Recommend Brophies with Confidence

We are unique because

Money saving

• NO VAT and free delivery

• quality catering at affordable prices

Guaranteed freshly made

• all food made on the same day (supplied with free paper

plates and napkins)

Planet Loving

• locally based and sourcing local ingredients as far as possible, recycling a priority

On-line menus, ordering, payment

• 20 occasion options – parties, picnics, BBQs, buffets, platters, canapés for cocktails

• easy ordering on-line, easy payment through a varietynof cards and on-line pay systems

Reassurance

• 25 years’ experience

• good local knowledge

• partner with local venues

• in touch with a range of complimentary services that we recommend

• we are transparent about our prices and menus – no hidden costs

 Our Promise

• we take time to listen

• we provide honest advice

• we understand special dietary needs

• you can rely on Brophies

For a name you can trust talk to Martin at Brophies 

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How British children have embraced the high school prom

As the end of the academic year approaches, British youngsters will be searching for taffeta and stretch limos

Its time to get the professionals on board

Piles of taffeta, ruffles, tiaras, heels and gallons of fake tan are accumulating in teenage bedrooms around the country, and heads are full of notions of stretch limousines and corsages. The UK’s school prom season is gearing up for its biggest year yet.

A trend that arrived from the US on the back of incredibly successful high- school TV shows such as Glee and Hannah Montana, and teen movies such as High School Musical, it has swiftly become the norm for schools here. Where once an end-of-school formal dance or ball might have been held, or even a disco in the school hall, now it has become a major event to celebrate either the end of exam season or even, as the trend gets younger, the end of primary school education.

For recession-hit families the cost of the event is less welcome, but for many businesses the trend is helping keep them afloat. Last year the Holiday Inn saw a 5,000% increase in the number of proms being booked in its hotels and parents were shelling out an average of £244 per teenager.

While this year has a proliferation of prom dresses on sites like Ebay at bargain prices, the prom season is still proving a goldmine for British businesses.

“For the first time this year we’ve sold more men’s suits for proms than we do at Christmas,” said Dave Shaw, the marketing manager of men’s wear chain Moss Bros.

“The prom business is certainly phenomenal now. And because a lot of boys will need a suit anyway as they leave school and start going for interviews or whatever, the sales are doing better than our hire market. There is already a move, however, away this year from the more traditional style of formal suit towards the more modern, straighter shape and coloured suits.”

There are even “prom management” companies. Prom World set up in the Midlands last year, and the Prom Show is becoming a regular event on the Wedding Fair circuit, where exhibitors from dressmakers to photographers show off their wares.

But if all the boys need is a sharp suit and a fresh jar of hair gel, the girls need hair, makeup, nails, jewellery and of course, the dress. “It’s all about the dream dress,” said Linda Ellison of Prom Frock UK, based in Wigan and currently rushed off her feet by the prom season.

“Prom dresses are flying out of our shop,” she said. “We saw the trend coming by chance, as my eldest daughter asked me to get her one and we ordered a few from our suppliers. That was only a few years ago and now we’re selling 400 through our shop and 6,500 a year through our stockists.

“It’s different from the American prom in that they tend to be aged around 18 or 19 for their prom, whereas our girls will be a bit younger, so dresses are less revealing. We have our own twist – not too risqué – but still on trend. It’s a very vibrant part of the economy up here.”

“I think this year the market has hit the top – there are signs it’s stabilising,” she said. “Every school is doing it, so it is nearing saturation point.”

Companies such as Glasgow-based Katy Moon, making bespoke brides’ tiaras, who were in the wedding business, have found a new market coming to them as young girls want that same special day experience.

“The tiara has arrived this year for sure. And thank God for it,” said hairdresser Sandra McKenzie, who works for a company in the Midlands which offers “Prom Day Deals” for groups of girls. “It’s been a slow year and we certainly needed the boost: we’ve done loads of extensions already ahead of the proms, and have quite a few mobile bookings for styling a group together. It’s like weddings except much more fun.

“Curling is big. Big hair is big! Ringlets and the romantic look – I’ve noticed a lot are really going for the My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding look in their dresses.”

But it has exploded so fast that schools are not yet doing what US high schools have long learned to do: co-ordinate. “They will all have them on the same date – they don’t think, so we could have rented out 50 cars for June and July if we’d had them,” said limousine company boss Daniel Roberts.

“There’s a lot being disappointed and all the kids can’t get the cars they want. They all go for the same perhaps eight or 10 dates through June and July around us and then they can’t get the bookings because we’re booked solid. None of the schools think to liaise,” said Roberts, of Star Limousines, which rents out the stretch vehicles around Brighton, London and the south east.

He imports and sells the stretch vehicles from the US and said that, while many people would like to get into the business, banks were not supporting them. “People can’t get the finance to set up, and with the fuel costs it’s not easy to get started.

“It’s a booming business. We’re taking bookings for 2013 prom season. But the big increase for us is in primary schools having cars for their end of terms.”

Tracy McVeigh  The Observer

 

Brophies the caterer Hertfordshire based catering company has expanded its succesful range of keenly priced options to include proms, school and college events. Offering to tailor make they packages, they are more of an events organiser than a caterer. Partnering with a range of other suppliers they aim to break into this highly competitive market by working with organisers to better meet their needs and staying focused on the budget, but doing it with style and panache.

This has to be another winning formular for Brophies who specilise in freshly made food, souced from local ingredients, delivered in ready to serve.

As they say on their website “the essential ingredient to perfect catering every time”

The Perfect Memory

 

Here are a series of help sheets from My Perfect Prom

prom_committee_planner

prom_committee_budget

my_prom_planner

my_budget

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5 Stars On Google, Want them?

The aspiration of every business owner is to achieve 5 Stars in the Google search results; I would like to join them, can you help me get 5 stars for Brophies.

Having built up a trusted relationship with Google and collecting over a hundred testimonials, the service from Working Feedback gets 5 Star ratings for businesses in the search results quickly. Don’t you agree that raising our on-line presence in this way will help you win more business and give us more credibility?

It couldn’t be simpler to give us a review to get started, just Click Here

Here at Brophies we pride ourselves on our attention to detail, attentive service and tasty food.

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Jubilee Party Ideas

Here at Brophies we have been celebrating with an array of new special menus to celebrate the Queens Jubilee and the lovely summer weather we are enjoying

Check out our new Jubilee Picnic Boxes with patriotic cup cake

“Thank you very much for your catering it was very nice, well received and as usual no hassle. I hope you do well with the Jubilee Boxes, I thoroughly recommend them. ..” Michelle

Read what our customers say about us

Why not try this great Union Jack Cake – it was a real winner at the recent BNI Summer Party

Union Jack Cake

Serves 20-30

A showstopper of a centre piece, made with a good tempered cake mixture that doesn’t worry too much about the exact size of your tin.

 

 

Ingredients

For the cake:

If you have a big food processor, then you can put all the ingredients together in the bowl and just pulse until combined. Mine doesn’t have a large enough bowl for the industrial quantities here, so I make it in a tabletop mixer.

400g butter, at room temperature

400g caster or granulated sugar

600g self raising flour

4tsp baking powder

grated zest of two lemons

120ml milk

7 eggs

For filling and decoration:

450g jar raspberry jam

600ml double cream

About 200g raspberries

About 200g strawberries

About 200g blueberries

Plus extra fruit for round the edge, if you like.

The Union Jack cake will be a refreshing centre-piece show stopper (Photo: Olivia Bolton)

Method

Line two roasting tins about 35cm by 25cm with non stick baking parchment. It doesn’t matter if they are not the exact same size as you’ll be trimming them later.

Preheat the oven to 180′C/Gas 4

Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time, alternating each with a spoonful of flour. (Ideally, do this in a table top mixer).

Briefly beat in the flour and baking powder, then stir in the milk.

Divide the mixture between the two baking tins and spread it out fairly evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and cooked through (check that a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean). The cake on the lower rack in the oven will probably need a bit longer.

Cool the cakes in the tins (they would probably break if you tried to turn them out).

When cool, turn them out carefully – don’t panic if they break now, as you’ll be able to cover up any damage with cream. Spread the jam on the top side of one cake, then lay the other, top side down, on top. With a serrated knife (a bread knife is ideal) trim the edges to make a neat oblong.

Lightly whip the cream and spread about a quarter of it all over the cake with a palette knife, pressing fairly firmly and scraping away any very crumby bits of cream. Then spoon the rest of the cream on to the cake and spread gently all over in an even layer.

Slice the strawberries (an egg slicer makes short work of this) and arrange in a cross of St George over the top. Use the raspberries for the diagonal reds of the cross of St Patrick and the blueberries for the blue (the background to the white cross of St Andrew).

Whatever you do we hope you have a fun and easy time enjoying each other company.

If you catering for a party or nay family event just give Brophies a call on 01727 846261

“The essential ingredient to perfect catering every time”

 

 

 

 

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Brophies 10 Point Event and Party Planner

One month to go…

10. Planning ahead

Decisions! Decisions!

What type of party? Who to invite? When and where? Just remember that Brophies platters are fresh and tasty, made on the day, delivered on sealed platters, ready to serve, we make it so much easier! So, browse through party menus or look through my blog or website and plan the perfect feast.

9. Choose a special cake

Give your party the wow factor with a celebration cake. There is a great blog all about cakes packed full of ideas.

Two weeks ahead…

8. Finalise your menu

Brophies offers something for every occasion. Order online (this link opens a new window), by phone on 01727 846261 for help and advice with ordering and party planning. Ordering with Brophies is convenient and simple.  Free Delivery is available to all. Brophies catering orders (subject to a £99 minimum spend), simply select a time slot and let us do the heavy lifting.  Alternatively we can arrange a Free Collection at our premises at a time that suits you.

Please allow at least four days notice to order products. Some products require more time so we recommend placing your order as soon as possible.

7. Order the drinks

Brophies offer a number of options and with our expert local knowledge can help make party planning easy

6. Finishing touches

We would recommend talking to our partners about flowers, room dressing, table planning, event planning, equipment and crockery hire services, entertainment, music, party shops, attended service requirements as well as photographer, car and van pick up to get you home safely and our pre and after party clean up. We only work with a recommend companies that we know and trust personally. With Brophies we take the strain and the worry out of the planning so you can enjoy your perfect party or event

5. Make space

Don’t forget to make extra space in your fridge for our chilled party foods, and freezer space if you order a frozen dessert or ice.

4. Glasses

Nobody wants to run out and have to start washing up when the party is in full swing! Again, take advantage of our partnership to hire in all your glasses, cutlery and crockery with free delivery and a free send back dirty service , what could be easier. Talk to us and we will arrange everything for you. Make the order sooner rather than later if your party is on a busy ‘holiday’ weekend.

The day before…

3. Be prepared

Prepare a list of extras to get when you send out for the ice or collect your order, olives, bread, leaf salad , fresh herbs, sauces and dressings, lemons, biscuits for cheese, cream, soft drinks, tea and coffee, fresh flowers, candles – and don’t forget: kitchen towels, bin liners and washing up liquid. Check the defrost times for anything in the freezer.

On the day…

2. Get chilled!

Have you got enough ice cubes? Half fill a clean bin with water and ice for extra drinks storage. Chill any Champagne, sparkling or white wine, mineral water and soft drinks. Make up jugs of cocktails or punch. Set up the drinks station and arrange the flowers. Anything to defrost? Check any reheating instructions.

1. Hours to go

Clear the decks, decorate and lay the tables with cutlery, plates, glasses etc. Get the food for cooking and reheating ready while the oven preheats. Have the cold food platters arranged as they are delivered ready to serve, no last minute garnishing and fuss.  Before the guests arrive – apron off! – ready to relax and enjoy the party…

More information on how to order and get advice from Brophies the caterer (this link opens a new window).

 

“The essential ingredient to perfect catering every time”

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Say Hello to your new sales team!

THIRTY well connected and experienced Hertford & Ware based business people sharing £1 million worth of new business opportunities through each other’s professional and personal contacts.

The NEW ‘Endeavour’ (Hertford & Ware) business referral group uses BNI’s (Business Networking International) globally proven strategies to maximise every members opportunity to win new business. The strict application process ensures only the best local professions and trades become members.

“Having only one business per profession, guarantees maximum exposure for every business member” says Martin Brophy who is launching the Endeavour group with Dayle Guy, “Dayle and I very excited about this opportunity for good businesses in Hertford, Ware & surrounding areas; we will bring our experience to support a successful dynamic group”

So come and meet your new sales team, ring to discuss coming along on Thursday mornings 06:30 – 08:45am at the Roebuck Hotel in Ware, Hertfordshire. Lock out your competitors call us now: Martin: 07710 353 054; Dayle: 07515 050 392

“It’s time to breathe new life into the local economy and maximise the amount of business to increase profits, it’s not easy but it works” Dayle Guy

Location: ENDEVEAOUR (Herford & Ware) ; Roebuck Hotel, 1 Baldock Street, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 9DR  Web: http://www.bni.eu/uk/

Further information: sales@brophies.com or dayleguy@codethirtynine.com

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Launch of Hot Food Menus at Brophies

Wow is cold outside and we have had fun creating a whole new range of menus for our Hot Food menus.

Its simple and easy you order , at Brophies as we soucre fresh local ingredients and cook your dish fresh on the day and let it cool and deliver it to you in a ceramic dish with a lid ready to heat up.

 

 

Here is a short video of the dishes on offer:              Brophies Hot Food Menu

If you are too busy to do your own catering, then rely on a professional catering company with 25 years experience.

Whether its a meeting at the office, a party at home or a celebration in a hall, if you need a venue, want to catering for a wedding a funeral or a christening then Brophies are the essential ingredient to perfect catering every time.

 

 

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Benefits of Grief Counselling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main purpose of grief counselling is to enable the bereaved to complete any ‘unfinished business’ and to come to terms with life without the deceased or the situation in which they currently find themselves.

Depending on the circumstances, a grief counsellor can help the bereaved person move on, following loss, by facilitating the appropriate 4-stage mourning process, namely to:

1. accept the reality of the loss;
2. work through the pain of grief and deal with both expressed and hitherto unspoken issues;
3. readjust to a changed environment and reinvest back into a new life, going forward;
4. encourage the counselee to let go and ‘say goodbye’.

Types of Grief Counselling
Different types of counselling are used to facilitate the mourning process, (also see list of recommended resources below).

The first group involves professional services, e.g. doctors, nurses, bereavement counsellors, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, all of whom are qualified to provide support to those who have sustained a significant loss.

The second type of grief counselling involves voluntary services where carefully selected volunteers undergo extensive training in grief counselling, under professional guidance.

The third type of service is focussed on self-help groups and organisations, with or without the support of the professionals, where the bereaved help each other come to terms with their personal grief.

When Should Bereavement Counselling Start?
Not everyone needs grief counselling following the death of someone close to them. But, for those who would benefit from such support, it is generally recommended that grief counselling begins no sooner than a week or so after the funeral.

However, in situations where the possibility of speaking to a counsellor has been discussed prior to death, e.g. in a hospice context, the counselling can start whenever it is deemed appropriate.

Recommended Bereavement Support Resources
● BAC (British Association of Counselling):www.counselling.co.uk
● Child Bereavement: www.childbereavement.org.uk
● Child Death Helpline: www.childdeathhelpline.org
● Cruse Bereavement Care: www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk
● Macmillan: www.macmillan.org.uk
● N.H.S. Bereavement Support: www.NHS.uk/CarersDirect
● Samaritans: www.samaritans.org
● TCF: www.tcf.org.uk
● The Bereavement Register: www.the-bereavement-register.org.uk
● UK Sobs: www.uk-sobs.org.uk
● Winston’s Wish: www.winstonswish.org.uk

Informing people that someone close to you has died is an incredibly painful task to undertake, especially when you’re in a state of shock and your grief is raw.
But, the process of making the necessary death announcements can be simplified considerably if you enlist the help of a friend or relative of the deceased. This person could assist you with compiling a list of all the individuals who need to informed, urgently; they could even make most of the phone calls or emails for you.

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Le Reveillon

What was once a simple meal after midnight mass has blossomed into Le Reveillon, a night-time dinner for French families with many of the same dishes as those served on Christmas Day. Some families use the event to decorate the tree or give presents. Like many other nationalities, the French often decorate with a nativity scene, greenery, and candles.

For some a quality caterer is the perfect answer

An old-world Christmas: Celebrating the season is a month-long tradition in Germany, with festivities culminating on Christmas Eve, the night the Christmas tree is unveiled. Children are not allowed to see the tree until a bell is rung and it is brought out, fully decorated with cars, trains, angels, tinsel, lights, and ornaments. Families sing Christmas carols and place presents underneath. The night later gives way to a feast so lavish that the evening is often called “Dickbauch,” or “fat stomach.” Legend has it that those who do not eat well will be haunted by demons during the night.

Invite guests to an old-world party by printing out an invitation, leaving the front blank. Then glue greenery to the front in the shape of a wreath. Clippings from your tree, mistletoe, and ivy are easy choices to work with.

On the day of the party, decorate with nuts, fruits, greenery, marzipan, and adorable carved, wooden figurines of angels, trees, and Santa. Don’t forget candles and trimmings.

Is this where you wish you have used a caterer

Party Time!

The date has finally arrived. Guests will be arriving on your doorstep in minutes! You’ve prepared as much as possible ahead of time to ensure your plans run smoothly. A few finishing details should be all you need to make the event memorable.

Anticipate the comfort of your guests. Set appetizers in the living room, on the buffet, and in other places that make it easy to nibble. Play music and light candles for ambience.

Take guests’ belongings when they arrive. Introduce people by pointing out what they have in common with each other. Accept any gifts graciously and take to a discreet place so that other guests won’t feel guilty if they didn’t bring one.

Finally, stay out of the kitchen as much as possible so you can mingle with your guests and enjoy the party. The best way to achieve this is to use a caterer. And most importantly of all, you should enjoy yourself. Your holiday party should be for you as much as it is for your guests.

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Memorable Christmas Parties

A successful party lives on in everyone’s memory long after the last glass of punch has been sipped and the last bite of dessert eaten. But the fuss and frustration of planning can be a big party pooper. All the details — What kind of party should I have? Whom should I invite? How should I decorate? What do I serve? — can make even the most experienced host or hostess a little stressed.

You can do this all your self or use this to work with a good quality caterer

If you add to this equation the many demands and complications of the holiday season, you have the recipe for a real headache. Though the rewards of a successful Christmas party will carry on all year, some people might feel that the planning and execution is just too much of a burden.

That’s why we’ve included lots of party themes, ideas, and menus that make it easy to pull off a spectacular event. Our tried-and-true secrets for entertaining will ensure that your party is one to remember! We will walk you through all the steps of planning and hosting a Christmas party, including:

Decorating for a Christmas Party

When you are hosting a large party or celebration you want to create an exciting environment for your guests to relax in. Some simple decorations can turn your house into a seasonal wonderland for holiday revellers.

The sound of a crackling fire. The joy of newly fallen snow. The anticipation of Santa Claus. The smell of a Christmas tree. The taste of a freshly baked Christmas cookie. At its very essence, Christmas is a holiday that excites our senses. How things sound, look, feel, smell, and taste evoke memories of holidays past, flooding us with emotions.

The best way to re-create these memories — and to create new memories for our families and friends — is to surround ourselves with things that remind us of the season. Decorating is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this. Whether you are planning a small get together or a large party, decking your home in seasonal splendour will satiate the senses and fill all your guests with holiday spirit.

Ornament Centerpiece: Before you begin constructing your Christmas centrepiece, you’ll need to assemble the following items:

  • Dry floral foam
  • Knife
  • 4- to 6-inch-high brass bowl
  • Hot glue gun, glue sticks
  • Ruler
  • Evergreen bough
  • 14 Christmas ornament balls
  • 12 small pinecones
  • 1 spray of plums (or about 7 plums)
  • 4 berry sprays, cut into pieces
  • 3 poinsettia flowers with leaves

To create an ornament centrepiece:

  1. Cut floral foam to fit the bowl; glue. (Use a plastic liner if you don’t want to glue bowl.) Cut bough into five- to six-inch lengths. Form width and length by gluing greens around edge of container.
  2. Mound Christmas ornaments, pinecones, plums, and berry sprays on the greens and floral foam and secure with hot glue.
  3. Glue sprigs of greens, poinsettia flowers, and other poinsettia leaves to fill in holes between ornaments and pinecones.

The Colours of Christmas

Christmas is all about colour. Glowing strings of lights, festive stockings, and beautifully wrapped gifts take centre stage. The colours you choose to emphasize in your Christmas decorations can impact the feelings they evoke. Consider your goals — icy and intense, cosy and traditional, modern and fresh, elegant and luxurious — before deciding on a colour scheme.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas:

A white Christmas can be classic and traditional or glamorous and fresh. That’s the beauty of decorating with such a versatile colour. With contemporary interiors, an all-white Christmas is en vogue: current, up-to-date, modern. With traditional decors, all white lends a homespun feel to the holidays. Twinkling white lights and touches of silver are spectacular accents to an all-white decorating scheme. Flickering candles or a roaring fire add warmth to pure white and play up the shimmery effect of any gold or silver accents.

Now that you have your decorations picked out, it’s time to plan your party. On the next page, we will help you make your Christmas party a reality.

Planning a Christmas Party

It’s easy to think of the perfect Christmas party, but it’s a whole other matter making it happen. As with any large project, the only way to ensure success is careful planning. On this page, we will show you how to plan a Christmas party, from conception to picking party invitations to choosing a theme to enjoying the night of the party.

Any quality event planner or caterer will tell you the key to a successful party is planning. It’s not enough to simply make a few dishes and send invitations. A little advance planning saves you time and headaches later so spend five or ten minutes envisioning the party and walking yourself through as a guest. When party time comes, both you and your guests will have a night to remember!

Dreaming of the Perfect Party

The holiday season is packed with parties, so it’s a good idea to send invitations three weeks in advance. The sooner you send your invitations, the less likely it is that your guests will have committed to another event. Your invitations should state the starting and ending time of your party and should mention the food you will be serving, whether it is light holiday fare or a traditional sit-down dinner. And don’t forget to include directions!

Choose a menu for which many of the items can be made ahead of time. Some appetizers and desserts can be made and frozen several weeks in advance. Other recipes can be mixed together a few days before and stored in the refrigerator. Simply bake and finish the day of the party. Remember that parties aren’t the time to try a new recipe. Either test a new menu item before the party, or stick with tried-and-true recipes.

Opt for sustainable  finger foods instead of recipes that require dinnerware. Foods that can be eaten without a fork and knife keep spills and dribbles down, and they reduce the amount of dishwashing you have to do later. If you do serve dishes that require dinnerware, make sure you have table seating for guests to sit down and eat. Make it easy on yourself. If you dread cleanup, opt for nice disposable plastic/paper ware.

Think about traffic flow. Place your bar close to ice and water. Place trays of finger foods on side tables and buffets throughout your entertaining area. Provide enough chairs so that at least half of your guests can be seated at a time. Position several rubbish bins inconspicuously near the food tables and bar to prevent precarious pileups of plates and traffic jams in the kitchen.

 

If you don’t have time to deep clean your home the day of the party, hit the heavy traffic areas such as your living room, dining room, and bathrooms, and leave the rest for later.

 

Set the mood with holiday music playing in the background and lit candles sparkling throughout the house. Personalize the night with a special activity. Invite your guests to write a holiday wish in a guest book displayed on your coffee table or ask them to join you for some carolling. Little details such as these help make your party an event to remember.

 

Guests love party favours. Send your guests home with a little something extra: a small ornament, a bag of cookies, even a candy cane with a bow is a sweet way to say happy holidays.

 

Inspired Invitations

An invitation is your guest’s first impression of what your party will be like. To build the excitement, don’t settle for a phone call or purchased invitation. Instead, use your party’s theme to inspire your own quirky creations.

 

For a nice personal touch, use a photo from last year’s party as the front of your invitation, or send one with your family dressed in holiday garb or outfits that complement your party’s theme. You might also have your child draw a picture of the nativity scene, your party, or a present. Scan the photo onto a computer and print onto cardstock.

 

Get guests into party mode by making a custom CD of holiday music or other music that goes with your party theme. Write the party details on the CD label and send in a bubble-wrap envelope.

If you’d like an invitation with a hand-crafted look, purchase holiday stamps, and use them to make custom invitations. Stamps are available in a variety of seasonal motifs, making them ideal for expressing a particular party theme.

No time to make your invitations? Purchase nice note cards, and write a handwritten invitation with black ink. This is an elegant and personal way to announce your party.

Themed Christmas Parties

There are many different Christmas parties you can plan aside from the traditional tree-trimming parties. Here are some colourful alternatives. Boxing Day: when servants were required to work on Christmas Day. However, they were given reprieve the day after to visit family. Their employers would send them off with a box containing gifts and food, hence the holiday “Boxing Day.” Today, people continue to celebrate by taking the day off to visit family and friends.

This event is a combination of Christmas festivities and those of Boxing Day. Decorate the table with pine boughs, holly, mistletoe, juniper berries, cinnamon sticks, oranges with fragrant cloves, bowls of fruit, and tiny Christmas trees. Wrap small boxes with metallic and holiday paper and use for decoration or add small gifts that your guests can open after dinner.

You can also fill “crackers” (coloured paper tubes) with candy and small presents. For a unique Boxing Day invitation, write the party information on a piece of paper, fold it up, then place it in a small, wrapped box to hand-deliver to guests.

TRY IT!

Here are some Christmas menus to go with our themed parties:

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY-HELPER CALENDAR

To help you plan your Christmas holiday party, we’ve provided this helpful calendar:

November 28: Plan your holiday parties

November 30: Mail your Christmas party invitations

December 4-6: Bring home a Christmas tree

December 5-1: Decorate your house for the holidays

December 8: Baking day — freeze goodies and pull out in batches to ensure they will last through the holidays.

December 12-14: Plan and shop for holiday menu

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