Friday, January 24, 2014

Holiday Block Party with Kids


With a love of putting on holiday parties, it was only right that we volunteer to host a couple of our neighborhood gatherings. Those years there were five or six other families with young kids, these days there are about two dozen kids on the street. What a party that would be!

The first year, we found a day that worked for everyone to gather and we provided beverages, a couple appetizers, and dessert while asking our neighbors to bring a dish of their choosing. We ended up with a large and delicious spread of hot and cold appetizers, salads, pastas, casseroles, and desserts.

Pinterest inspired veggie tray
More recently, I also made a similar Christmas tree out of fruit, veggies, and different cheeses which was a big hit with the kids.

I had this snowman decanter sitting in a cupboard just screaming to be filled with a batch of homemade hot chocolate! I have made a couple different recipes for a large group and this one is by far the best- large batch hot chocolate recipe. From there I added an array of toppings including marshmallows, miniature candy canes, chocolate chips, chocolate Piroulines (long chocolate creme filled cookie sticks), and whip cream. I put the snowman on a cookie sheet to catch any spills and tossed on fake snow flakes I found at Target.

Homemade hot chocolate bar
I have learned that when you are hosting young children at your house for awhile it's a good idea to plan an activity or game to keep them busy. Plus, it's just fun to spend time with your kids making something together. I immediately recalled Christmas time memories of my childhood and how much fun I had making and decorating graham cracker gingerbread houses. Since I knew there would only be six or seven kids old enough to participate in this I decided to make the houses ahead of time and let the kids do the fun part, decorating and nibbling on the decorations! I did made a couple extra houses just in case any of them broke.

Licorice, M&M's, gumdrops, marshmallows, & vanilla wafers were some of the decoration options
First to the table and ready to decorate

Let the frosting and decorating begin
"one for the house, one for me!"

My boys' finished houses, I think they ate most of the decorations!
A couple of the moms organized a gift exchange which we did next. After a little playtime and a group picture our little guests departed with warm, full tummies and hands full of toys and gingerbread houses.

All the kids
We also hosted our neighborhood the following year with a similar plan except the amount of children significantly increased, including our own second set of infant twins. It was a bit more loud and hectic! That year, I put out a variety of craft supplies for the kids to make into Christmas ornaments.

Even though we have since moved from the neighborhood, we will always have the wonderful memories of our multiple parties and good times with friends and family there. I absolutely loved decorating that house for the holidays. Below are a few pictures through the years.

Winter planters, I used both fake and live greenery

This was a live wreath, I just added the pine cones and bow
To see more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things
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