Ideas for the Party Human

Posts Tagged ‘gifts

Interrupting the Games segment to insert a baby shower which we gave for my daughter.  She’s having a boy, but this could easily be adapted for a “little princess.”

THEME:  “Someday my [little] prince will come.”  (Disney Princes)097

INVITATIONS:  We designed a sort of “royal proclamation” which we printed on parchment paper.  You can see the wording here:

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MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Envelopes and pens; plain onesies in different sizes and fabric markers;  sheets of stationery; small notebook for advice; team number centerpieces, Jeopardy-style game on bulletin board, and prizes; place to put gifts and notebook to record them.

FOOD:  We decided to try to find a food from each of the Disney movies with a prince involved.  This was a little difficult, and some are kind of a stretch, but you can see our layout here.  Some of the ones we thought of:  Pumpkin Cookies (Cinderella), Crackers (Aladdin), Nutella (Tangled), Watermelon (The Princess & the Frog), Fishy  Crackers (The Little Mermaid), Gummy Worms (Lion King), Berries (Bambi), Apple slices (Snow White) and Grapes (Hercules).  The cake and punch fit in with several of the other movies.

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The focal point is the castle cake.  Since I am not a great cake decorator, we kept it simple.  I borrowed a friend’s sheet cake pan and made a round layer cake to put on top of it.  Ice cream cones for towers, sugar cubes for crenelations, wafer cookies for windows, chocolate Neccos for siding, and Hershey bar and licorice for drawbridge and door.

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DECORATIONS:  For colors we used royal blue and red, since those are good boy colors.  We borrowed the white tablecloths, then cut plastic dollar-store tablecloths in half for the toppers.  We found these cardboard crowns at Hobby Lobby and spray-painted them and decorated them with stick-on jewels.  On the other side we wrote the team number for that table.  The wrapped boxes are just for looks.  We also put a few of the letter sheets (see Blow-by-Blow) and pens on each table as well.  102

At the front of the room, we placed a borrowed wooden cradle with a decorative pillow and crown in it.  The canopy I had from my daughter’s wedding reception.

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We also found pictures of every Disney prince online, printed them out and put them up around the room.  We created the banner on our computer and strung it together with ribbons.  As a gift, two of my younger daughters put together a “diaper cake,” which didn’t turn out quite as we hoped.103

A few costume pieces of armor or swords set around the room finished the decor.

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BLOW-BY-BLOW:  As guests arrived, we had them put their address on an envelope to help us with the thank-you’s.  Their gifts were placed in or around the cradle.  104

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Then they could decorate a onesie, write a piece of mothering advice in the little notebook, or write a letter to the little prince.  We decided to have letters for every birthday until the baby was as old as his mother is now.  So we placed sheets of stationery around the room, and each one had a different year written in the corner.  They were to write a letter to Baby Charles that he would receive on that birthday.  We also had people get food and visit while this other stuff was going on.  After people had finished these activities, we played a Jeopardy-style game with questions about the different Disney princes.  The winning team received a bag of Hershey’s Treasures to share.  We then cut the cake and served it.

After the game, Queen Sara sat up by the cradle and opened her presents.  We gave her a crown and a sash to wear.  One of her sisters recorded the givers and gifts, so she could write her thank-you’s.107

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I’m going to interrupt this thread of Anniversary Parties to insert a description of my daughter’s 14th birthday party.  She is a fan of the book and movie series “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.  After a few peeks at Pinterest, this is the party we came up with.

THEME:  The Hunger Games books/movies

INVITATIONS:  We found a printable image we liked, printed it on cardstock and cut it out in a circle, with the message inside.  We assigned each guest a different District and invited them to dress in the style of that District.

Our invitations

Our invitations

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  District badges (images from the internet printed and cut out); toy bow and arrow sets and targets (we used stacked paper cups); colored tissue paper, streamers, ribbons, bows, scissors and tape; small Post-It notes; enough chairs for each guest minus one; party favors of your choice.

FOOD:  We decided to have a Capitol Feast, and we brainstormed on what to serve.  We set the table with a lace tablecloth and nice china and labelled all the food.  Here’s what we had:  Capitol Pizza, Katniss’ Wild Strawberries, Peeta’s Breadsticks, Fishy Crackers (from District 4), sparkling cider (the Capitol’s Best Bubbly) and Nightlock (Poison Removed).  I made the cake (my daughter’s choice) and tried to duplicate the symbol on the invitations with my (very) limited skills in cake decorating.  

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We also had ice cream with the cake.

 

 

 

 

DECORATIONS:  We put up a few yellow and black balloons and streamers, but did not feel the need for more than that.  As mentioned, the feast table was set very nicely.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:  As the guests arrived, they were given a badge to wear stating their District.  While waiting for others to arrive, they practiced their archery skills.

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Then they sat down for the great Capitol Feast.

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There was, of course, a toast to the Mockingjay (in this instance, the birthday girl).

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After the Feast,  we brought out boxes of ribbons, packages of colored tissue paper, scissors and tape.  We paired up the girls, and they went to work creating  fashion costumes for the Grand Parade, something relating to their district.  They took turns being the Designer and the Tribute.039

 

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When the first batch was done, we had them model their costumes, while their Designer narrated.

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Then they switched, and the Tribute became Designer for their partner.

 

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After those costumes had been modeled, we went outside to play “How Did I Die?”  This is simply “Who Am I?” with a mode of death on the post-it note on their back, instead of a person.  We used deaths from the Hunger Games books.

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Then we played “District Switch.”  This is the same as Fruit Basket, but everyone is assigned their District number, instead of a fruit.  The chairs were placed in a circle, and the person in the middle was It.  She called out two district numbers, and those two girls had to switch seats before It could steal one.  Whoever was left out was the new It.  When It called “District Switch,” everyone had to scramble for a new seat.  The girls had a lot of fun with this one.

 

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After this, the birthday girl opened her presents–many of which were Hunger Games-related.

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Then there was cake and ice cream, and the girls went outside to play some more District Switch while they waited for their parents.  When they left, we gave them bookmarks and cookies from the “Mellark Family Bakery.”  I dressed as Effie Trinket and served and coordinated.066

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Everyone had a great time!

THEME:  It seems that someone long ago has already picked out themes for wedding anniversaries.  Here’s the list:

1 year              Paper

5 years            Wood

10 years           Tin

15 years          Crystal

20 years          China

25 years           Silver

50 years           Gold

75 years           Diamond

INVITATIONS:  Take your cue from the theme, and if you can’t make the invitations out of the medium suggested, then use pictures of crystal, china, etc.  Silver or gold paper could be used for those anniversaries, and invitations to a Diamond Wedding could be diamond-shaped.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  The point of an anniversary party is to honor the couple who have kept their marriage alive for a number of years.  The most common anniversary celebrations given are those referred to as the Golden Weddings.  Previous to the 50th anniversary, it is perfectly acceptable to give a party for the couple, but it is usually not as large an affair as the Golden Wedding.

For those smaller celebrations, it may be best to invite a small group of family members and perhaps some very close friends.  Try to choose games that might go with the theme, such as word games for Paper, a nature walk and tree identification game for Wood, a hobo party with appropriate games for Tin, fortunetelling in a crystal ball for Crystal, a Chinese party with authentic games from China for the China anniversary, and games involving silverware such as Potato Relay and Spoons for the Silver Wedding.

For the more common Golden Wedding anniversary, there are usually quite a large number of people in attendance.  For this reason, games like those suggested above are generally impractical.  The traditional anniversary celebration is something like a Mock Wedding Reception.  For this type of celebration, you don’t need very many materials for activities.  You’ll need a decorated area for the reception line, a table for gifts, chairs and tables for food and guests, and equipment needed for musical numbers and/or speeches.

FOOD:  For the smaller gatherings, try to serve some favorite food of the honored couple, especially if you are having a dinner.  Often, a specially decorated cake is served for dessert, and these can be made to fit the theme.  For paper, bake the cake in the open-book pan available at craft and cake-decorating stores; it can be the book of their life together.  For Wood, try decorating a sheet cake with a family tree.  Tin could mean small, individual cakes baked in tin cans.  For Crystal, try decorating a wedding-type cake with little crystals from chandeliers.  For China, bake a round layer cake and decorate the top to look like their first china pattern.  For Silver, decorate with silver paper leaves and the little silver balls used on wedding cakes.  For Diamond, cut cake into a diamond shape before frosting.

For the Mock Wedding Reception at a golden wedding celebration, have a large cake much like a wedding cake, accented with gold decor.  You might have a golden punch made with apple juice and ginger ale, and, instead of colored mints, you could have lemon drops in the candy dish.

DECORATIONS:  For the smaller, earlier celebrations, take your decorating cue from the theme.  For Paper, use lots of paper streamers, etc.  For Wood, gather and display as many wooden objects as possible.  Set potted trees around.  For Tin, decorate with tin cans, shorn of their labels.  For Crystal, be sure to display wedding crystal and decorate with crystal prisms.  For China, display different patterns of china–or, for a play on words, decorate in Chinese style.  For Silver, display silver items and use silver-colored decorations.  For Diamond, you can again use lots of prisms, such as those hanging from chandeliers.

For the Mock Wedding Reception, decorate in gold and white, with plenty of flowers, paper wedding bells, or whatever suits you.  Be sure to have a backdrop, such as a lattice garden archway, for the reception line.  Perhaps you could have the couple’s favorite love songs playing softly in the background during the reception line.  Set up an elegant table for refreshments and another for gifts, if gifts are expected.  Also, set the appropriate number of round tables and chairs around the room.  Centerpieces could be single white roses in bud vases tied with gold ribbons.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:       If you wish to play games at your anniversary celebration, choose any that suit you. (Later posts will detail a number of games.) However, if your party is an intimate, “family only” affair, we can suggest one activity that will assure a heartwarming, memorable time with loved ones.

We call this activity “Reverie,” for that is just the type of mood it is meant to create.  It is basically a time of sharing old memories, but if you need some help jump-starting the trip down memory lane, you can write some words or phrases of people, places, things, animals, and actions on 3″x5″ cards and have participants draw cards and think of a memory about the word(s) on their cards.   You can get these from dictionaries, other games, books or your own imaginative memories.

A Mock Wedding Reception is very much what it sounds like:  The honored couple stands (or sits) in a reception line, with children and grandchildren if possible, and welcomes the guests as they come through the line.  Gifts are piled on a gift table.  After going through the line, guests get something to eat and mingle.  Musical numbers may be presented as solos or duets.  When the reception line has ended, the honored husband and wife cut a cake, and they may open their presents as well.  Sometimes a dance is held.

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THEME:  Class on baby care for a first-time mother-to-be

INVITATIONS:  The invitation should look official, like an invitation to take a college course.  Use calligraphy or a flowing script font on your computer, and print  on a nice bond or parchment paper.  The guest-of-honor is invited to take the course, and the guests may be invited to come and participate as “associate professors of motherhood.”

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Name tags for each guest; a crossword puzzle using names of baby items and pencil for each guest; a baby doll, diaper, stopwatch, two diaper pins and a blindfold; a sheet of blank paper for each guest; prizes, if desired, such as baby items like candy pacifiers, outlet plugs, baby shampoo, etc.; an elegant diploma for passing the course.

FOOD:  Serve foods that babies like:  milk, applesauce, graham crackers, juice, animal cookies, etc.  Another idea is to make nut cups in the shape of diapers.  This is done by cutting small rectangles or triangles of baby-print fabric, folding and pinning them like diapers with tiny safety pins (leaving leg-holes too small for mints or nuts to fall through), and setting them upright as if an invisible baby was sitting in them.  Then grasp each with tweezers and dip briefly into melted wax to coat, setting them out to dry and harden.  These little “diapers” can now be filled with mints and nuts, or whatever small snacks you desire.

DECORATIONS:  Decorate in pastel colors and cut pictures from parenting magazines of mothers doing things with babies.  Make a collage or hang them around the room.  Set out familiar items like bottles, baby powder, diapers, bibs, baby blankets, pacifiers, stuffed animals, baby toys, etc.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:   As guests arrive, give them name tags reading “Prof.   (their name)  .”   Welcome the mother-to-be as a new student, and “orient” her by giving her the crossword puzzle to do.  (All other guests will do it, too, and the first one to correctly complete it may be awarded a prize.)

Next, the “instructors” will demonstrate their prowess in the Blind Diapering Contest.  Set a baby doll, cloth diaper and two diaper pins (closed) in the center of the room.  Each contestant will have a turn to be blindfolded and see how fast she can correctly diaper the baby doll.  You (the hostess) will time each one.   Last of all, the guest of honor will try it–“to see if she has learned anything”–and the contestant with the best time may receive a prize.

Now it’s time to settle down and get a little more serious.  Give everyone a blank piece of paper on which to write some word of advice for the new mother.  (It can be funny or serious, whatever they prefer.)

After the advice is in, present the “successful student” with a lovely diploma (“suitable for framing”!) and celebrate her “commencement” by commencing  to open the presents.  Do this in the usual way, recording the gifts and givers and passing the gifts around to be admired.  You might also suggest the “professors” tell the mother-to-be what each item is used for, perhaps making up silly uses–like putting the diapers on her head during the baby’s bathtime, to protect her from splashes!

To complete the evening, serve the refreshments.

Variations and Comments:  It is important to make sure that this is all done in the spirit of fun.  The mother-to-be should have such a rapport with the other guests that she would never feel she was being belittled, mocked or teased for her lack of knowledge or experience.  In fact, some of the “professors” might not be mothers yet themselves, so they really would not be able to “instruct” her.  If done in the right spirit, the atmosphere will be humorous and light-hearted, and no one will be offended.

 

THEME:  Children’s Nursery Rhymes

INVITATIONS:  An invitation for this shower could have a picture of a nursery rhyme character on the outside, and the message could be written in rhyme, adapted from a Mother Goose rhyme, such as:

“Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat with the fiddle

Is playing a lullaby;

So come to the shower for  (woman’s name) ,

Whose baby’s coming is nigh.”

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  A chair for each team; a baby doll and blanket for each team; prizes, if desired, such as candles, plastic rings or small bells.

FOOD:  Serve food from the nursery rhymes, such as tarts, plum pie, homemade bread and butter, pudding pie, curds and whey (cottage cheese), plum cake and sugar candy, etc.  Try to serve them in appropriate dishes.

DECORATIONS:  The Mother Goose Shower can work with any colors you choose, especially bright ones.  Trace pictures of nursery rhyme characters from children’s coloring books and enlarge them at your local copy center.  Then color them and use them on walls, tables, etc.  Streamers and balloons are fine, but you can also set out items that will recall familiar nursery rhymes, such as a cat and a fiddle, a dish and a spoon, a miniature lamb, a candlestick, a pumpkin shell, a pail of water, a pipe and bowl, a large shoe, a plastic spider, a clock and toy mouse, a hard-boiled egg with a face drawn on it, etc.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:  When all the guests have arrived and you have stowed their gifts, make sure everyone knows everyone else and then divide them into two teams for the first game.

To play the Diddle Diddle Dumpling Relay,  the two teams line up on one side of the room.  Opposite each team, at the other end of the room, is a chair.  On a signal, the first player on each team runs to the chair, takes off a shoe and puts it back on before running back to tag the next player.  The second player does the same, and the relay continues until every player on one team has completed the action.  That team is the winner and may be awarded a prize.

Next is the Baby Bunting Relay.  This is similar to the relay above, except the  players on each team must run to a doll and swaddle it correctly in a blanket, before tagging the next player who must then un-swaddle it, etc.  The first team done wins, and you may choose to give them a prize.

The players can relax a bit for the next game.  For the ABC-Nursery Rhyme Game, you can keep the same teams, but the players get to remain seated with their team during the game.  You might flip a coin to decide which team will go first, and then the other team sings the alphabet while the starting team quickly chooses a nursery rhyme.  At the end of the alphabet song, the starting team must sing a nursery rhyme, then they sing the alphabet while the second team decides on a nursery rhyme for their turn, and so on.  The first team to be unprepared with a nursery rhyme to sing on their turn, or to sing a rhyme already sung, loses.  You may choose to give the winning team a prize, if desired.

Now the guest of honor may open her presents.  As always, have someone record each gift and who it was from on a piece of paper for the mother-to-be.  Pass the gifts around to be admired, and then serve the refreshments.

Variations and Comments:  With a little ingenuity, you might create all kinds of games from nursery rhymes.  You could have an egg toss (to commemorate Humpty Dumpty)  or a relay going up and down a hill with a pail of water (no tumbling required).  Or, you could have  a quiet game where players have to fill in the blanks with the correct words from nursery rhymes.  The possibilities are endless!  But you might want to get a hold of a good book of nursery rhymes before you start planning.

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THEME:  Gender-related–for a baby boy already born (or if the doctor has confirmed his sex prior to birth)

INVITATIONS:  You could use blue construction paper, cut  in the shape of a diaper, to write the message on.  Decorate with rubber stamps, stickers or freehand drawings of snakes, snails and puppy dogs.  Then fold like a diaper and tape in place. 

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Several boy’s toys, such as dump trucks and wooden blocks;  small slips of paper on which you have written different  words or phrases having to do with babies–such as an item, like “diaper”, an event, like “labor”, or a phrase, like “bathing the baby”; advertisement puzzles you have made by cutting  out magazine advertisements of well-known baby products, gluing onto cardboard or stiff paper, cutting into several pieces and placing the pieces in envelopes; prizes, if desired, such as marbles, gummy snakes, stationery with puppies on it, etc.; pad of paper and pen.

FOOD:  When planning refreshments for the shower, be certain to ask the mother if there is anything she cannot eat.  Within those parameters, try to carry your theme through into your refreshments.  For instance, you could have a cake decorated with cookies, crackers or candies  in appropriate shapes, like snakes, puppies, cars, etc. Use  blue icing and serve blue mints.

DECORATIONS:  Of course, your theme will dictate the type of decorating you do.  For the Boy Shower, you can use streamers and balloons in blue, pictures and posters of little boys on the walls, and boy’s toys set out on display.  If the newborn guest of honor is present, have a central cradle, bassinet, etc. to place him in to be admired.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:  After the guests have arrived and given their gifts to you (the hostess), the games should begin.  Since the guest of honor at the shower is either well advanced in her pregnancy or still recovering from the delivery, games should generally not be too strenuous.  You can adapt these three as needed.

            Toy Relay is a game you create using whatever boy-type toys are available to you.  One example is for competing team members to roll a dump truck across the room to a pile of blocks, fill the truck with the blocks and return it to the starting point without spilling any blocks.  The next team member in line then repeats the process, in reverse order; the first team through wins and may receive a prize. 

            Next is “Baby Charades.”  Divide guests into small groups of two to four and give each group one of the slips of paper.  Assign an area where each group may plan and practice its pantomime without revealing its assignment to the others.  Allow each group three to five minutes in which to prepare its presentation.  The performers may pantomime by syllables or by acting out.  Request one of the groups to present its pantomime while the other groups try to guess the word or phrase.  Any group that guesses correctly wins the honor of presenting its pantomime.  If the groups fail to guess right, the players announce their assignment and select another group to offer its presentation.

            The final game is Advertisement Puzzles.  Each group (keep the same groups as for Baby Charades) should sit at a table or countertop, if possible, or at least have a large, firm surface on which to assemble their puzzle.  Hand out the envelopes to the groups and give the signal for them to remove the cut-up advertisements from the envelopes.  The guests work to reassemble the ads as quickly as possible, and the first group to succeed in correctly completing the puzzle wins the game and may receive a prize.

            After the games, it’s time to open the presents.  As with the bridal showers, someone should sit by the guest of honor and record the gifts (and givers) as she opens them.  After they are recorded, the gifts are passed around the room for all to admire.

            When the gifts are opened, serve the refreshments.  

                                                                             

Variations and Comments:     If the baby shower is for the couple’s first child, it might be a nice gesture to invite the new father or father-to-be as well, to allow him to feel more a part of it all.

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THEME:  Type of gifts the bride-to-be needs, such as Kitchen, Hope Chest or Trousseau

INVITATIONS:  These should be appropriate to the theme.  For instance, if it is to be a Kitchen Shower, cut the invitation into the shape of a rolling pin, apron, or other kitchen item.  Be sure the guest knows to bring a gift for the bride-to-be’s kitchen.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Materials for playing your chosen games (see below for ideas); prizes, if desired; large trash bag; seating for everyone; pad of paper and pencil.

FOOD:  For this type of shower, it would be appropriate to serve the favorite dessert and punch of the bride-to-be.

DECORATIONS:  Again, you should follow the theme for the shower in your decorating.  For the Hope Chest Shower, decorate with the bride-to-be’s favorite colors.  For a Kitchen shower, display various kitchen gadgets.  Perhaps you could decoration with fashion advertisements, magazines and posters for a Trouseau Shower. 

 BLOW-BY-BLOW:       Each bridal shower is as individual as the bride herself, so we will not describe a complete shower party in detail but rather give a few ideas for adding just that special touch.  It is important to know the bride-to-be well and try to give the kind of shower that she will appreciate and enjoy.  A good bridal shower should be more than just gift-opening and refreshments; enough activities should be planned to evoke that girlish camaraderie that makes these occasions so fun and full of life.  So, we hope that you may be able to choose from these ideas to create the personalized bridal shower that will be a glowing success.

            Greet the guests as they arrive and take their gifts to keep on a gift table until time to open them.  Make sure to introduce everyone, so no one will feel like a stranger.  Of course, the main activity will be opening the gifts, but you should have a few warm-up activities to lead into that.              Your activities should follow your theme.  For instance, for a Hope Chest Shower, you might play games to test how well you know the bride-to-be and/or her fiance.  One idea is to cut out pictures from magazines of things like houses, fashions, foods and babies.  Make sure you cut out at least three of each type of item, and they must be obviously different from each other.  Number each picture and pass them around, asking the guests to write down the number from each set that they think the bride-to-be would prefer.  Then have the bride-to-be make her choices and give a prize to the guest who got the most correct.  Another old favorite is to have each guest write some marriage advice on a piece of paper without signing her name.  The bride-to-be must read the advice aloud and try to guess who gave it.

            For a Kitchen Shower, you might have a relay race using various kitchen tools or a word game using the names of kitchen appliances.

            A Trousseau Shower might include the old favorite,  the Wedding Gown Contest.  Divide the guests into two or three teams and give each team a box of supplies such as an old white sheet, construction paper, newspaper, crepe or tissue paper, tape, marking pens, etc.  Each team chooses one member to be the model and then creates a fanciful gown on that girl with the supplies given.  Prizes can be given for Most Creative, Prettiest, Silliest, etc.

            It is quite common and therefore appropriate to give prizes to the winners of the games; however, that is entirely up to you.  If you choose to award prizes, try to keep them in line with your theme–such as a scarf or hair trinket for a Hope Chest or Trousseau Shower, a small kitchen gadget for a Kitchen Shower, etc.

            When the games have brought the right feeling to the party, it is time for the bride-to-be to open her gifts.  (This part will be pretty much the same for all the showers we describe.)  Have the guests sit in a circle and pass each gift along to be admired after it has been opened.  If you are busy getting the refreshments ready, ask another guest to record the names of the gifts and the givers to aid the bride-to-be in writing her thank-you notes.  Quickly dispose of wrapping paper as she goes along, so as to prevent a major mess when she is done; another idea is to create a hat from a paper plate and the ribbons and bows that the bride-to-be must wear.

            After the gifts are all open, begin serving the refreshments, serving the guest of honor first, of course. 

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