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Teaching Children About Holidays and Celebrations

celebrations and holidays


With fall in full swing, there is an endless parade of holidays that need to be considered, prepared for, and participated in.  Through all these engagements, parties, soirees, and events, children tend to get lost in the shuffle. They’re often relegated to the recipients of presents or the ones to find a babysitter for as parents socialize for business or with friends.  However, children want to engage and learn about the world around them. That includes finding out about holidays, why we celebrate them, and how they can actively participate instead of passively receiving limited information. Use the opportunity this time of year provides to teach children about celebrations, and help them create a few traditions of their own.

Why do we celebrate?

It doesn’t have to be any one specific holiday; any of the numerous celebrations falling at the end of the year have us excited and exasperated.  We gather together as humans because we have a need to communally enjoy each other’s company.  We need to believe we are inherently good to each other and for each other.  Holidays such as the upcoming Thanksgiving, remind us to be thankful for one another. It’s important to point out that these are lessons that children need to be taught as well, not just adults.  By promoting human interaction, children learn tolerance and care for fellow human beings. Bringing them to parties or throwing events where they will interact with children and adults alike will create a sense of responsibility for fellow humans. That lesson is important in creating empathy for the lives of others and their highs and lows, seeing them at all stages of their lives.  For better or for worse, holidays bring out the best and worst in humanity, and having a child observe the variations is important so that they can determine for themselves what the best course of action in a given situation should be.

How do we engage our children?

There are numerous ways that children can be brought into the idea of celebrations as a communal function to learn about human interaction.  Cookie baking, pie making, having a craft day where children get to make decorations for the house or the table, these things allow children to grasp at least a part of what the holiday is about.  They also get to participate and see everyone who attends, both children and adults, experience the result of something they worked on, whether it’s a sugar cookie or a construction paper cutout of a turkey done by tracing their fingers.  Whatever they do, large or small, make sure that it is given proper recognition. Everyone should know that your child assisted in the celebration, and they can be a part of the party that’s occurring.

  • Give them something of consequence that has a tangible result. There should be a visible representation of the work they did that can be pointed to and have credit received for.
  • Make this the beginning of a tradition, which will give the child the idea that this is more than just simply a one-time filler activity.
  • Use whatever you decide to do as a teaching moment, explaining the significance and/or the history behind what you’re doing.

Make it a group activity

Holidays themselves are a time for large groups to assemble.  This should be no less the case for children. Take the idea of an activity, craft, or cooking moment and expand it into a party so that they can have their peers experience and learn from the activity as well. Throwing a party that involves a common theme is one of the quickest ways to bring a sense of understanding to kids as to what a holiday or celebration is all about.

Creating a party, even a small one, and letting your child assist in planning will help them to become further immersed in understanding the idea of a celebration.  They can help create the guest list, which will show them how to include people, even if they’re not “best friends,” or someone they know very well, so that everyone can feel welcome.  Have your child write out the invitations, seal them, and mail them. Doing so will instill a sense of pride, because they invited their guests, rather than a parent inviting on their behalf. Finally, have them follow through, calling people who don’t RSVP, getting them to keep count of the number of people coming, and have them help you plan accordingly.

If there’s a cookie party, for instance, get them to make sure there are enough cookie cutters for everyone, enough paper plates put out, enough decorating materials so that everyone can share.  Get them to work alongside you, setting up and cleaning up before and after the party.  Again, it gives a sense of responsibility, and shows them that parties involve work. There’s also the reward of watching guests have a good time and an experience that they won’t forget.  In the end, have him or her write a thank you note to each guest, showing them how much it meant to your child to have each one there.

At National Party Stationery, we have an extensive line of themed invitations and thank yous that your child can help choose from when deciding what kind of party they’re looking to have during the holidays.  View our products today and have a wonderful time showing your child the ins and outs of hosting a party during the holidays, and why it’s so important to we humans as social creatures.


A Brief and Spooktacular History of Halloween

Children's Halloween

Halloween is most definitely around the corner. There’s a chill in the air.  The leaves have begun their descent to prepare the trees for the long winter ahead.  Nights are growing longer, and sunshine is a precious commodity. Throughout the country, lights are being strung in bright orange and deep purple. Front yards are becoming the homes for tombstones, ghosts, and zombies.  Children are clamoring for the latest costume so that they can go trick or treating from house to house, gathering candy and the inevitable stomach ache that’s to follow.  But…why?  Where did these traditions come from? Why do we dress up as ghosts and goblins on October 31st? And why do we do it year after year, gathering together to ward off the darkness with glowing jack o’ lanterns and magnificent bonfires?

Where Did Halloween Come From?

There are several theories as to where Halloween got its start.  Most commonly held is the belief that the pagan celebration of Samhain was the precursor to our modern celebration.  The ancient Gaelic cultures believed that the point halfway between the fall equinox and the winter solstice was one of the times when the world of the supernatural merged with the real world, and various rituals were practiced to appease the spirits, ensuring that livestock would live through the winter and the larders would be full until spring. It guaranteed survival for a people who relied on nature for their day to day existence. Our modern interpretations, from costumes to jack-o’-lanterns have their roots in this festival.  Dressing in animal skins was a way to both honor and defend oneself from the spirit world, wearing a disguise to avoid being taken away from the human world.  Bonfires drove away the darkness and brought communities together, where they would entreat the sun to come back as soon as possible and shorten the dark half of the year.

Our ghost stories stem from this ancient period, too, as cultures throughout the world believed that the dead would walk on the darkest nights of the year. While it was believed that ancestors who walked among the living could be disruptive, there was an idea of welcoming the dead back into the world, and place settings would be put out for them, offerings of their favorite meals and treats to honor their presence.  Fires again would guide the deceased loved ones to their ancestral homes, warming the hearth and anticipating their return.  As society moved to one that divided life and death into two very distinct states of being, the idea of honoring the dead often moved to fearing their return, believing that they were reminders of mortality and harbingers of doom.  Tales developed to warn people away from engaging with the spirit world, which became both cautionary and entertaining.  Instead of the dead gathering in homes, the living would sit around the fire in an attempt to scare one another with tales of ghosts and spirits who caused mayhem and destruction.

Halloween In America

But how did the modern Halloween in America come about?  Tracing its origins to the 1840’s emigration of millions of Irish to America, the ideas and rituals that we now associate with our modern Halloween started taking root in American soil.  The ancient celebration of Samhain had by this point been transformed to All Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween for short, when the souls of the dead were remembered throughout the month of November in various Christian denominations, but the traditions that relate back to pagan times persisted, and likewise evolved.  Bonfires became jack-o’-lanterns, and disguises to ward off spirits became costumes to thrill and scare, or pretend and playact, casting off the traditional roles for an evening and becoming something other: a queen, a faerie, a ghost, an angel, or a devil.  The holiday itself provided protection from ridicule and retribution for the choice of outfit and interpretation, and does to this day.

History, Children, and the Joy of Learning

So why all of this history? What difference does it make when it comes to children and their Halloween costumes and parties and desire for candy?

  • Halloween fosters creative expression, a chance for people to be their favorite hero or villain for one night, to pretend and play dress up.
  • Dressing as something frightening, allows children to address and overcome their fears, to learn to not be scared of things that go bump in the night.
  • It lets children to mimic their heroes and use their imaginations to enter a world of make believe that is shared with other kids and adults alike.
  • Creativity and imagination are rewarded! From candy and sweets from trick or treating, to costume contests and parties where children can show others what they’ve done to stand out from the crowd.

It’s important to remember that for children Halloween is about more than the candy, even though on the surface that may seem to be the only goal.  Taking a few minutes to learn where Halloween came from, its rituals and traditions that persist to this day, can help to foster a love of learning, a tie to history that will continue to drive a thirst for knowledge.  Anything can be a teaching moment, and linking that with an enjoyable activity or day like Halloween can show how interesting where we came from and who we are can be.

National Party Stationery can help you with these teaching moments with invitations for various holiday parties, including Halloween, to bring children together to celebrate life’s events.  Come visit our wide variety of invitations, thank yous, and stationery, and have your child embrace their imagination and creativity with their friends throughout the year!




A Piece of Cake For Your Custom Party



Custom cakes can be a fun addition to any party, but there are a few things you should be aware of before approaching your local cake baker.

How much will it cost me?

Be prepared to spend. Custom cakes require a lot of time and skill, and you will have to pay for it. As bakers say, cheap cake isn’t good, and good cake isn’t cheap. Don’t use grocery store prices as a comparison! Grocery stores use flash frozen cake and frosting, whereas custom cakes are made fresh specifically for your order.

If you don’t have the money to afford your dream cake, ask what other options are available. Frequently, you’ll be able to find a variation that is within your budget.

Researching Cake Bakers

Always ask for credentials from a baker. All bakers should be working out of a registered kitchen, and should have the paperwork to back it up. These kitchens meet basic sanitation standards and are inspected by the local health agencies. If you have any concerns, feel free to ask to see the kitchen. If they refuse, don’t be afraid to walk out the door!

When browsing a baker’s Facebook page or website, be sure to ask which cakes were actually made by them. Many of us like to share and admire each other’s work, so some of what you might see not actually be that baker’s work! Be wary of any baker who will not show pictures of their past work.

Start your research early so that you can order early. It cannot be emphasized enough that ordering early will ensure that you get the cake that you want. Bakers make even simple cakes over a period of days because it takes time to allow cakes to settle properly and frostings to set. Generally, it’s better to order two weeks in advance at the very least. This will give your baker time to plan out the cake’s construction, prepare the frostings, and do the more intricate work involved in creating a gorgeous cake. A rushed baker will not create the best cake possible!

Don’t hesitate to ask for a taste test. You want to make sure you actually like the taste! Be sure to specify which flavors you’d like to try when you make the appointment, and specify how many people will be at the taste test.. Bakers want to make sure that you are getting fresh samples, and will need time to get everything prepared.

Tips for Meeting with Your Baker

  • If you have specific dietary or aesthetic requirements, be sure and specify them as soon as possible. This will help your baker create an accurate quote for you, and will cause much less aggravation in the long run!


  • It is very important that you be flexible in your concept. Bakers have experience in what is and is not possible in a cake, and are most familiar with their own abilities in terms of execution. Be willing to work with them and ask for their advice. Many times, their creativity will exceed the original concept!


  • Make sure you know which venue you will be using for your party before inquiring about a custom cake. Some venues requires that you use an affiliated baker, while others have specific requirements about who they allow to bring food to their location. Your baker will also need to know the venue and its layout so that they can design a cake that will showcase appropriately in its designated display area.


While custom cakes may not be for every party, National Party Stationery helps to complete your custom theme.  Our expansive number of invitations and thank yous in multiple themes will fit with the cake you choose to make your party one that will always be remembered. We fit your budget and your needs and look forward to being the icing on your custom cake.


The Working Person’s Guide to Party Planning

Party planning can be a pain. Whether it’s a birthday party, a retirement party, a baby shower, or anything else you can dream up, there are a lot of moving parts that go into making that kind of get-together a smash hit. For those of us with busy lives, it can be difficult to figure out how to ensure things are as great as they can be without sacrificing a lot of time and energy we don’t have.

Planning for parties doesn’t have to be a hassle. With the right tools, a few tips, and a handful of tricks, anyone can plan a killer bash and still be home in time for dinner.

Let’s start with what may seem like the most obvious tool to use: lists. They can be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on how you use them. Some people are naturally more organized than others. For those kinds of people, a simple to-do list will keep them on track and remind them of what needs to get done when. And then there are some of us who do better with multiple lists. That setup can get overwhelming surprisingly quickly!

To combat the stress, try dividing things up by categories. “Things that need to be acquired for the party,” or “Things that need to be cleaned.” Breaking it up into stages and then making a schedule of when these things are going to get done can make things less stressful. It involves more steps, but they’re simpler. Smaller chunks that can be done quickly means less time taken out of a day and less to worry about when you’re working on other things.

Still not entirely sure where to start with your lists? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. The internet is a goldmine for useful (and good looking!) list templates and printables. Take a look at these planner guides for more adult parties. For kids’ parties and more general occasions, try one of these free printables. They’ll help you get started and some will even give you a timeline as to when things need to get done.

If you still find yourself with too much to do and not enough hours in the day to do it, it may be time to implement Plan H: Enlist Help.

No man is an island, and odds are you’re surrounded by people who would be willing to help if they were asked.

Family, friends, and co-workers are all people you can look to for a helping hand. Ask your sister to pick up the cake for Dad’s party. Maybe your spouse can take care of the kids for a night while you go out shopping. Tina over in Accounting may be able to handle decorations for Jim’s retirement party if you ask her.

Other people are an invaluable and often overlooked resource. Telling them you need a hand and asking if they’d be willing to help you (or the person that you’re throwing the party for) is an easy way to get some things off your plate. Remember–your initiative will almost always be rewarded. And the worst they can do is say no.

The most important thing you can do to make party planning easy is to be flexible.

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Maybe your entertainment falls through. Or Tina in Accounting gets the flu and suddenly you have no decorator for the office party. Life has a tendency to happen just when we don’t want it to. And when that happens, frustration is the usual reaction. Who wouldn’t be a little upset when all that planning gets thrown right out the second story window?

Frustration is normal. Take a moment to feel it, then remind yourself that you are flexible. You can work around whatever roadblock is in the way of your perfect party, and you can make new plans. Or maybe come up with a backup plan when you first start things, just in case. “Expect the unexpected,” is a bit of an oxymoron but reminding yourself of it can come in handy. You’ll end up with a better party, and a happier you, if you can roll with the punches.

When all’s said and done–when the cake has been eaten, the attendees have gone home, and everyone falls into their post-party food comas–you can relax and bask in the wonderful feeling of a job well done. At least until it’s time for the thank you notes to go out. But don’t worry! We’ve got you covered on that front too.


Planning a Memorable At-Home Birthday Party

The traditional at-home birthday party has a lot of advantages. But when kids are young (not to mention indecisive as only kids can be) the planning of the party falls to the parents. That can be a big task, especially when you’re trying to make sure your child has a special and memorable day! With the advent of Pinterest and other such sites, there’s so many DIY birthday party ideas that it can be a little overwhelming. Don’t worry! We’re here to help.

Here are some places to begin with your planning and brainstorming:

One of the easiest places to start would be a themed party. If your child is at that stage where they’re completely obsessed with dinosaurs, one of the coolest (and easiest!) things you can do for them is make everything at their birthday dinosaur-themed. Cards and invitations can start things off, with fun paper plates, gift baggies, and maybe even a decorated cake tying everything together.

Themed parties can be a lot of fun both for the parents and the kids. The sky is the limit when it comes to them as well. If you can think up a theme, there are ways to make sure it’s everywhere on your child’s birthday.

There is, however, one downside to these sorts of parties. With certain themes, party activities can sometimes be hard to think up. Having a firetruck on the banner, a firetruck on the cake, and firefighter helmets for party hats is great! But games that relate to that are few and far between. A party without a theme is also going to need some activities to make the day really fun. Planning them is just as important as making sure there’s a cake and that everyone has RSVP’d.

Don’t stress about it, though! If you’re pressed for ideas, try putting a new spin on some old games. There’s no need to go trawling through the internet to find all new ones you’ll have to teach a group of kids when a tweak is all you need to make something fresh. For example:

  • Turn a game like Pin the Tail on the Donkey into a team sport, or even a bracketed competition with a small prize for the winner.
  • Make a three-legged race a little more challenging by adding an obstacle course into the equation.
  • Musical chairs can combine with a dance-off to make all kinds of interesting fun. Be sure to have a camera on hand for this one!

The change in the typical games will make sure kids and parents alike will leave the party with special memories, and may even give them a new favorite thing to do when they get together at homes or on the playground.

What if my kid isn’t the running around activities sort?

That’s a-okay. Some kids like the quiet more, and will enjoy something a little less rambunctious. If your child leans to the artistic side of things, an arts and crafts project may be just the thing they need for their birthday party. It will give kids something tangible to take home with them and make the party truly memorable.

Here are a few quick ideas that your kids can have a lot of fun with:

  • For younger children, stickers, crayons, party hats, and construction paper are all you really need to set up for a fun create-your-own-favor station.
  • Older kids may have more fun customizing t-shirts with puffy paint.
  • If your child is alright with forgoing a classic cake, decorating cupcakes to eat and cookies to take home could be a winning activity for kids of almost any age.

The mess that can sometimes come with arts and crafts may not be everyone’s style, but it’s something worth thinking about. But if it’s not something you or your home is prepared to handle, there are lots of other things you can do to make your child’s day special. You could turn their party into their own personal Oscars or red carpet night with all the guests playing dress-up and watching your child’s favorite movie after dinner. You can even make some fun popcorn boxes with the kids’ names on them to personalize the snacks for the night.

There are lots of things you can do to make your kid’s special day just that. But perhaps the most important thing you can do is listen to them.

Kids may be known for outrageous, impossible ideas, and changing their minds at the drop of a hat, but they’re also incredibly vocal about what they like and don’t like. Listen when they talk about what they did at school, what they’ve been watching on TV, or the games they’ve been playing with their friends. Certain things will come up more often than others. Trends will start to emerge. Odds are, the more you listen, the more ideas you’ll get for how you can really make your child’s face light up when they’re at their birthday party.


Birthday Parties Make a Difference

Birthday parties are an important rite of passage

Children’s birthday parties are important rites of passage, but they need not be elaborate affairs to be memorable events.

Birthdays, especially for children, are more than simply the acknowledgement of another year having passed since birth.  When kids are developing their sense of identity and understanding their place in the world, the acknowledgement of a birthday helps them to actually understand that they are growing older, increasing their status in society by another year.  In their early developmental period, the birthday party actually means in their mind that they are growing older, and without a party, they cannot increase their age.

As kids grow and mature, these parties may have a different significance, but they are no less beneficial to the social development of children as they learn how to interact with others their own age. Parties need not be elaborate to be meaningful, and there is an increasing trend towards simpler celebrations at home with themed activities rather than elaborate destination events that can easily expand a budget beyond established limits.  Whether or not a party is being hosted at home, the use of themes helps to establish a cohesive idea that can unify the various aspects of a child’s birthday and make it an event that will remain in their memory for years to come.

Birthday Parties Are Rites of Passage

While it’s easy to assume that a young child has a minimal understanding of a birthday party, numerous psychological studies have shown that a child’s understanding of their age is, in their developing years, tied intrinsically to having a birthday party.  Children don’t necessarily understand how aging works on a biological level, so they relate the actual event to how they become older.  The type of event held is far less important than the party itself, so potential expense or size has far less significance.

Additionally, as children get older, the distinction between aging and the party itself becomes separated, but there are still important aspects of parties that help a child grow socially.  Birthday parties are a wonderful opportunity for children to establish and maintain friendships with peers by interacting with them in a non-school setting.  Even as an attendee instead of the guest of honor, a child gets the chance to practice good manners and proper etiquette-both with people their own age and adults-with the use of “please,” “thank you,” and following instructions for various types of participation throughout the day.  The child having the party has the opportunity to learn graciousness when having others come to celebrate his or her important day, and when receiving presents can take the opportunity to thank their friends both in person and with a thank you card after the party to show their appreciation for the thoughtfulness of others.

Why A Home Party Is a Good Choice

An increasing trend is to have more intimate parties at home, moving away from parties at locations such as amusement parks and swimming pools.  With this type of party choice, a theme is a creative and fun way to make the event unique and special without the need for a destination to define its personality.

Some of the benefits of hosting a party in your home are:

  • The ability to control the menu within parameters parents are comfortable (a major reason for the new tendency to host parties at home) with an easier ability to apply any necessary dietary restrictions
  • A location that doesn’t have limitations on what type of decorations can be used or what hours the party can be held
  • Control over the budget and greater flexibility with which areas money can be most effectively spent.

Themes Help Make A Party

Lastly, a theme establishes cohesion when creating an event, which can help to keep a party within budget and while maintaining a memorable time.  A single idea can help determine the type of food served, the decorations used, even what activities can be created to keep children entertained throughout the day.  By determining these factors ahead of time, costs can be kept within reasonable parameters and a single idea can help expand the creative possibilities of the party.  And, most importantly, a themed party provides the opportunity for young ones to participate and plan with you, making the party a memory they won’t forget!

National Party Stationery allows you to begin creating the perfect party theme with our expansive array of invitations that can be customized to suit your planning needs.  Our prices will allow you to easily stay within your chosen budget and will add that personalized touch to make a special day that much more memorable for your child.

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