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Our 2012 Party has been blogged… the post has TONS of decoration ideas.
Keep scrolling down for our 2011 Party Recap + tips on hosting a party.

Ugly Sweater Wood Blocks
DIY Hot Glue Snowflake Garland + Mantle

How to Build a Photo Booth 
DIY Pom Pom Tree Decoration

2011 Party:
We held our first Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Shindig, and let me tell ya, there was lots of ugly-sweater-ness going on. 

Since we’re planning to make this a tradition at our house, I thought it would be convenient to write down all the ideas that I had so I can refer to this post next year! haha. Hopefully this will inspire some ideas for anyone out there who is planning an ugly sweater shindig of your own! And yes, instead of the word “party,” shindig just seemed so much more fitting for the occasion!
Let’s start with
A Few Weeks Before…
(I usually ask myself these 6 questions when planning an event).
1. WHO: Coming up with a guest list of “who” to invite is hands-down the most stressful part (for me)! You don’t want to leave anyone out. But you don’t want to invite too many to fit into your living room. What about mixing groups of friends? What about kids? Are you going to ask everyone to find a babysitter? We ended up inviting people that we attend church with. We invited all the “young couples/significant others/singles.” I told people to spread the word- and truly hope no one felt left out!
2. WHAT: Decide what you’ll be doing at the party, then give your guests the information asap, so they have ample time to find a white elephant gift and an ugly sweater. Also, plan out your menu. Make sure you have enough time to shop and prep. And if people ask what they can bring- if you’re prepared- you’ll know exactly what would be helpful, without breaking the bank for anyone. Last, plan out your decorations and supplies so you can shop and prep on time.
3. WHERE: Consider your space and decide if it’s ample enough for the number of people you have invited. Do you need to rent a venue or is your own living room/kitchen big enough? Other details- do you need to borrow folding chairs? What can you do to make sure your guests have a place to park?
4. WHEN: Keep in mind your own upcoming weekend commitments with work/school/church/community. Then keep in mind other events that you might have in common with those you are inviting, and avoid that date. Pick a date, and start advertising early, like right after Thanksgiving. We had our party on December 3, and even though it was early in the month, it was a fun way to ring in the holiday festivities.
5. WHY: Well, that’s a silly question. Because we wanted an excuse to have a party! Also it was fun to get to know people better.
6. HOW: Now you have to figure out how to invite them all! Mail invitations? Word of mouth? Facebook Event? Email? Pass out fliers? Evite? (here’s a cute ugly sweater one). 
Did you see the invites that my friend Jamie from The Letter 4 made for my little shindig? Find them here!

A Few Hours Before…
A few random thoughts and tips:
1. Turn your heater down or off. There will be lots of people wearing bulky sweaters, you don’t want them to get too hot!
2. Turn on your candles, scentsy, etc.
3. Have a specified place for shoes, coats, purses, etc right when your guests walk in. If left on the couches where your guest are sitting, this can get really clutter-y and crazy! And if there’s now outside, wet and muddy!
4. If you want to send food home, have some containers on hand that you don’t need to have returned. I found myself shoveling pumpkin dip into dixie cups, and started to feel a little silly, even for an ugly sweater party!
5. Charge your camera batteries.
6. Make sure your guests have a place to park, and a place to sit!
7. Hopefully your trash isn’t too full- you’ll probably have a lot!
At the Party:
Our night went like this: kiss underneath the mistletoe upon entering. Eat. Decorate an ugly sweater cookie. Socialize. Pictures of each couple. White elephant gift exchange (the best part). Ugliest/Awesomest Sweater Contest. (More ideas: play fun group games, watch a Christmas movie, set up a photo booth).
Food Ideas:
First, I have to thank everyone who brought food. It was such a blessing to have people offer to bring something. It’s important to know when to delegate and when no to. I welcomed the offers, mainly because I didn’t think I had the time or space to make everything myself. Plus, I find that around the holidays, people have special things they love to make and share. There were about 5 recipes that my friends brought that I need now! Our menu consisted of:
Apple Cider
Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Veggie Tray
Queso Dip and chips
Buffalo Chicken dip and chips
Cheese Balls and crackers
Jello Ring
Pumpkin Dip and Gingersnaps
Chocolate cookies
Ugly Sweater Sugar cookies
***I bought 2 sweater cookie cutters here, for $7!!***
Decoration Ideas:
I had so much fun brainstorming ideas. I didn’t have time for most of them, but there’s always next year! The things I did were:
Ugly Sweater framed picture
Ideas I ran out of time for:
Leg Lamp
Sweater Christmas trees
Sweater Ornaments
Ok, that about wraps up my ideas for this year. I already can’t wait for next year’s party! Here’s a few pictures!

me + T. sheesh, we look tired!
our friend Ryan grew a mustache just for the party. how awesome is that!?

(don’t worry- I made my helpers wash their hands after every “taste of dough,” really)!

pumpkin cream cheese dip. (recipe on my sister’s cooking blog here).
jello mold…. i couldn’t help it, i thought it sounded so “ugly sweater worthy.” it actually tasted really good! (recipe here).
bacon wrapped water chestnuts. (recipe coming)!

I found this cute card on Etsy from JulieAnn Art.

The highlight of the party was…. a TARANTULA from the White Elephant Gift Exchange!
And guess who got stuck with it? Me! My daughters stole it from our friends, Mike and Angela. I couldn’t believe they wanted it!!! It’s not the spider that bothers me, its the crickets! Eeeeew!

And now let’s have a giveaway.
The awesome guys at Ugly Christmas Sweater Party are giving one of you a hot-off-the-press autographed book!
(giveaway closed)

Once upon a time…

I started a blog. This is a tale of my projects, goals, and dreams. Thank you for taking a moment to stop by. I hope you have a beautiful day.

xoxo, Rach H.