Disclaimer: I received the HP Invitation Kit and HP Sprocket Photo Printer for free as part of a review partnership with HP. The thoughts and opinions below are my own.
We had a fun holiday meetup with a couple of friends this morning to exchange Christmas gifts and catch up over a plate of cookies. Even though it was a casual playdate, I wanted to make it a little festive since we won’t see them until after the holiday. Plus, Kyle brought home these amazing vintage school lunch trays a couple of weeks ago and they were begging for a craft project. (You can probably find some for sale from your local school districts if you look on PublicSurplus.com.)
The vintage school trays made me think about vintage Christmas fun so we went a little retro with this party and decided to go with a midcentury theme for the decor and the food. The fun thing about midcentury parties was that they were always so colorful – perfect for kids’ events! Just look at these Shirley Temples, all dressed up for Christmas with a little green sugar around the rim.
Knowing how colorful the party was going to be, I picked a bright non-holiday theme for our invitations using the HP Cards app. The Christmas designs were lovely but I thought these multicolored triangles really fit the mood:
The app makes it easy to create invitations on your phone by adding text and photos to preset designs that print out with no hassle about resizing or formatting. I used my HP Card and Invitation Kit to print it out (on my HP printer which I use all the time because I have a HP ink subscription…seeing a pattern here?) and we slipped the invite into our holiday cards. Even though it was a casual meetup, it’s always fun to do “real” invitations so there’s something to post on the fridge and look forward to.
The actual party decorations were super easy this time. I pulled out our small pink Christmas tree from the kids’ room (already decorated with a lot of kitsch) and used a storebought tablecloth to liven up the table. For the background, I cut tree shapes out of patterned tissue paper to create a bright forest on the window behind the party. Fun fact: use a washable school glue stick to stick tissue paper to your windows and you can just peel the paper away and wipe the windows down with water when you’re done, no matter how long the decorations are up.
I was going to make a ton of cookies from the Betty Crocker vintage cookbooks but the first recipe turned out less than stellar so I decided classic sugar cookies were the way to go. As for food – the guest list was two Kindergarteners and a Preschooler so simple was the way to: crackers, vegetables, and rolled ham was plenty. I wanted to do fancier themed finger foods, but I’ll wait until the kids are a little less picky.
In addition to the snacks, I used the vintage lunch trays to make each kid a craft station. I added pipe cleaners and beads so they could string candy canes and divided up a craft kit so they could all make foam ornaments in vintage shapes. I also added a glue stick and a little glitter to give them more options. Their ornaments ended up being so lovely!
Overall, one of the easiest (if not THE easiest) holiday events I’ve ever hosted and we had a great time just relaxing and chatting. So nice to catch up with friends this time of year!
In addition to sending our guest home with a plate of cookies and her finished crafts, I used my HP Sprocket Photo Printer to print little photos from the party on special sticky-backed paper. It’s so funny how excited the kids get about “real” prints – makes you appreciate how trapped our photos are on our phones! The Sprocket is idiot-proof and prints out photos very quickly so it was a fun treat to sneak in at the end. Sidenote: this is a great holiday gift, especially for parents, older kids, and teens! You can check it out here.