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Home Sweet Home: Ask the Expert

Whew! You’ve made it through the Christmas season, packed up most of the holiday decorations except perhaps some of the more wintery looks and now your home is back to near normal.  But what if “normal” is just a bit of a letdown?

The Decorating Den

Well most everyone has new games to play, warm fuzzy sweaters to wear, fragrant candles to burn and a pile of uneaten cookies and candies. Maybe now that the hurriedness of the season has passed, this would be a fantastic time to throw a party. You have all the ingredients on hand and there are so many friends that get overlooked during Christmas in lieu of spending time with family.

Ugly sweater parties are certainly a big hit with adults, but let’s face it, one doesn’t generally get enough wear out of those treasures to warrant the purchase.  Unless you incorporate them into an after Christmas party.  There’s a good chance you received a mildly unattractive sweater as a gift from your Great Aunt Mildred and this would provide you with an opportunity to wear it.  When the subject comes up at your next family gathering as to how you liked your sweater you can happily reply “loved it, wore it right away, got lots of compliments” (even if you actually meant laughs).

In more recent times a very hot trend involves ugly socks.  An extremely popular line in our store, Blue Q, best described as “sassy, pretty and a little twisted” has a huge offering of men’s and women’s socks, some of which are best hidden under your pants legs, if you know what I mean. Ask your invited guests to wear their most daring socks to go along with their sweaters and when they arrive at the party, have them describe their socks on a piece of paper and put in a bag for a later game.  When the time is right, have someone read the sock descriptions and let everyone guess who is wearing which socks.  It may surprise you how “twisted” your friends really are.

And as long as you are in the mood for a few laughs, consider setting up the spread with some of the most popular serving pieces from the Mudpie collection, ivory stoneware serving pieces with unique phrases. Pretty much everything you need to create a festive Mexican fiesta – a 6 compartment dish naming all the taco fixings, a bowl that says “it’s five o’guac somewhere” coupled with a spoon that says “holy guacamole”, or a bowl of “just in queso” are among the offerings.

So now you have the colorful sweaters, the outrageous socks, the Mexican feast, maybe a few margaritas and a houseful of happy people.  Might not be a bad idea to break out the multi-color lights to add to the atmosphere.  If your tree hasn’t come down yet (or you purposely left it up for this occasion), leave it bare other than the lights and throw a sombrero on top.  There’s quite a few options when it comes to colorful lighting, all of which should be relatively handy following the holidays. Fill up your lanterns with big novelty lights in the shape of C7’s. Colorful battery operated lights can be randomly used in various spots to add a little cheer. The more color the better.  Winter doldrums should be banished from this gathering.

A great way to involve your guests and keep them from getting bored is to provide some fun activities, other than eating and drinking. Get your game tables set up. Depending on the number of guests you may need several tables.  Adults really do like board games so make sure you have a variety of choices available or have your guests bring their own faves.  Make sure you have plenty of funny prizes available for the winners at each table. The Blue Q line has its own section in April’s and it’s all very funny, including socks, towels, oven mitts, bathroom sprays, chewing gum, and more (the words might not be appropriate to mention here).

I read an article recently that stated (according to psychology experts), that people who put their Christmas decorations up early are happier than those who wait.  I don’t know how they would respond to leaving it up long past Christmas, but surely a few colorful lights and decorations are in order to make this celebration a hit.  So have fun and get ready to start your own traditions.

Photos courtesy of Mike McManus

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