Yes, I know. It’s the last bend before Christmas comes around, and for many of us, it marks the beginning of a mad scramble to pick up last minute presents, put up decorations, and plan get-togethers. Of course, this year, you could do the same boring thing as every other year. You could resort to the same old spherical glass ornaments in the array of solid metallic colors, and you could fall back on Freezer-Isle hors d’oeuvres.
Or you could follow the tips I’m about to give you to put together painless decorations, and….well, I can’t guarantee I will be able to help liven up your party, but I’ll give it my best shot.
Step with caution though, because some of the tips are off the top of my head, and might not have been road tested, so YMMV. Nonetheless, raise your glasses of eggnog, and cheers to high tech christmas!
Streamline Your Party
Getting people together for the holidays is usually a nightmare, as scheduling conflicts abound. Never fear, the MakeUseOf Directory has a horde of web-apps that will help you plan your party. I went through and picked out a few of my favorites.
This app immediately stands out to me simply because there is no registration required. As you can see, the interface is very clean and eye catching. The host simply decides the details of the event, picks a few possible dates, and then emails out the notifications. The guests then pick which dates they are available as well, and the results are shown graphically on the calendar.
If you want to be a bit more elaborate than simply sending a “come hither” email, Pingg is a great service for creating e-vites and even a custom webpage for your event. Of course, event planning sites are a dime a dozen, but Pingg’s clean design and simple interface (things I always look for in webapps) make it a good choice above more spartan looking services like invite43.
But if you’d rather not sign up for one more service just to host a party, James wrote a great article on how to plan a party with Google services.
Now once you have ensnared your unwitting guests, you need a way to keep them interested! Why not a party playlist, planned by everyone on the guest list, to make sure that the beats at least are keeping the guests appeased? Flavortunes is a great service that works just like sending out invitations, except you’re inviting the guests to suggest songs to play at the party. Unfortunately the service seems to be down at the moment, but keep it in mind for future reference.
Perhaps that is not enough involvement from the net for you. Perhaps you’d like to be a little geekier than that? You could always toss the traditional holiday party idea (it’s so conventional anyways, right?) and have a LAN party instead! Yes, a LAN party. Jack covered How to Organize An Awesome Lan Party, and trust me, if you like games as much as my crowd does, it’ll be a hit for sure.
But what about the party food? You can’t have a holiday party without decadent Christmas cake, and it HAS to match with the party theme. If you’re not having a LAN party, I can’t help you there, but if you ARE however, here are some great game-themed desserts to get your creativity going!
There’s way more inspiration out there on the web, if you care to look, but if you are not a master baker (neither am I, no worries) you could always just buy a few action figures and shove them into the frosting! Or, you can just bake a bunch of brownies, cut them into squares, pretend the squares are pixels, dip them into colored frosting, and make pixel pictures, like the following.
For some simple, geeky centerpieces, take red and white wire, wind them around each other, and bend one end until the wires resemble a candy cane. To mass produce these wire candy canes, start with two ridiculously long lengths of wire, and after winding them together, snip the long twist into candy cane sized pieces. Use these wire canes in any decoration that calls for candy canes.
One particularly simple candy-cane based decoration I like is created by taking a handful of the wire canes, spacing them evenly in a clear glass vase (the closer it is to the length of your cane, the better, so that the curve of the cane hits roughly the top of the glass), and then tying a length of silver ribbon in an aesthetically pleasing manner about 1/3 of the way down the top of the vase. It takes five minutes, and is one of the most elegant yet quick-fix decorations I have come across.
If you have old sticks of ram or scratched up CDs lying around, you could cut them into the shapes of petals, and hot glue them together to create ram/CD – flowers. Then, you could either attach green wire stem to your flower, with a few leaves made from either wire or more ram attached, and use these in flower-based arrangements. For example, you could take a few very tall and skinny vases like the one shown below, fill them halfway with red potpourri, and stick a few “flowers” in each.
CDs in general make particularly great ornaments because they are so reflective and so easy to come by. Just cut a few of your old CDs up in fetching shapes, tie some thread from the central holes of the CDs, and get to tree-trimming.
Christmas is almost here! What an exciting and nerve racking thought! Perhaps you were not ready for its imminent arrival, but hopefully now you’re a bit more prepared and inspired for the last sprint of the Christmas rush. In this article, I’ve covered a bit about throwing a fun, but not necessarily Christmas related party and providing the food and decorations, so I fully expect to receive dozens of invitations in my inbox tonight. Or, you could just leave us a comment with all the grisly details, and maybe a few pictures of your cake/ram flowers too! Happy Holidays!