture for the guest. “Say thank you when you leave, of course. And especially with people you’ve just started entertaining with, the absolute best thing is to send a written note the next day,” Post insists. However, one should take care to keep the gesture between the host and guest. One way to not thank someone, as well meaning as it is—don’t post on their Facebook wall or other spaces. “We live in a day when people are so sensitive, and if you weren’t invited, people get hurt. So I think keeping the thank you private is the best approach,” she counters. Or reference an inside joke from the evening on a fellow guest’s Instagram, like a human being.


Don’t scoff at the sour cherries! Their sweet bite and chewy texture are the perfect foil for all the crunch and salt and spice. But if you’re really not into it, sub mini chocolate chips instead.

What's better than an ice cream cone? Almost nothing. Well, except one that's covered in a thick chocolate shell dreamed up by the folks at Jeni's Splendid in Columbus, Ohio. This version calls on pretzel garnishes to nail that whole sweet-salty thing.

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

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28 Meaningful Hanukkah Gifts Perfect for the Kids and Adults in Your Life

A mix of traditional and unique ideas that won't break the bank.

Even though Hanukkah isn't rooted in presents and splendor, there's nothing that says you can't shower your loved ones with gifts during the eight-day celebration. (FYI: It takes place from December 10 - December 18 this year.) And sure, you can take the traditional route by passing out gelt (chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil) to your family and friends. If you want something more unique, take a look at these Hanukkah gifts for everyone on your list including significant others, parents, kids, and more. On this list, you'll find an assortment of thoughtful gift ideas that'll fit every interest (drinking wine, for example), gift recipient, and budget, ranging from classic picks older generations will love, inexpensive gifts little ones will still enjoy, and last-minute gift ideas that'll arrive in just two days time.

Since everyone approaches Hanukkah differently, check in with your relatives first before going overboard with gifts for the whole family. Some prefer to give money, small gifts (that's why we included several gifts under $20), or edible presents (um, latkes), so that the focus can remain on Hanukkah itself rather than a big pile of presents. Of course, there's nothing wrong with the latter either.

Round up eight bottles of wine and dress them up with these stick-on labels, complete with tongue-in-cheek phrases like "It's all tov" and "Too cool for shul."

If they're not a fan of matching family pajamas, stick with this festive t-shirt, which is perfect for bedtime. Pair it with comfy joggers or pajama bottoms for a complete look.

Long after the eight days and nights, they can fill their home with Hanukkah cheer, thanks to this candle inspired by the holiday. During its 60 - 80 burn time, it'll give off a sweet and salty aroma (think: potato latkes and applesauce).

Elf on the Shelf has some (friendly) competition: Shmelf, the Hanukkah elf. This adorable children's book reflects on the roots of Christmas and Hanukkah, so kids can learn how their traditions are unique yet intertwined.

With a name like "The Comfy," you can't go wrong: This sherpa-lined hoodie will keep them warm while still giving them the flexibility they need to work, play, or move around. It also comes in kid sizes, if you want to get some for the whole family!

Make your little ballerina feel extra special with this canvas tote bag, customized with her name, nickname, or initials. It just so happens to be the perfect size to store all of her dance shoes!

Honor the history of Hanukkah by gifting the party hostess this top-rated olive oil infuser. Before cooking, they can mix in their favorite herbs and spices to flavor the oil and track just how much they're pouring from the spout.

These screen-friendly gloves will keep their fingers warm while they keep your friends and family up-to-date with their latest whereabouts, thoughts, and emoji preferences.

Let this glowing bath buddy add some fun and color to your kid's bathtime. Just stick one of two glow packs into its back, drop it in the water, and watch as they create magic with their new pal.

While this children's book is intended to bring the laughs, it's also packed with sweet sentiment, highlighting the Yiddish language along with Jewish history and traditions. Even Ina Garten's iconic latke recipe makes an appearance!

These fleece joggers may not seem like much, but he'll be living in them from now until . forever. Nearly 14,000 Amazon reviewers rave about how comfortable they are, comparing them to "warm, soft clouds."

The succulents you buy at the store may require little upkeep, but they won't make you feel like a legit plant mom since you didn't grow them from seeds. With this kit, you can grow four plants &mdash two cacti and two succulents &mdash to proudly bear the title.

There's a first time for everything, including Hanukkah! Teach your little one (3 years and up) how to play this beloved Hanukkah game with a wooden Dreidel of their own, along with a velvet bag full of 20 wooden coins.

While trendy, this sparkly bracelet is also very symbolic: The evil eye offers protection from harm's way and misfortune a.k.a. just what she needs for the year ahead.

Fill this blank cookbook with Grandma's family-famous recipes &mdashchallah, shakshuka, the list goes on &mdash to ensure that the favorites get passed down from one generation to the next.

When they don't want to be a full-on bartender, they can simply drop one of these sugar cubes in their liquor to make an instant cocktail. Each cube comes infused with concentrated cocktail ingredients, like spearmint leaves for Mojitos.

Sometimes, we have take a step back to see the way forward &mdash and this gorgeous coffee table book shows exactly that. Inside, the author highlights 50 women who bravely shaped politics, music, movies, and American culture.

Perfect for upcoming snow days, this kit, which comes with beakers, cylinders, ink, and pipettes, has step-by-step instructions for 50 living room-friendly, parent-approved science experiments.

The colored stones on this adjustable bracelet have a hidden power: Depending on the one you pick, you can give the gift of balance, tranquility, energy, wisdom, or love.

Whiskey lovers will appreciate these stainless steel cubes that keep their drinks cool without diluting the overall flavor.

This non-stick pan comes with seven emoji faces, ranging from silly to just plain hilarious, making it the perfect tool to whip up latkes year-round. Just sayin'.

Not to point out the obvious or anything, but your teen is the trendiest person you know. Help her stay on top of the trends (not that she needs any help) by gifting her this trio of pearl and velvet headbands.

A team-building activity in disguise, this game requires strategy and quick thinking skills to seamlessly navigate gnomes through one of four mazes, which vary in difficulty level.

Smart phones are cool and all, but this vintage find lets you snap a photo of the family lighting the menorah and print it out within minutes (because Grandma will want to stick it on the fridge, of course).

Amazon reviewers rave about this crossbody &mdash it's big enough to hold keys, cards, cash, and lip balm. Although it has a shockingly low price point (under $20!), many are impressed with its "nice sophisticated look."

Make this gold, silver, or rose gold bar necklace more personal by asking this Etsy seller to engrave your loved one's name, anniversary date, or go-to mantra.

When they squeeze the gummy bear's tummy, it'll light up the room with a colorful glow. But if you really want to make this gift as sweet as possible, pair it with 2 AA batteries, so that they can use it pronto.

Customize this white or teal notebook with her first or last name to inspire a year of note taking, list making, and goal setting


Gift your host with this marble wine chiller that is perfect for keeping bottles cold throughout the night. After the event is over, the host can then store this wine chiller in the freezer so that it's good to go for the next event they decide to host.

Help your host protect their coffee table from drink glasses and liquid condiments by gifting them with this six-piece champagne embossed coaster set that comes with a matching case for storage. Once your friend or family member is done playing host, they can then put these coasters to personal use when they're having a drink alone.


22 Gifts For That Lady in Your Life Who's Always Throwing a Party

Arriving empty-handed to a holiday party is a serious no-no, but bringing your standard bottle of wine can get tired, too. With invitations streaming in and a ton of soirees to attend, it's imperative that you stock up on standout gifts for that hostess who is always throwing a bash. We've rounded up 22 perfect party gifts — from cookbooks to lavish home essentials — that are not only chic, but super thoughtful as well — and will ensure that you get invited back again and again.


Cotton Candy Martini – Remember Your Childhood with a Twist

How about a cocktail that can be made within a couple of minutes?

  • 60 ml Vodka
  • 10 gms Cotton candy
  • 60 ml Cranberry juice
  • 30 ml Lime juice
  • 30 ml Simple syrup
  • Take a shaker - add vodka, cranberry juice, lime shaken and simple syrup, and some crushed ice in it.
  • Shake the ingredients until the ice melts down.
  • Pour the mixture over cotton candy in a martini glass.

Recipe by: Jason Rodriques, Mixologist- Long and Short, Intercontinental Marine Drive.


22 of the Best Birthday Party Ideas for Girls

We rounded up theme ideas (and tips for how to execute them!) to help you plan the perfect party.

Do you remember how much you looked forward to your birthday party when you were a kid? The decorations, the gifts, the cake, the goodie bag ideas for birthday parties (did we mention the cake?)! In fact, kids get so excited about the following year&rsquos celebration that it&rsquos not unusual for them to start planning the next party before the last guest leaves.

We know what you parents are thinking&mdashtime, slow down. But in this world of Pinterest- and Instagram-worthy birthday parties for kids, you might just need a full year to plan! Especially when your little girl requests an over-the-top, truly magical unicorn party or the world&rsquos most epic mermaid party. (Googling now: How much does it cost to hire Ariel for a birthday party?).

In the wide world of girl birthday party ideas, you might think it&rsquos all &ldquogo big or go home,&rdquo and that is certainly an option. But there are other creative ways to celebrate another trip around the sun without breaking the bank or your back. Whatever age your girl is or interests she has, check out these sweet and sassy birthday party ideas for girls to make your little darling feel special

What kid wouldn't want a bounce party? If the weather's warm enough&mdashand if you have the space&mdashhost the party in your own backyard. Instead of renting a bouncy house for the event, buy an affordable one like this retro-style castle and it can double as a gift for the birthday girl.

If there's one party theme that will never go out of style, it's a slumber party! Have partygoers bring over their sleeping bags, then order pizza and turn on best kids movies on Netflix.

Her birthday doesn't have to fall in December to throw a Nutcracker-themed bash, but it certainly would make it easier because your home's holiday decor could double as party decorations.

Tie-dye is trending in a big way right now, and not just shirts. We're seeing hoodies, leggings, and even socks in the throwback design. This party idea is right on for tweens who are crafty and into creating their own fashions.

Have a Trolls movie fan in your life? Luckily, a Trolls birthday party is a pretty easy theme to pull off. Go with a rainbow color palette and pepper in themed details, like this hair-raisingly good DIY headband.

Get the tutorial at DIY Inspired.

For that music- and dance-loving girl, a karaoke-dance party hits all the right notes. A tricked-out karaoke machine (this one has lights, two microphones for duets, and a screen) doubles as party entertainment and a pretty sweet gift. Create a playlist with all her favorites to celebrate her big day.

Throw a party as bright and cheery as your little one! From decorations to food, a rainbow theme is super easy to execute. To make the table runner see here, all you need is a pack of multi-colored balloons, a few beads, and some white thread. The creator, Cristina of Bird's Party, even made a video to show you exactly how it's done.

Get the tutorial at Bird's Party.

Little girls love to be pampered! Instead of carting the kiddos to the salon, bring the salon experience to them. Greet guests with matching robes that they can take home as party favors. Wrangle a friend or two to come help you with manis/pedis while the kiddos relax with face masks (don't forget the cucumber eye patches). If you're having a large party, consider hiring a few pros to come in for the day.

Celebrate the little Picasso in your life with an art-themed party. Best of all? You won't have to break the bank to pull it off. A mix of simple, colorful decorations and foods (fruit skewers, veggies and dip, cupcakes) and a few special touches, like these mini canvases the kiddos can paint as an activity, are all you need to make a masterpiece of a party.

Is the little lady in your life obsessed with slime? (Aren't all kids?) Celebrate her big day with a party that'll have her (and her guests!) oozing smiles. The big event, of course, is making the slime, so prepare a slime-kit tote bag for each guest with everything they'll need.

Toot your little one's horn with a magical unicorn-themed birthday party she won't soon forget. For decorations, you can't go wrong with a simple pastel or rainbow color palette. Rely on a few statement-making elements, like the cake and cupcakes seen here, for some truly Instagram-worthy moments.

Celebrate your leading lady with a backyard movie night! Whether it's the main event or part of a birthday slumber party, kids&mdashespecially the pre-teen crowd&mdashwill love the chance to break away from the grownups and catch best classic kids movies outdoors.

To create your home theater, you'll need a blank wall or sheet and a portable projector (you'll hook it up to your laptop or another device). Set up comfy seating and a "concession stand" offering classic theater fare, like popcorn, nachos, and boxed candies.

Your little gal will be tickled pink by a flamingo-themed fête! Pink should be the main color, of course, but it doesn't have to be the only color. Try mixing shades of pink&mdashfrom pale to neon&mdashwith white, gold, and green. Pile on the sweets (think a pink candy buffet, pink macaroons, and, of course, a pink cake or cupcakes) and plan a few activities (ring toss around a flamingo's neck or who can hop on one foot the longest?), and you've got yourself a party!

With its bright colors and uplifting soundtrack, a Moana-themed birthday party is a natural fit for a Disney-loving girl's celebration. Go with a general Hawaiian party theme and pepper in movie references and imagery, and you're pretty much good to go.

Want to keep dessert simple? A homemade stencil and some colored sugar crystals are all you need to make the "Heart of Te Fiti" design on the cupcakes seen here.

Get the tutorial at Mama Cheaps.

An ice cream-themed gathering is perfect for summer, but you can pull this theme off any time of year. Decorate your space with candy-colored decorations and set up a build-your-own sundae bar with all the toppings. How cute would the birthday girl be in this cone-printed dress?

Planning a circus party doesn't have to feel like a circus. One statement-making element, like a suite of colorfully designed signs, can do most of the heavy lifting in terms of decorating. Smaller items, like "tent" party hats, can drive the look home. Small boxes of animal crackers with their circus-themed packaging make for sweet party favors.

Show the birthday girl a whale of a good time with an ocean/mermaid-themed birthday party she won't soon forget. Set the mood (and your table) with shades of blue and a sprinkling of sand, shells, and starfish, like the table seen here. On-theme bites, like these adorable oyster cookies, take it to the next level.

Get the recipe at Make Life Lovely.

You can never go wrong with a Mickey-themed birthday party. For something a little different, branch out from the classic red, black, and yellow color palette and instead stick to a simple black-and-white scheme. Not only is it chic, but you'll have an easier time finding party supplies. And don't be afraid to experiment with unexpected patterns. We love how Lindsey of Life Lutzurious incorporated a black-and-white grid pattern into her Mickey decor.

See more of this party at Life Lutzurious.

Whether she's 2-4-6-8 or any age in between, show her how much you appreciate her with a cheerleading-themed party. Invite older girls to help out and teach a couple of cheers and chants (you'll be glad you did once the sugar rush kicks in!). Choose balloons and paper products in her team's favorite colors. Shiny cheerleader pom-poms are a super-fun favor.

Pinkies up! Is your little girl always playing tea party? Why not throw her a real one for her birthday complete with cucumber sandwiches and scones? (Fancy hats are a must!) These 3-D party favor boxes can do double duty as table decor.

Make all her fairytale dreams come true with a princess-themed birthday party. Invite guests to fancy-dress in their "princess best." Wands and create-your-own tiaras make for fun DIY party favors.

You can pull off the mad-scientist theme any time, but it would be especially cute around Halloween. (And probably easier to shop for.) Think self-serve drink dispensers topped with dry ice for an extra spooky effect and grab-and-go treats, like the "monster guts" seen here.


Instant Pot Peanut Brittle

This Instant Pot candy recipe delivers a classic candy shop treat with no intimidation factor. In fact, you don&rsquot even need a candy thermometer to make this perfectly porous and crisp brittle. While it makes a scrumptious treat any time of year, our Instant Pot Peanut Brittle is especially awesome to make during the holiday season. Being that the recipe produces a generous yield of candy, it&rsquos an excellent goody for gifting. A key factor in candy cooking is making sure you sugar granules are completely dissolved. If you want to give your brittle a little test as it cooks, take your wooden spoon or rubber spatula (whatever you&rsquore using to stir the mixture) to scoop a small amount of the melted sugar mixture and spread a thin layer onto a paper plate. This allows you to see any sugar crystals that may still be in the mixture, as well as observe how the mixture hardens as it cools. If the mixture hardens like glass and cracks easily, you know it&rsquos ready.


There are so many great pool games out there, but one of our favorites involves numbered ping pong balls. Intrigued? Click here to find out more from Life of a Homebody , plus a bunch more awesome games.

Your guests will be having so much fun they might not want to leave, but you can keep the party going with a fun memento from the day. Check out these awesome party favors that your guests will love and appreciate both during the party and long after it’s over.



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