Holiday Party Ideas That Help Parents

The holidays can be stressful for both children and parents. Routines have changed, the weekend schedules are crowded and everyone is just a little bit more tired than usual. Adding the annual December party to the mix doesn't have to heap on more stress. Here's some holiday party ideas that are fun for the kids and helpful to their parents.

Cookie Decorating Parties There are several advantages to these kinds of parties. First of all, parents and children can work together, or alone, and express their creativity. Additionally, if each family is encouraged to bring a dozen cookies that are already made, everyone who wishes to can do a cookie exchange. Parents appreciate the time-savings of having a nice variety of cookies for their own holiday events.

Note: It's a good idea to find out about any food allergies before the party so it can be taken into account. Also, recommend the cookies be made and cooled in advance - to save on mess, and keep tempers from fraying when there's a wait for the oven. Real Simple offers these tips to be sure you have enough supplies:

  • Plan to have 3-6 cookies for each child to decorate.
  • Make at least two different kinds of cookies ahead of time.
  • Set up a few tables, covered in butcher paper with duplicate supplies on each table.
  • Be sure to have containers or special plates on hand for cookie transport after the party.

Here are 24 Pinterest pins on Kids Cookie Decorating Parties.

Holiday Ornament-Making Parties For those parents who just "don't do cookies," another creative party activity for kids and parents is a craft table for making ornaments. The advantage of ornaments is the supplies are inexpensive and they make wonderful homemade gifts. HGTV recommends several ideas for this kind of party:

  • Creating a jazzy color scheme or theme with decorating tables and supplies separate from the food area.
  • Re-use older ornaments or Styrofoam balls, piling them into clear bowls at decorating stations.
  • Plan to buy basic items like pens, glue sticks and scissors so you have one per guest.
  • Create a make-your-own ornament kit for each guest, or family, with name tags.

Here are 100+ Pinterest pins for ornament-making ideas. Finally, every party is successful when the needs of all the guests are planned for. Entertainment expert, Heather Christo, recommends the following:

1. Interesting drinks for every age group. For example, if there is a Cosmo-bar for the adults, perhaps a hot chocolate bar or an array of sparkling juices should be on hand for the kids.

2. Keeping sweets out of reach. If there is a bowl of candy or a plate of cookies available, the kids will eat more sugar than their parents are aware of, with often-disastrous results.

Parties like the ones above, which result in take-home presents for friends and relatives, are a win-win for parents. Kids stay creative and busy, while parents are free to help, mingle and bring home a tangible memory of the event.

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