November 30, 2009

STRESS-FREE HOLIDAY PARTY MAKEOVER (or: The Party With a Purpose)


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We try our best not to overindulge our children, yet despite our best intentions they still have toys coming out their ears! Come Christmas and birthdays it seems like our tiny house is going to burst with all the plastic pieces, excessive packaging, and generously gifted glut!

So, this past September when my daughter turned 8, we came up with a new concept ~ The Party With a Purpose. First, we chose a cause near and dear to HER heart: Animals. We arranged with our local humane society (SPCA) to have a party on their premises. Guests were asked to bring a gift of blankets, towels, toys or treats for the animals, instead of a gift for my daughter. The generosity was overwhelming. The SPCA gave a wonderful presentation and slide-show and then took everyone on a tour of their facilities. After we had a brownie sundae bar (served in doggy dishes of course) on a sunny deck outside the education center, overlooking the barn where two baby goats had been born earlier in the week. It didn't seem to bother my daughter one iota that the mountain of presents weren't for her. She beamed with pride and pure joy when Dawn, our SPCA guide thanked her for hosting a "Party With a Purpose" at the SPCA.


When Jodie Kocur of "CARDS FOR KIDS" contacted me to let me know that they were doing a card drive for the holidays, it made me think immediately of what a wonderful opportunity this presented for a "Party With a Purpose". If you're not familiar with CARDS FOR KIDS, it's an open group, organized by Jodie, an assistant professor of psychology at Cal Lutheran University, that collects cards and treats for distribution to children in shelters and hospitals at holiday time. My children and their friends had a great time making cards for the CARDS FOR KIDS drive before Halloween (read more about it HERE).

Have you been mulling over the idea of hosting a holiday party or open house? Not much time? Not a lot of money? Want to do something different? Unique?

How about a
CARD MAKING OPEN HOUSE?

Step 1: Set a date
Step 2: Call, email, or evite some friends to stop by your house and make a card or two to donate to "CARDS FOR KIDS". Invite a friend or two or the whole crew!
Step 3: Set a simple table with cardstock, blank cards, stickers, scrapbook paper, glitter, glue sticks, doo-dads, etc. Get creative! For some great ideas on creative cards you can make with things from around your house visit HERE!
Step 4: Have a pot of warm cider (recipe HERE) and a plate of cookies available throughout the day.
Step 5: Mail cards, before 12/14 to:

Jodie Kocur, Assistant Professor


Psychology Department\


California Lutheran University


60 W Olsen Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

15 comments:

  1. What a great idea. I like to involve my kids in giving back rather then receiving. My 12 year old collects items for our local food bank instead of birthday gifts since he was 5. He also holds an annual skating party (with my help) before Christmas and collects toys and food for less fortunate kids. My 7 year old is starting to get involved with his brother which makes me so happy.

    What a great idea with the SPCA as well. Something new we can add. My boys love animals and every animal we ever had was from SPCA.

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  2. So sorry Joe missed that party...although I am SURE we would have ended up with a new pet (I am not ready for another one!).

    The Cub Scout shave been enjoying making cards and Jo especially...so we will be making cards for sure! Hmm...mayeb tomorrow.

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  3. I'm hosting a valentine card party for the homeschool crowd in February. The cards will be going to the local hospital (mine!) and to a couple of local nursing homes.

    I'm glad you posted this. It is so important to teach our children to go outside of themselves and that they can make the world just a little bit better because they truly can make a difference.

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  4. That is one of the sweetest, neatest things I have ever heard of a child doing! You and your family are beautiful!!
    Stopping by from SITS!

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  5. I love the birthday party idea! We have too much stuff around here, too.

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  6. What a great idea! That seems to be a great way to encourage empathy and a generous spirit! How many people came to your party?

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  7. Lots of good idea in the blogsphere for making Christmas about giving to others this year. Here is another great idea! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Hello fellow SITSta! I need your help!

    Could you vote for me in Iron Cupcake?

    (I am campaigning for votes….because I put a lot of time and detail into my cupcake)

    I am currently behind The Baker’s Remix……boo..L

    If there is anything I can do for you in the future don’t hesitate to ask! (When I say this I am completely serious!)

    Here is the link: http://mamanandgourmand.blogspot.com/2009/11/please-vote-for-me-iron-cupcake.html

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  9. Wow. You rock as a mom, and just as a human:)

    That is such a great attitude your teaching your daughter with parties with a purpose! I adore it!! I am your newest follower. And fan.

    Many thanks for visiting me on my SITS day!

    ~Shannon
    http://www.milkandcuddles.com/

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  10. Oh how heartwarming! Your daughter is truly lucky to have a mother like yourself to help instill in her these great values. "Parties with a Purpose" are a great idea. My husband and I have just moved (scratch that: are STILL moving) so it will be a while before we accumulate new friends near us but I would love to throw one of these parties.

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  11. Wow, I was impressed with the birthday party, but even more so with the cards. I think we will be doing that this year, even if it is just our family and close friends..and continue to do it. what a great thing to teach our kids!

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  12. I don't know how I missed this post! A thousand apologies!

    I did want to let you know to wear your best slippers tomorrow as there will be an awards post at my place and you're on the VIP list!

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  13. What a great idea! I'm all in favor of making events matter in our lives. SITS sent me by, and I'm glad they did...Happy Sunday!

    Sx3: Supernatural

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  14. what a wonderful idea and a great way to teach kids how to give.
    Merry Christmas!

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