America wouldn’t be the land of the free without the brave men and women who fight for our nation. They sacrifice holidays, birthdays, and sometimes their lives to protect us. It is important to keep in mind the importance of what they have chosen to do and to thank them in any way we can while they are overseas fighting and upon their return.
Sometimes soldiers are stationed right here in the United States, whether it is for training or security purposes. A lot of the time they can’t get leave time during the holidays to go home or they simply can’t go because it is too far. There is no better way to thank our service men and women during the holidays than to open up our homes and share a meal and a blessing. There are several groups that can make arrangements for you or you can contact your nearest military base to “adopt a soldier,” and make someone’s holiday special.
Approximately 200,000 men and women in the service return to civilian life every year. Upon their return, they need employment. To assist in the hiring of a veteran is a wise investment of your time. They possess leadership skills, strong work ethic, and are dependable, making them a perfect addition to any company. If you own a business or know someone who does, or work as an HR recruiter, do what you can to promote the hiring of returning service members.
If you own a business, think about incorporating a veteran’s discount into your pricing. AvaCare Medical does just that. They are a brick and mortar and online super store that provides medical supplies to people nationwide and have developed a veteran’s initiative as a special thank you to our troops. Their initiative states, “All active, reserve, retired or disabled U.S. veterans and immediate family members (including parents, siblings and children) with a valid military ID are eligible for a 5% discount on any order placed on AvaCare Medical. No application necessary; simply fill out your U.S. military ID number at checkout to receive 5% off your entire order.”
Even if you can’t do anything extravagant, you can offer a simple “thank you.” According to the U.S. Census, there are over nineteen million veterans in our country and more than nine million are over 65 years old. If you see someone in uniform or sporting a veteran’s cap, offer them a thanks for their service and shake their hand. If you are able to, offer to buy them a meal if you see them in a restaurant. Thank their families as well, they sacrifice just as much even if they are thousands of miles from the front lines. Spouses and other family members of service members have to juggle things to get by on their own while their loved one is gone for long periods of time. They too should receive recognition and thanks for their support.
Safe Ways to Celebrate Halloween this Year
We are all well aware of the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has made when it comes to Halloween celebrations this year. The good news is that, apart from restrictions on trick-or-treating and house parties, Halloween can still be a fun and ghostly time for you and your family.
Here are a few ideas for at-home Halloween festivities:
At-Home Candy Scavenger Hunt
Even if trick-or-treating is off the table for your family this year, you can still enjoy a pursuit of sweets inside your home. Hide candy throughout your house (and out in the yard, if the weather permits), and then set the kids loose. Instead of going door to door, your kids can run from room to room filling up their plastic pumpkins or goodie bags.
Pro Tip: Try to keep track of what candy you put where. Otherwise, if your kids don’t find it right away, it could go to waste, make a mess or attract pests in its hiding space for weeks or months.
Family Costume Contest
Nothing like a little competition to get everybody into a good, spooky mood. Either agree on a single costume theme, or you can choose to just have a free-for-all. Offer a variety of awards—Most Creative, Best Make-Up, Best Overall Costume, etc.—with special treats or mini trophies available for each of the winners.
Halloween Film Festival
Enjoy your night in by watching two or three Halloween-themed films. There are plenty of movie options out there that are spooky as well as kid-friendly. Of course, a Halloween movie night wouldn’t be complete without plenty of appropriately themed snacks and beverages.
Make decorating the house more of a hands-on affair by incorporating some craft-made creations. Pumpkin carving is an obvious choice. But you can also find other age-appropriate Halloween craft projects that you all can work on as a family, the final results of which can feature prominently in your home’s overall décor.
With barriers removed between the living and the dead on Halloween, it is the ideal time to take matters into your hands and do some investigating to find out if your home or yard could be haunted. There are an array of ghost hunting and ghost busting kits available to help you and your kids detect and then get rid of any spooks that might lurk in a bedroom, out in the garage, by the pool, etc.
So, yes, things are a bit different this year. But different doesn’t have to mean bad, especially when you have so many other fun Halloween options at your disposal.
Baby Shower Ideas: What’s a Sip and See?
Baby showers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes these days. You have parties that are all about revealing the gender of a new baby, and traditional parties where men aren’t allowed to attend. One of the more interesting options to emerge in recent months is the Sip and See party.
Essentially, this is a chance to have family members and friends over for a lighthearted party, where they get to meet the new baby or child soon after they’ve been welcomed into the world. These parties are also excellent for welcoming newly adopted children to the family.
A sip and see can be an excellent way for exhausted parents to introduce their new child to everyone at once, rather than arranging multiple visits.
What Should a Sip and See Be Like?
It’s important to note that there’s a big difference between a baby shower and a sip and see. While the typical baby shower happens before the baby arrives, sip and see events happen afterwards. The sip and see needs to be a very casual and quiet event, as you won’t want to upset the new baby. The chances are that there won’t be as many decorations, but there should still be plenty of food and maybe some soft music to enjoy.
Rather than having a venue for this party, you invite everyone to your own house, which means that you don’t have to rush around getting things ready for a party when you have a new baby to look after.
One thing to keep in mind with a Sip and See, is that it’s less likely to have presents or gifts at this event. However, if your mom and dad to be didn’t have a baby shower for any reason, this is a great chance to give them the gifts that you haven’t had chance to get to them before.
What to Consider When Hosting a Sip and See
If you decide to host a sip and see, then there are a lot of things to consider. These parties are often hosted by new parents themselves. However, if you’re a close friend or family member, then your loved one might ask them to host the event on their behalf – particularly if they’re too tired to work out an invite list and catering on their own.
The invite list will usually be down to the parents, and who needs to see the baby most. However, if you’re inviting people on behalf of the parents, you can always ask them if someone enquires about an invitation. Other things to consider while you’re planning are:
- Refreshments: The word “sip” indicates that there’s going to be some kind of refreshments. Think afternoon tea, rather than elaborate meals and lots of alcohol.
- Time frame: Make sure that people know exactly when the party is going to start, and when they’ll need to leave. Don’t leave it to the new parents to usher people out of the door when the new baby needs to go to sleep.
- Decorations: It’s fun to have decorations at any party, but you’ll want to keep these to a minimum in this case. Guests will be coming to see the baby, and the parents won’t want to have to spend forever cleaning up once people have gone.
- Games and entertainment: If you don’t want everyone to be waiting in a line to hold the baby or see the new arrival, you can introduce some games. People who are waiting around for their chance to see the new child could simply chat over some finger foods, however
Enjoying your Sip and See Party
A sip and see party is a fantastic chance to take some pressure off new parents, who are often expected to parade their child around and show them off to countless people. With this kind of party, you can take the pressure off the parents, and invite people to come and visit on a specific day and time.
If you’re helping parents that you’re close to with this party, one of the best things that you can do is assist with the tidying up portion of the event before and after the party. The mom and dad are going to be looking after the baby, so they’ll definitely want some help making sure that everything looks spic and span.
It’s also helpful to have some hand sanitiser at the door, so that visitors can get their hands clean before touching the child.
Party Planning Checklist
A recent survey by OnePoll conducted for BJ’s Wholesale Club found that the average American party host spends over $1,420 a year on party planning, including the decor, food, and drinks. On top of all that money spent, the planning, shopping, setting up, and cleaning up afterward requires 10 hours of labor for the host.
That’s a lot of time and money, but you can make the most of it while increasing the odds of a successful event by following the steps on this party planning checklist.
Set Your Budget
Before you do anything you’ll want to know what your budget is in order to stay within it and avoid impulse buys.
Make Your Invitation List and Choose a Venue
In order to make the best planning decisions, you’ll need to know approximately how many will be coming to your party. Of course, before you can figure out how many to invite, you’ll need to choose the venue. If you can afford to rent out a space, you won’t have to worry about cleaning up afterward. The general rule for most parties is to invite 20 percent more people than your home or venue can hold as only around 70 to 80 percent of invitees typically attend. If it will be hosted at your home you’ll not only want to consider the space you have available but parking for your guests.
Create a Theme
A theme can also help you with other planning decisions. Of course, it can simply be a child’s birthday, adult’s birthday or a holiday event like Halloween, or you can make it something special like a black-and-white ball, a mardi gras theme, ’60s theme, Roman togas or anything else you choose – there are so many possibilities the choices are practically endless.
Set the Date
It’s best to choose a date when most people are more likely to be able to come, which means on the weekend while avoiding holidays. Just be sure you let them know at least a couple of weeks in advance, but ideally three to four.
If you plan to hire a band, DJ, or another type of performer, that’s often the highlight of the party, so you may need to adjust your date based on the availability of the entertainment hire if you’ve got your heart set on a special artist. Another consideration for the type of entertainment is the space you have available for the artist and any equipment, and whether or not you need room for your guests to get up and dance. Think about who will be attending, their tastes, and ages to be sure you’re not alienating anyone with your choice.
You’ll want to work with performers that have good references and/or reviews you can trust to act professionally, arrive on time, have a good sound quality, and know-how to entertain the crowd too.
Send Out the Invitations
Now that you have a theme, date, and the entertainment, it’s time to send out the invitations, whether by mail or e-vites.
Plan the Menu
When planning your menu, make a list of how far in advance each item can be made, and then create your shopping list. You’ll want to be sure you have enough to feed everyone. If you’ll be hiring a caterer, they’ll know all the right questions to ask.
When it comes to the decor this is where the fun and creativity really begins. You can go simple, or all out. If you have a theme, it makes it much easier to choose the decorations.