Sparkle & Shine: Make Your Holiday Party Merry and Bright

Great party foods; stylish party tips; and clothes for a fabulous family look.

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Sparkle & Shine: Tink's Christmas Slipper Cookies

Inspired by Tinker Bell's slipper-style shoes, and in honor of the Christmas holiday, these cookie slippers come in green and red. And, for a little extra holiday sparkle, they're topped with a festive sprinkling of tinted pixie dust. Get the recipe!

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Sparkle & Shine: All Dressed Up

Explore festive dresses and stylish skirts for your little ladies. Shop sweet spotted skirts.

Provided by Target

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Sparkle & Shine: Little Gents

Turn your boys into little gentlemen this season with vests, ties, sweaters and more. Shop bold little bow ties.

Provided by Target

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Sparkle & Shine: You Are Cordially Invited

A party just isn't a party without the guests. Sending out an invitation - whether via e-mail or snail mail - can give your event that personal touch (and your guests can put it up on their refrigerator so they don't forget the date). You can make, buy or create an invite that reflects the theme of your party: Having a Winter Wonderland? Be sure to add snowflakes and glitter. Planning to have guests help build a gingerbread house? Why not add one to the invitation? Since there are a lot of events around the holidays, make sure to give your guests enough advance notice about your party - and set a firm R.S.V.P. date so you have enough time to prepare.

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Sparkle & Shine: Jelly Bean Christmas Tree

With jelly beans and plastic pastry decorating bags, your kids can assemble these quick and easy Christmas trees for party favors or Secret Santa presents. Get the recipe!

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Sparkle & Shine: Deck the Halls

You don't have to overdo your holiday decor, but you want guests to know it's party time! Try a few of these touches to make the event special:

  • Add sprigs of holly to your mantel;
  • Sprinkle some glitter in the middle of your table;
  • Dim the lights and use candles where you can, minding safety, of course;
  • Think about other traditional touches, and where you can put them. Beautiful symbols of the season include 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.

Feeling extra-ambitious? Make one of these 40 Christmas Crafts!

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Sparkle & Shine: Christmas Package Cheese Snack

This savory Christmas Package Cheese Snack is pretty as can be but it's actually a cinch to make. Get the recipe!

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Sparkle & Shine: Take Great Photos!

There's no better time to get a great family photo than when everyone's wearing their holiday best. To take great shots of the whole gang, find a festive, but uncluttered, area to have your models "pose." But don't put away the camera too early. Make sure to play photojournalist and get candid shots throughout the evening -- and hand the camera off to another shutterbug to ensure you make it into some shots, too!

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Sparkle & Shine: Scent-sational Scents

The ultimate party isn't just about what your guests see and hear - it's also about what they smell. The holidays season offers so many delightful scents that will help set the mood for your party. Want to bring the outdoors indoors? Try Pine. Want to make guests think you've been baking all day? There are fragrances available in Vanilla, Gingerbread, Cranberry, Pumpkin and Apple. And don't forget the candy canes—Mint is a soothing scent that will put your guests in a good mood.

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Sparkle & Shine: Sounds of the Season

There's nothing like the music of the holidays to liven up a party. Whether you are into the Christmas classics, like Andy Williams or Nat King Cole, or newer singers, like Mariah Carey and Josh Groban, setting the right "tone" for your party can make all the difference. Make you own mix of songs (or pick up a CD) and encourage your guests to sing along. Or maybe play a game of Christmas "Name That Tune" and have a prize for the winner. Either way, the sounds of the season can be the perfect party accesory.

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Sparkle & Shine: Mini Bagel Wreaths

Forget the front door. These bite-size Mini Bagel Wreaths -- whimsical enough to appeal to the smallest (and finickiest) guests -- are meant to deck your plate (although they're unlikely to stay there for very long).

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Sparkle & Shine: Be Seen!

Make sure your guests know where to find the party! You don't have to cover every inch of your house in Christmas lights, but make sure to shine a light on your porch, and tack a wreath or festive decoration to the door.

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Sparkle & Shine: Mickey & Minnie Peppermint Swirl Cookies

Q: How many times can you say, "Have a merry, minty, Mickey-and-Minnie Christmas!"?
A: By the dozen. With this festive cookie recipe, your family can serve up sweet holiday greetings in true Magic Kingdom style. Get the recipe!

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Sparkle & Shine: Keep Your Sparkle

A busy host or hostess is worried about a lot of things before a party. Getting your clothes dirty shouldn't be one of them. Waiting until close to party start time to get dressed is not always an option, so there are a few ways to keep clean and set up a fabulous party. Putting your favorite robe on over you clothes is always a great way to keep other things off of it, just make sure it covers most of you. The always-in-style apron is not only a clothes protector, but a great way to tell everyone how hard you worked (without saying a thing).

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Sparkle & Shine: Gingerbread Lantern

You and your family can shed new light on a holiday baking tradition with this elegant gingerbread lantern. Get the recipe!

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Sparkle & Shine: Keep the Kids Sparkling, Too

As much as you worry about your own attrire—keeping the kids from turning their party clothes into play clothes isn't easy. If you don't have time to change them at the last minute...go to a time-honored solution: The smock. Grab an oversized button-down shirt and have the kids put it over their party clothes. Now they can help you get ready, or play while the guests arrive, and you don't have to wonder what happens if they'll lose a battle with the powdered sugar.

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Sparkle & Shine: Sandwich Tree

These festive, edible Wrap 'n' Stack Sandwich Tree isn't just great for guests to nosh on: It easily subs in as the center of your holiday table.

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Sparkle & Shine: Festive Films

Nothing can get you in the holly-jolly holiday spirit quite like one of your favorite festive flicks. Add a few of these classics to your DVD collection and feature a few while you and the kids prepare for the party. (Prep and Landing is particularly popular with elves-in-training.) Then, keep the magic moments coming by having a few of these movies playing in the background during your party. See the whole collection!

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Sparkle & Shine: Let Kids Help

Sure, it's not hard to get kids excited about a Christmas party. But giving them special duties will keep them engaged. Before the party, give kids tasks like making place cards and setting the table. During the event, appoint kids as "elves," to hand out gifts for opening and collect discarded wrapping paper as the evening goes on.

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Sparkle & Shine: Holiday Cucumber Cups

These peeled cucumber cups, with their holiday color scheme, look wonderfully festive, plus they're a snap to make. The rounds provide the perfect base for all manner of tasty fillings. Flavored hummus works well, as do other savory dips. Get the recipe!

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Sparkle & Shine: Set Your Table

Whether you're going fancy or casual, your table has to be a beauty. Choose a color scheme or theme, and find napkins, tableclothes and accents to match. (Even if you're bringing out your good dishes, a few new elements can make all the difference.) Make sure to keep centerpieces low enough to invite conversation around the table, and if you set a separate table for younger guests, fun up their surroundings so the kids' table seems like a special place to be.

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Sparkle & Shine: White Hot Chocolate

A dash of pudding mix turns a winter favorite into an extra-special treat. Get the recipe!

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Sparkle & Shine: Share Your Snapshots!

After the party, make sure to send the best photos to your guests. You can upload digital files to an online photo-sharing site, and send an email recap of the night's best moments. Or, print photos to include with hand-written thank-you cards.

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Sparkle & Shine: Santa Hats

These crispy confections are brimming with kid appeal, and they're easy to make by the trayful for holiday parties. Get the recipe!

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Sparkle & Shine: Thank You!

When the party ends, there is no reason the fun has to. Just like the invitation, the thank you note should be on stationery or an e-card that works with the theme of your party. Try to send it out soon after the party, otherwise it will go into your “maybe next year” pile. Take one of the photos from our “Share Your Snapshots” tip and send it to your guests.  Thanking your guests for coming is very stylish—and doing it in a unique way will leave people remembering your party for years to come.

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