Ideas for the Party Human

St. Valentine’s Family Party

Posted on: February 2, 2010

Let’s start off A YEAR OF CREATIVE PARTYING with something just in time for Valentine’s Day.

THEME:  Valentine’s Day, homemade valentines

INVITATIONS:  Get together all kinds of craft supplies–colored paper, doilies, old cards and magazines, glue, scissors, glitter, fancy trims, lace, fabric, crayons, markers, paint, silk flowers, stickers, etc.–and create your own line of valentine cards.  Inside, put a rhyming message, something like:

“Roses are red; rain clouds are gray;

Come join the family for Valentine’s Day.”

            Give the time and place, and ask each family unit to bring their favorite Valentine’s Day dessert.  You might also ask them to dress in red, white or pink.  If this event is part of a family reunion, you may also wish to include other information.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  A slip of paper with each person’s name on it; hat or box to draw names from; materials to make valentines–colored construction paper, paper doilies, glue or paste, scissors, tape, valentine stickers, crayons or colored markers, pens or pencils, glitter, trims, old cards and magazines, etc.; a decorated valentine box; prizes, if desired–such as a small box of chocolates or small stuffed animal; materials for other game(s) desired; piano, keyboard or guitar and music to well-known love songs; riddle placecards, if desired.

FOOD:  Each family unit will bring a dessert, so there should be plenty of food.  You should provide a red or pink punch (how about “Raspberry Lemonade” or some other Party Punch), and maybe some strawberry cheesecake ice cream, if desired.  You could also have candy dishes of nuts and candy hearts set around the house.

DECORATIONS:  You can do as much as you want with the traditional valentine colors of red, white and pink.  There are the usual streamers and balloons, as well as purchased decorations.  A nice touch would be some floral arrangements, whether fresh or silk, set atop doilies.  You could craft a heart-shaped wreath for the door with a shaped coat-hanger, covered with fabric and lace.  Or buy a heart-shaped grapevine wreath and decorate with lace, ribbon, silk or dried flowers, white baby’s breath or statice, and perhaps a little Cupid.  Cover long tables with a lace cloth over a plain red one.  Cover round tables with a tablecloth in red, pink or white, topped with a small square of contrasting fabric or lace.  Set out pleasant potpourri in baskets or bowls of an appropriate color. 

            Dian Thomas, in her book Today’s Tips for Easy Living (Holladay, UT:  The Dian Thomas Company, p. 79), gives a fun idea for a centerpiece which could also be used as a prize for the best valentine, if you wish to award prizes.  To make a “Sweet Valentine Bouquet,” you will need:  a clean flowerpot or empty can, red paint or valentine wrapping paper, glue, eyelet lace to go around top and bottom of can, 2 dozen flower-shaped cookies with holes in the center, 1 to 2 dozen large heart-shaped red gumdrops, 1 to 2 dozen bamboo skewers, red ribbon, green asparagus fern (available at florist’s shop), and 2 3″-thick pieces of styrofoam to fit in the can. 

            Paint the can or flowerpot red or cover with the wrapping paper.  Glue eyelet trim around top and bottom of can.  Glue the styrofoam to inside bottom of can.  (It also works to fill the can half full of marbles or jelly beans.)  To make flowers, push a skewer through the center of one of the gumdrops, through the center of a cookie and then another gumdrop.  Push cookie and gumdrops together on end of skewer.  Insert other end of skewer into styrofoam inside pot or can.  Tie a red bow under the cookie “flower.”  Repeat to make as many edible “flowers” as desired.  Cut the skewers so flowers will be different heights.  Add the fern to contrast with your bouquet.  (This idea can be used for other occasions by changing color of can, gumdrops and ribbon.)

 BLOW-BY-BLOW:         As the relatives arrive, greet them warmly, and set their desserts  on a buffet.  They visit until all are present.  At this point, everyone draws a name from a hat or box.  (If a person draws his own name, he must draw again.)  The name drawn is the one for whom the person will make a special valentine.  This name should be kept secret until the valentines are handed out.

            Now, everyone sits down at a table or tables covered with supplies for crafting their valentines.  The only rule is that the valentine have the person’s name on it and some short message.  The message may be funny or serious, poetic or prosaic.  All that counts is creativity and uniqueness.  When the valentines are finished, they are placed in the special Valentine Box.

            At this point, another game is played.  (Depending on your group, you may wish to separate adults and children for two different activities suited to their ages, or you may have everyone join in an active game.)  You can modify just about any favorite game to fit the valentine theme.  For instance, Quick-Draw Relay can use words like “lovebirds,” “rose” and “kisses” for the artists to convey.  (One activity that teens and adults might enjoy is to have everyone sit in a circle.  Each person is given a paper and pencil and asked to write his name at the top of the paper.  Then, on a signal, everyone passes his paper to the right.  They are then given one to two minutes to write what they like most about the person whose name is on the paper, before they must pass it on again, folded down to cover what they wrote.  This is continued until the papers have completed the circle.  Then each person may unfold and read what everyone likes about him or her.)

            After the second activity, everyone gathers together and you (the hostess) hand out the valentines  ceremoniously from the decorated box.  The recipients may try to guess whom their valentines are from.  You may award prizes for prettiest, most creative, funniest, etc., if desired. 

            When everyone has read his valentine, it’s time for the dessert.  To find their places at the table(s), the guests must solve riddles written on the placecards.  (If you are having a more casual dessert and not sitting down at tables, just skip this activity.)  A sample riddle might read something like this:

“Roses are red; my hair is, too.

Dad’s on my left; to my right is Aunt Sue.”

            After delicious dessert and delightful conversation, the musician in the family sits down at the piano or with the guitar and accompanies a sing-along of well-known love songs, old and new, to top off the evening.

Variations and Comments:  Of course, this party can be adapted for teens, singles, or couples by adding some more games and maybe some dancing.

            One activity the children might enjoy while the adults are doing something else is to work together making a “candygram” for the oldest relative.  Give them a piece of posterboard, a marker, some tape and a number of different candy bars.  They collaborate and write a message including the names of the candy bars, taping the candy to the poster at the appropriate places.  Then they make their presentation.

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5 Responses to "St. Valentine’s Family Party"

Hello there, Happy Valentines Day!

It would also be fun to have a sugar cookie decorating party, too. We love to do this with the kids in our neighborhood! I make dozens of heart-shaped cookies, then put out all sorts of decorating items (you could assign each family to bring one). The kids go at it for a couple of hours, laughing and eating! Clean-up is easy if you use a disposable table cloth and popsicle sticks in place of knives. Throw it all away, sweep the floor, and send everyone home! 🙂

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