Unique Thanksgiving Traditions to Start This Year

Whether this is your first Thanksgiving as a family or you are just looking for some new ways to spice up your Turkey Day celebrations, starting a new tradition can be fun and exciting! Everyone eats Turkey and watches football on Thanksgiving. If you are looking for some unique traditions, ones that your family will love and keep coming back to every year, not just because they are traditions, but because they are actually fun, here are some perfectly unique Thanksgiving traditions. Try a few this year and maybe even avoid the boredom that usually sets in waiting for the turkey to cook.

1. Give out “thank you” awards.

Instead of just pondering on what you’re thankful for, have everyone in the family write down things they love about each other and why they are thankful to be a family (or, if you are celebrating with friends, a friend group). You can even make turkey-themed stationary or pumpkin place card holders for this activity. During dinner, have each person hand out their “thank you” awards to all of the other members of the group and talk about why they are thankful this year.

2. Make a Thankfulness Tank.

This is a project you can conduct all year, every year, which comes to a climax each year on Thanksgiving Day. Set out a jar with some slips of paper or cards and a pen. Throughout the year (or throughout Thanksgiving Day), have people write down what they are thankful for and put it into the jar. They can sign them, or not. A great focus of the Thankfulness Tank would be to write down a personal note to each family member, thanking them for something kind they did during the year. If you leave out the tank for the entire year, try to remember to add to it regularly.

3. A Thanksgiving advent calendar.

Advent calendars are traditionally used for Christmas, but they are just as fun for Thanksgiving. Draw a tree or print one off of the computer, and make enough leaves out of yellow, brown, and red paper to represent the days left until Thanksgiving. On the top, number each leaf, and on the bottom, write a category of something you might be thankful for. For example, you could write “house,” on the bottom of a leaf. On that day, pull the leaf off of the tree and discuss why you are thankful for a warm, safe home.

4. A fall tree of thanks.

This is a great activity for the kids! Make a construction paper tree and stick it to the wall. Then, cut leaves out of red, brown, yellow, and orange paper. Each day leading up to Thanksgiving, have everyone in the family write something that they are thankful for on a leaf and stick it to a tree. Not only does it help to remind you to be grateful, it doubles as a decoration.

5. Thankfulness journal.

This will become a beloved keepsake over the years. Get a nice journal, one that will keep together over years of use. Each year, let each family member or friend who attends Thanksgiving dinner write a note or two about what they are thankful for. While you can read the notes during the meal, it will also be something great to look at throughout the year. This is a great project if you have shy family members or friends who are sheepish about expressing their thanks or receiving it around the table. Plus, it’s a great way to track priorities and to watch your children and friends grow over the years.

6. Give back.

Thanksgiving Day shouldn’t just be about sitting down and eating a huge meal. It can also be about providing service to people who are not as fortunate. Giving service is a great way to show appreciation for what you have. Donating money or food to a food bank is a great place to start, as is volunteering to help with their meals, either cooking or serving. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it is a great way to give back and give thanks for what you have.

7. Roll up some gratitude.

Did you know that you can write notes on parchment paper and roll them into crescent roll dough, baking a note of thanks right into the roll? Once everyone breaks into a roll and pulls out their “thankfulness fortune,” have everyone read what the parchment paper says. For a fun game, after each person reads, have them guess who wrote the note.

8. Decorations of gratitude.

If a construction paper tree, taped to the wall, is not your style, instead, gather branches or buy them from a craft store. Put them in a festive vase and have people hang little paper leaves, tagged with what they’re thankful for, on the branches. Not only will it get everyone in the gratitude mood, it will also look great at the center of the table. As you enjoy the meal, go around the table, pull off a leaf, and read what someone is grateful for.

9. Try a foreign Thanksgiving.

The United States isn’t the only country that celebrates a Thanksgiving-type holiday. Even if your family has been in the States since the First Thanksgiving, look into how other countries give thanks. If you have a strong foreign heritage, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to try something non-traditional, especially if your family is getting tired of turkey and stuffing. If your family hails from Scotland or India or Asia, don’t be afraid to tip your hat to that cultural heritage. After all, isn’t that really what Thanksgiving is about? Celebrating your family and your heritage?

Unique Ideas for Kids’ Parties

Even if your kid is only a few years old, you might be getting tired of the same party themes over and over. By now, you’ve probably been to at least two Spiderman parties. Your little tyke loves Spiderman, but it might be time to branch out and try a different party theme. Having a unique party will make you and your kid the talk of the play group, and having new activities to do and a new experience will be something that your kid and his guests remember even years down the road.

If you’re ready to try out some new party ideas, you’re in luck! We have nine unique ideas for kids’ parties, thing no one else on your block has thought of!

1. Paleontologist Party

If your little guy or gal loves dinosaurs, his or her birthday is the perfect time to highlight that. But instead of just decorating with dinos and having a cake, why not have an interactive party? If you already have a sandbox, all you have to do is bury a couple of plastic dinosaurs in the sand and then set your guests loose with shovels and brushes. If you don’t have a sandbox, you can purchase a cheap kiddie pool from just about any store and fill it with sand. Just try to remember how many dinos you buried so you can be sure you’ve dug them all up by the end of the party!

2. Petting Zoo Party

If there’s not a petting zoo in your area, there might be a traveling one that can bring the animals right to your house. This is a great idea for any kids that loves animals, and will provide hours of fun, even for a large group of kids. If you are planning on getting your child a pet as a present, this is the perfect party. Once she’s petted all of the animals, you can present her with her very own puppy or kitten to care for.

3. Dog Affair

Again, if your child has asked for a puppy for her birthday and you are going to get her one, this is a great way to celebrate both her birthday and the new addition to your family. This type of party usually works best if you are only inviting a small number of people over to your house, as it can get a little rowdy with a large group. Have all of your guests bring their dogs over to your backyard, or to a local dog park. The kids will have so much fun playing with the dogs, and you and the other parents can sit back and let the dogs do a little babysitting.

4. Make It a Movie

Don’t want to host the party at your house but still want to have a fun adventure? Why not take your child and his friends to see a movie? Even if you see movies regularly, it can still feel like a special occasion to sit in a movie theater with all of your friends. Many theaters even allow you to rent out an entire screen just for your party, so your kids can make as much noise as they want and you don’t have to worry about any other people intruding on your fun.

5. Decorate-it

Unless you love baking, making and decorating enough cupcakes or cookies for an entire party may seem more than a little daunting. You can pass off this task to your guests and they will actually love decorating their own cookies or cupcakes before devouring them! Either make or purchase plain cupcakes or sugar cookies, as well as icing, sprinkles, and other decorating accessories and let your child and her guests go to town!

6. Go on an Excursion

What about visiting an aquarium? At the aquarium, staring up at the fish as they swim around in their tanks, will occupy your kid and his guests for hours. Most aquariums even have special rooms or activities just for planned parties. If you call ahead and make arrangements, you’ll like be able to see a feed or even set up an activity where you child and his friends get to pet a manta ray or other sea creature.

7. Visit the Museum

Visiting the aquarium might enthrall some kids for hours, but others will likely want to visit the museum. Many cities even have museums that are specially designed for kids and what they like and want to do. This is great for parents who want to have a hands-off party. Even a normal museum, if you call ahead, is likely to plan special activities for your party, from showing the kids how dinosaur bones are found and preserved, to making a fake volcanic eruption.

8. Go Go-Karting

For a small group, there’s nothing better than hitting the track. For a few extra bucks, you might even be able to rent the entire venue for a few hours. Go karts are surprisingly safe and fun, even if your kid is well below the driving age. And unlike bumper cars, you’re not likely to get whiplash. Zipping around the track at top-speed will be fun for all—making it great even if your kid has shy friends that might not engage in other group activities.

9. Video Game Bash

If your guy or gal loves video games, setting up a video game party is easy. You already have the game and the game box. Just make sure you have the right controllers and enough snacks to go around, and the party will direct itself.

DIY Halloween Decorations

While most people will want to buy most of their Halloween decorations, there’s nothing wrong with trying your hand a few craft projects to personalize or supplement store-bought decorations. If you get trick-or-treaters were you live, decorating your house is a great way to encourage kids to come up and get their treats (and stop the tricking). Don’t be afraid! These projects are simple and cheap. You can even get the kids to help you, if you want to get them into the Halloween spirit! Whether you want your house to be creepy and spooky, or just a little more charming, here are some great DIY Halloween decorations that anyone can make.

Deck Out the Door

It’s the first thing that many people see as they’re coming up to your house, and you can seriously deck it out with just a few simple craft supplies and a little bit of time. This is especially great for college students that live in apartment complexes, where putting up a lot of other decorations isn’t feasible.

Want to turn your door into a mummy? All you need is a roll of white streamers and some tape. Just start layering pieces of streamer across the width of your door, angling them, so that it looks like it has been wrapped up. As a finishing touch, add some eyes.

Using construction paper, you can easily turn your door into a graveyard. All you have to do is make some grass, by cutting out strips of green and fringing the edge. Then, cut out some gravestones and put them in the grass. You can add some names and dates for even greater detail. Add a full moon and maybe a dead tree and your door is a spooky graveyard!

Turning your door into a zombie, vampire, or werewolf is as easy as using construction paper to cut out the shapes and then taping them to your door using masking tape. As long as there isn’t a heavy thunderstorm, your creation will last for days and is an excellent addition to your decoration. A decorated door can even be your own decoration. Because it’s so big and is where trick-or-treaters will wait to receive their candy, it is plenty of decoration for most homes.

Add a Spooky Presence to a Tree

If you have a tree in your yard, it can be a great place to stash some creepy specters. The easies tree decoration is to make a pair of scary eyes. All you need is a pair of white beach balls and a permanent marker. Blow up the beach balls so that they are the same size, and then color on pupils with the marker. For an added touch, insert some LED lights into the beach balls, so that the eyes glow in the dark. Frightening!

For an extra scary tree, get lots of beach balls and repeat the process, adding many pairs of glowing eyes to your tree, observing every costumed kid that walks in front of your house.

Another great way to utilize your tree is to hang a gaggle of ghosts from it. Using some white fabric (like an old sheet), and some fishing line, string up some ghosts. Again, you can use lights to make them look like they are glowing as night descends. These ghosts will move in the breeze and look they are lilting back and forth in your tree, just waiting to spook the next trick-or-treater who comes to close. To really give these ghosts life and dimension, use a foam ball (available from any craft store), as the head, and drape the fabric over it.

You can also create a colony of bats in your tree, simply by cutting them out of construction paper and affixing them to some fishing line. Then, tie the line to the branches and let the fall breeze blow them back and forth.

Give Character to a Yard

Making a graveyard is as easy as gathering up a bunch of leftover boxes and pieces of packing foam, cutting them into the right shape, and spray painting them. If you have a dark yard, without any light shining out into it, you can even forgo putting names and dates on the tombstones, as no one will be able to read them. This is a quick fix for any yard!

If you want to put a little more time and effort into your decorations, one of the easies things to build is a grim reaper. He looks super scary, set back from your house, in the shadows, and will be a memorable yard decoration kids will talk about for years to come. All you need is a plastic skull, some black fabric, a long piece of wood, and a piece of wire. Prop the skull on the end of the piece of wood, and stake it into your yard, wherever you want your specter to be.

Then, bend the wire into a U-shape. Staple fabric around this U to make a hood, and then attach the hood to the skull. Then, cover the wood in the remaining fabric, ensuring there is enough to blow in the wind and create the appearance of a cloak.

To really up the creepiness factor, find some alien noises or monster sounds online and download them onto a CD. Put the CD player outside and out of sight and press play before the trick-or-treaters come to visit. They may not be able to see the monsters creeping behind your house, but they will definitely be able to hear them. And hearing them, without seeing them, is certainly frightening!

Want to go big?  Tent Rentals, Party Rentals & Event Rentals in Philadelphia can be found here: Bucks-Mont Party Rental

7 Tips for Planning a Low Cost Party

Low-Cost Party

Planning a party can be extremely fun. Making a guest list, coming up with a theme, and creating decorations can be an excellent, creative pursuit, especially for someone who has thrown many different parties before. However, most people find that planning a party on a budget is challenging. When you can throw caution to the wind and spend whatever you need to make your party happen, the planning process is easy. When you have limited money, you may find that you must be more creative in order to plan something fun and elegant. It does not, however, have to be impossible. We have seven tips to help you stay on budget and still throw a great bash.

1. Before anything else, decide on your budget.

Before you start spending any money on this soiree, make sure that you know how much total money you want to spend. This way you can prioritize your spending and identify the areas that will need the most money. For example, if you cannot or do not want to make food this party, you will need a large chunk of money for a caterer. On the other hand, if you love cooking, but aren’t very crafty, allocating money towards decorations, while saving on the cooking, is a way to stay under budget.

2. Go digital.

Until you’ve gone into a stationary store or tried to create and print out invitations on your own computer, you likely do not know just how expensive this one simple aspect of your party is going to be. Even just buying a bunch of cards and handwriting the invitations will put a serious dent in your budget (and your day). Instead, opt for digital invitations. Not only are they far more difficult to lose track of (for your guests), they are faster, and best of all, free.

That’s not to say that they have to be the same tacky digital invites people were sending out in 2005. You have a gauntlet of website to choose from, where you can create beautiful, fully customized invites in your browser, or download and fill out a template in Photoshop, PowerPoint, or Word.

3. Build your own playlist.

These days, a DJ is an unnecessary cost, even if your party is designed to be a dance party. Grab a couple of friends and spend some time at your computer, sifting through tracks on your favorite music store. If you use one that just requires you to pay a monthly fee for unlimited track downloads and listens, all you have to do is make a playlist.

Alternatively, if you use a service that requires you to pay money for your tracks, look through what you already own and draw from there. Here, the internet also provides plenty of great resources for generating playlists. Not only can you find premade playlists, tailored for parties, you can set up a Pandora or Spotify channel or playlist and let the music roll on its own. You’ll get a unique mix of both popular and unique music.

4. Make it an alcohol potluck.

Alcohol is, by far, one of the most expensive parts of planning a party. If your party doesn’t require alcohol—a party for kids or teenagers—you’re in luck. If you do want to have a fully outfitted bar, however, you may feel like you have to pay through the nose for that right.

However, if you can encourage your guests to bring their favorite beverage, you can cut down on the costs of outfitting your bar and ensure that every guest has something that they will want to drink. If your party is in the cocktail format, make sure that someone is bringing the non-alcoholic juices and other mix-ins you will need.

5. Think about timing.

If you throw a party at six in the evening, your guests are likely going to expect some sort of meal. On the other hand, if you push it back to eight, they are likely going to eat before they arrive at your door. This means that you can cut down on the food and keep it to snacks. An evening party with a sundae bar, for example, is a great way to still provide a treat, without planning it at a time when most people would expect a full meal. If you plan your party outside of the normal “meal” times, you can reduce your food costs, without looking like a penny-pincher.

6. Make cooking easy on yourself.

For some, cooking enough food to feed an army is a great way to de-stress and is actually an enjoyable part of the party planning process. However, for others, it is horrific. If you are part of the latter group, there are a few ways you can reduce your cooking load and free up your time for decorations.

For example, using a crock pot to slow cook a roast is an easy and hands-free way to make a meal that will feed thousands. Making pasta, mashed potatoes, and rice can bulk up a smaller amount of meat. If you really do not want to do a lot of cooking, turn your dinner party into a potluck party!

7. Raid your closets for decorations.

While you can find plenty of low-cost and elegant decorations in our party store, you can supplement them with a number of handmade decorations. Bunting, made out of fabric scraps or craft paper is very popular right now. Even a bowl of fresh fruit can add interest to a table and provide a sweet snack before or after the meal.