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Archive for the ‘Parties’ Category

How to Have the Best Glow-in-the-Dark Party this Halloween

Friday, October 1st, 2021

glowing halloween decorations

Glow-in-the-dark parties are a fun way to celebrate a super spooky Halloween. With the right supplies, you can transform your home, garage, or backyard into a spooky monster revelry zone that your guests will absolutely love.

In fact, these parties are perfect for kids and adults alike.

Here are a few glow-in-the-dark party ideas to get you started.

Glow-in-the-Dark Decorations

Let’s start with the decorations. You can start with glow-in-the-dark balloons. You don’t have to stop there, though. Glow in the dark paint can help you transform your jack-o-lanterns into spooky sentinels. Add a few glow sticks to jars wrapped with a little masking tape, add some googly eyes, and you’ve got little mummies to turn into centerpieces.

Grab black plastic tablecloths and splatter them with glow paint, then add them to all of your tables.

To get the best results you’re going to want to block out all the light, so cover all your windows in black builders plastic. You can splatter those with glow paint, too! You’re also going to want to add LED black lights to ensure all your glowy items look their best.

glow in the dark bottles halloweenYou can find pre-made glow-in-the-dark decorations too. There are glowy party letters, glowy balloons, and other fluorescent and neon party supplies that can help you make your space look amazing. Use your imagination!

Glow-in-the-Dark Party Favors

You can create glow-in-the-dark confetti and place it into jars to create some awesome party favors that people love at just about any age. The same paint could be used to glow up small bags that can hold just about anything, from candy to tiny bottles of alcohol.

Glow Party Food

glow in the dark ghosts halloweenYou’d be amazed how many party foods you can make glow. Certain ingredients do it naturally, including tonic water, cooking oil, eggs, honey, olive oil, ketchup, pineapples, and milk.

Some foods also reflect black light, like marshmallows, white bread, pasta, rice, and chips.

Create food that incorporates any of these glow-up ingredients or use some of the ideas below.

Here are a few ideas:

Here’s one last trick: you can add liquid vitamin B2 to foods to add some additional glow!

Glow-in-the-Dark Party Ideas for Adults

You’ve already seen how just about any adult party cocktail can be given a glow-up.

glow in the dark facepaint halloween

Pump up the jams, make sure there’s plenty of space on the dance floor, and add some tiny liquor bottles to your glow-in-the-dark piñata, put plenty of food out and you should have the party atmosphere good to go.

Glow-in-the-Dark Face Paint

What would Halloween be without face paint? Get a black light makeup kit and get creative. Go spooky with ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, or skeleton features.

We’ve got all your glow-in-the-dark party supplies right here!

Here at Paper Plus, we keep all sorts of glow-in-the-dark party supplies in stock. Stop by and we’ll help you stock up for your Halloween party!

Celebrate Graduation 2021 with Graduation Balloons

Saturday, May 1st, 2021

berkeley school color graduation balloons red and yellow

The Covid-19 pandemic isn’t over yet, which means another round of graduates won’t be able to walk the stage with their peers. We don’t know exactly how schools will be handling their graduations this year–perhaps with a drive-thru celebration? We do know it won’t be what it was before, with hundreds of proud parents packed into a stadium, waiting to watch their child pass this important milestone.

As humans, we’re designed to celebrate accomplishments. While we can’t do it the way we want to, we can find ways to go all out for our graduates. The pandemic has robbed them of the ability to enjoy so many important milestones. Here are some ideas to help – hint, they include graduation balloons!

Graduation Balloon Bouquets

One easy way to help your grad celebrate is with graduation balloon delivery. Create a gorgeous bouquet in the school colors, and have some fun with them. For example, some balloons have latex grad caps on them. Why not spruce them up a little more with some tassels?

Sending a huge, grand, over-the-top balloon bouquet is a great way to show your grad that you care. Make sure it has some encouraging messages on it. Your grad needs all the warm well wishes they can get!

Zoom Graduation Balloons

If you are on Zoom you can have the balloons in the background!

The thing about a Zoom celebration is it has to feel like a real celebration. It can’t feel like a cop-out gathering. So decorate it like you’d decorate a real party.

To give a nod to the fact that you’re all online, why not take advantage of some emoji graduation balloons? They’ll be fun and funny and your teens, especially, will love them.

Go Nuts with Home and Yard Graduation Balloons and Decorations

graduate in cap and gownShout your grad’s accomplishments to the entire neighborhood by turning your entire front yard into a giant graduation tribute!

Go all out. Try a balloon arch and have a front yard graduation walk.

Go all out with graduation balloon decor all over the yard.

Personalize the front yard with crepe paper, window spray, and banners. Got yard signs from your school? Personalize those and attach some balloons in the school colors. Add balloons that offer a tribute to sports or hobbies so you can celebrate everything your graduate did.

Even people who drive by will know how awesome your graduate is!

Want to carry the message out to the whole world? Take a moment to decorate your car, too.

At a Socially Distanced Graduation Party

Some schools are doing socially distanced parties at convention centers. You can use balloon bouquets to help your party find you safely and with ease. As your customized graduation balloons rise high in the air it will be easy for the rest of your Covid pod to find you quickly and safely.

The balloons, of course, will also make your graduate feel appreciated while making the entire day feel festive and bright.

2022’s Graduates Will Have it Better

happy graduate in capWe won’t have to come up with creative ways to make our graduates feel special for much longer. By next year, graduation should be back to normal.

 

We have 40 different kinds of graduation balloons at Paper Plus, from kindergarten graduation balloons to PhD balloons. We’ve got all kinds of messages like: Congrats, you did it! Way to go, you rock! We’re so proud of you, Class of 2021! We also deliver; call the store to check availability. 

Goodie Bags for Kids

Monday, March 1st, 2021

goody bag favor small toys

Favor bags are a staple of most kid’s birthday parties. How can you put together a great one?

Find a Goody Bag Theme

star wars figurines for gift bagsUsually, the theme of your goody bag should match the theme of your party. In the past we’ve helped parents make some of the following:

  • Mickey Mouse Goody Bags
  • Baby Shark Goody Bags
  • Dinosaur Goody Bags
  • Paw Patrol Gift Bags
  • Mermaid Goodie Bags
  • Spiderman Goodie Bags
  • Pokemon Goodie Bags
  • Minecraft Goodie Bags
  • Unicorn Favor Bags
  • Moana Goodie Bags
  • Sesame Street Goodie Bags
  • Trolls Goodie Bags
  • Winnie the Pooh Gift Bags

You’re only limited by your imagination here! You can generally find small toys that fit almost any theme, as well as decorative bags that fit any theme.

Gather Gift Bag Supplies

fun pencil as favor bag ideasYou can put almost anything in a goody bag. Given a wide variety of health concerns, dietary preferences, and allergies you probably want to stay away from food-based bags. Many parents go overboard on the candy, but it’s not necessary.

Try puzzles, coloring books, game books, and small toys. You can include candy, but try to limit it to a few pieces.

Remember to limit the “goodies” by bag size. Overstuffing your bag will make it bulky, unattractive, and difficult to pretty up. Under-stocking your bag makes you seem like you’re giving out something dinky and cheap.

Make Them Beautiful

goody bags in green and blueThe easiest bags to use are usually craft bags with rope handles. They come in a ton of different sizes. The best ones have gusseted bottoms and pleated sides so they open up square. They come in dozens of colors, and some will be pre-themed for you.

Use stamps and glitter to add each child’s name. The more visually attractive and personalized the bag, the more kids will be excited to tear into them.

Fill in the bags with tissue paper so the kids can’t see what’s in them right away. You can find tissue paper in a variety of colors and designs, too!

Want to get a little fancier? Get cellophane, wrap everything up in it, and put a big ribbon on it.

Deliver Your Goody Bags

During the pandemic we’ve been telling our customers to offer “curbside gift bag delivery.” That is…we recommend driving out to each birthday guest’s house and dropping off the bags, then having all the kids open their bags at the virtual birthday party later.

It’s just an easy way to honor your child’s birthday while building some anticipation for the party to come.

Eventually, of course, you’ll be able to offer your goodie bags in person!

 

At Paper Plus, we have all the goody bag supplies you could possibly need. Stop by and see us today at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley or call us at 510-525-1799.

How to Throw a Unique Virtual Birthday Party for Kids

Monday, February 1st, 2021

happy birthday cupcakes with pink frosting

How do you make a virtual party fun? What do you even do at a virtual birthday party?

As the pandemic rages on, many parents are left to ask these questions. Fortunately, you can make a virtual party just as fun as an in-person party…as long as you’re willing to exercise a little creativity.

Virtual Party Ideas

Here are four ideas that are really popular with kids of all ages.

1. Tik Tok Challenge

Kids absolutely love TikTok. Why not combine their love of social media with their desire to celebrate a birthday? The idea is simple: the birthday kid assigns songs to the guests. They film a TikTok of them dancing and singing to it and send the link back to their friend.

At party time, everyone gets to share the videos and giggle over them!

2. Kid-Friendly Jackbox

Jackbox Games are some of the easiest party games to put together. Everyone uses their phone or computer to log in and play, and only the host needs to own the games.

Fair warning: on default mode, Jackbox games are not kid-friendly. But they do have a kid-friendly mode in the options. Games like Quiplash, Tee KO, Fibbage, Fakin’ It, Drawful, and more. These are meant to be virtual party games anyway, and they’re made for humor. Kids will be giggling their heads off in no time.

3. Teleparty

Teleparty used to be “Netflix Party,” but it’s an app you can add to your browser. Everyone watches the same movie and can comment together in the chat. You can also open a voice chat in a Zoom meeting or on Discord so that everyone can chat together.

For a virtual party, it’s best to pick a movie nobody is too invested in but is fun to watch. That way people can talk over the movie without ruining anyone’s experience.

4. Virtual Karaoke

You can use an app called Watch2Gether to assemble karaoke tracks. Then get everyone together to sing their hearts out. Make sure every guest gets a turn, and wrap up the evening with one big group sing.

Use the chat feature on Zoom so people can keep talking with one another while their friends perform!

“Virtual” Birthday Gift Bags

goody bags in green and blueSome things don’t travel well via the Internet. The experience of giving out gift bags still has to be a little bit hands-on.

Fortunately, if all your guests are local, at least, “curbside gift bag delivery” can be a thing. You just have to create a goody bag for each child and then go drop it off. Each child can dive into their goody bags at the party, so it’s more like everyone is celebrating together.

Setting Expectations for a Virtual Birthday Celebration

colorful cupcake with strawberry for virtual birthday partyIf you have a younger child it might be a good idea to talk through what a virtual party will be like. You can help set the tone by making it a fun, interesting, exciting challenge.

You should also aim for something a little shorter than a full-sized in-person party. People tend to get Zoom fatigue if they stay in the meeting for more than an hour, and if you haven’t paid more for Zoom you’re limited to 40 minutes as it is.

Still, you can ramp up the fun by setting up a staging area with decorations and balloons. Your kids will love it!

 

We have all the decoration and goody bag supplies you could possibly need here at Paper Plus. Stop by and see us today at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley or call us at 510-525-1799.

How to Host a Virtual Baby Shower

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

baby shower girl cookies and box

A virtual baby shower is the safest way to honor a new mom in the Covid world. Yet hosting a virtual baby shower requires delicacy if you don’t want people to think you’re tacky or putting out a thinly-veiled request for gifts.

Remember, the purpose of a baby shower is to celebrate a joyous occasion and a new life. You can do this no matter where you and the other guests are located, and you don’t have to let social distancing stop you from having a lovely time.

Virtual Baby Shower Invitations

baby shower spelled in blocksMake your guests feel special by starting with a pretty evite. Paperless Post has a number of invitations you can use. Yet sending a physical card can be a nice touch, reminding us that not every part of a virtual experience has to be low touch. After all, many of your guests might want to send gifts via snail mail.

Thank you notes should always be written on nice stationery and mailed via post. The flexibility that exists for invites doesn’t exist for thank yous.

Virtual Baby Shower Decorations

virtual baby shower balloon decorations 2You may wish to use a Zoom background to simulate a themed decoration or create a background of your own by choosing a nice location to decorate inside your home. You might invite each of your attendees to create their own festive in-theme decorations so they can feel like they’re doing something special.

The host might want to encourage the guests to dress up, too!

Virtual Baby Shower Games

The best shower games keep everyone engaged! You might try using Zoom whiteboard to host a Pictionary game. You can create your own cards to make all the answers baby-themed, or you can play a more traditional game.

Jackbox Games are insanely popular right now. Only one person needs to own the game to play, and 8 people can play a game at once. Others can join in as audience members. There are trivia games, snarky humor games, and more. You won’t get baby-themed games here, but you’ll get a fun time.

Baby themed Hangman is another thing that would be fun to play on Zoom whiteboards.

You can also invest in a virtual murder mystery.

Sure, some of these games really aren’t traditional for baby showers, but how much were you looking forward to having your guests guess your measurements, or to sitting down for a game of “dirty diapers?”

Gift-Opening Etiquette

virtual baby shower gift of tiny shoesThere are two schools of thought for how you should open your gifts at a virtual shower. The first says you should always open each of your gifts on camera, holding up each gift so everyone can see.

The other school of thought is that you can open your gifts privately, and leave the focus of the shower on spending time with the people who will be attending. This is probably the most sensitive and kindest way to go. You may have guests who are not financially able to send a gift.

One-on-One Baby Showers

The Chinese don’t schedule baby showers. They introduce the baby to family, friends, and members of the community on the 100th day after birth. You might choose to adopt a modified version of this tradition by scheduling one-on-one baby meetings

within your coronavirus “bubble,” or one-on-one 10-minute Zoom meetings to show off the baby and to catch up.

cute baby

This can take a lot of pressure off of everyone and make people feel included without committing you to a full-on virtual baby shower.

However you do it, don’t despair. There will be plenty of opportunities to get together in person after a vaccine becomes available, and your baby’s bonds with the people in your life won’t be any weaker because you used the Internet to celebrate your baby’s arrival.

Come on down to Paper Plus for all of your virtual baby shower supplies. And, learn how we’re keeping our employees and customers safe during Covid-19.

 

Don’t Let Covid-19 Cancel Your Wedding – Make It Small!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

bride and groom with masks on for covid

Covid-19 caution is warranted, but with a few adaptations, you should be able to enjoy your nuptials right on schedule. Opting for a small wedding ceremony and exercising a little creativity with your celebration can mean your friends and family get to celebrate with you without risking their health.

Think Small, Simple Wedding

You may even want to restrict your ceremony to the members of your “coronavirus bubble,” the few people who are observing the same sorts of precautions you are who you’ve decided to keep contact with.

This might mean your minister, your parents, and one or two witnesses. These tiny weddings have gotten fashionable of late anyway, simply because they are a lot less stressful than their 200-guest counterparts.

Opt for an Outdoor Ceremony

bride and groom beach small wedding during covidIf you can’t stand the thought of leaving anyone out then it’s a good idea to opt for a small, outdoor wedding. You have room to invite a few more people because there’s more room for social distancing and the chances of infection are a lot smaller outside.

Obviously every guest should be expected to wear a mask per the state guidelines and should be respectful enough to do so.

Can’t find a venue so close to your original date? This would be the perfect time for a small backyard wedding.

Wear Fashionable Wedding Masks

Wedding designers reacted quickly when the coronavirus crisis hit. Now there are plenty of places where you can buy gorgeous wedding masks. You can even get them custom-designed for the couple and the members of the wedding party.

After all, everyone will need to get masked up, including you and your partner!

Take advantage of this to express yourself. Wedding masks can give your attire a mysterious appeal, which means wearing them can be fun and interesting as well as necessary.

Adopt Some Virtual Wedding Traditions

outdoor small wedding during covidThere will be some family members, friends, and loved ones who just won’t be able to attend, no matter how many precautions you take. Some won’t want to travel. Others will be immunocompromised.

You can still make them a part of your ceremony. Tell them if they’d like to be included they are welcome to dress up and create a video clip saying congratulations to the couple. Give them the option to add a few words of wisdom or well-wishes.

Compile a big wedding video and include the clips, then send them out to everyone you would have invited prior to covid-19. You’ll create a beautiful memento that you’ll cherish in the years to come.

Embrace the Benefits

bride-and-groom-elopement-cupcakesWhile it might be disappointing to switch over to a small, intimate wedding, or a small wedding reception, there are benefits. Pre-covid, most weddings cost over $25,000. That’s more than enough to put a down payment on a house or to indulge in an epic honeymoon when things are just a little bit safer.

Remember, the wedding is just the first chapter. The marriage is the rest of your life. Celebrate your love and the time you have together! Ultimately, that’s what’s really important.

Come on down to Paper Plus for your wedding supplies! Read about how we’re keeping our employees and customers safe during Covid-19.

How to Celebrate Your Birthday While Social Distancing

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

two handfuls rainbow sprinkles

Though the Berkeley area is gradually reopening, social distancing as much as possible will remain a smart idea until a COVID-19 vaccine is found and is widely available. This can be a bummer for those who have to stay at home on their birthday. It can be especially rough on kids in quarantine.

COVID-19 is forcing all of us to get creative. Fortunately, creativity is the key to launching an amazing socially distanced birthday party! Here are six ideas to get you started.

1. Launch a Socially-Distanced Birthday Parade

You’ll need to recruit family, friends, and neighbors to support your loved one on their birthday. Have them decorate their cars with streamers, happy birthday posters, and whatever else their creativity can come up with.

Then ask them to drive by the house. Have each person bring one balloon, and you’ll have one big birthday bunch at the end.

This idea is especially great because it gets to the heart of what a birthday celebration is all about: showing someone that they’re loved! It doesn’t take a huge party to accomplish that, and the effort it takes to organize and turn out for a parade does such a great job of communicating the sentiment while making the recipient feel special.

2. Go Big on Yard Decorations

backyard birthday celebration chocolate cakeIf you’ve got a yard then put it to use! Go big with large-letter signs, posters, balloons, and more.

You don’t have to be the sole source of these decorations. Ask friends and loved ones to stop by and add giant cards to the mix. Your birthday person can read the cards when it’s time to return the yard to normal.

Going big can be hilarious and can make your loved one feel extra special.

And how about a night of backyard camping?

3. Get a Cameo

Does your loved one have a favorite celebrity? If so, they might be on Cameo.com, especially right now. This site accommodates everyone from Instagram influencers to Clark Gregg, who plays Agent Phil Coulson in ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD.”

You’ll find celebrity chefs, reality show stars, rock stars, and baby animals all waiting to make a video, especially for your loved one.

Each star sets their own cost. When the video is done you get a link, which means you can send it to them by email, text, or via your favorite messenger program. For the true fan being personally recognized for a short video can be an absolutely thrilling experience, and may entirely make up for being stuck at home.

4. Party By Mail

birthday cardsThis is an especially effective celebration for family and friend groups who are scattered across the country, especially if video chats aren’t an option. Pick out one thing your loved one really enjoys: bears, frogs, teacups, unicorns, whatever.

Then, use social media or email to recruit as many people as possible into sending pictures, cards, and small tokens on this theme. These don’t have to be expensive! A teddy bear picture or construction-paper cut out can be just as meaningful as an actual teddy bear.

Try to arrange this all about a month before the birthday so the mail will all come in at once.

This is especially lovely for younger children, who are often absolutely enamored with the idea of receiving any kind of mail.

5. Participate in a Global Scavenger Hunt

small white dog outside with birthday hatIf you haven’t heard of GISH yet, now might be a great time to check it out. GISH stands for the “Greatest International Global Scavenger Hunt.” Usually, GISH takes place for one week every year and inspires people to do things like create giant replicas of board games or to do silly things in costume out in public, all while earning money for the charity Random Acts, which has gone on to do a huge amount of good all over the world.

Right now GISH is hosting 24-hour quarantine “hunts” at home, and each scavenger hunt item is designed to be do-able at home. Some involve Zoom chats, others involve making art, and still, others involve making funny videos. At the moment, all funds are going to keeping kids fed during the COVID-19 crisis.

If your birthday person’s special day happens to fall on or near the next hunt, you could form a team of family or friends and spend the day competing to finish as many items as possible. It’s a great way to bring everybody together while making a difference…and yes, younger kids can participate too!

6. Host a Virtual Party

virtual birthday via zoom showing two dogs on zoomVideo chats have become the coronavirus go-to for social interactions of every kind. How can you turn it into a party?

One way is to get everyone to dress up. Have a princess party, space party, or zombie party by having everyone dress up. Host some good video-chat party games like charades or Pictionary. Or just get together, have some good food, and chat.

If you need a little more structure you might try a karaoke party. If you have Discord or another streaming platform you can share party games like the ones put out by Jackbox Games.

The Netflix Party app is another awesome option, allowing your family and friends to watch a movie together while commenting in a shared chat.

Plan, Get Supplies, Go Nuts

child celebrating quarantine birthday with cakeThe specifics of what you do don’t really matter. What matters is showing your love for each other on your birthday, spending time together, and having some fun. Think outside the box, gather some art or party supplies, and try not to let your disappointment over not having “normal” birthday activities bring down the mood.

Still, don’t forget to order some ice cream and cake via delivery. We don’t want to throw all the traditions out the window just because this virus might be around for a while, and cake is sacrosanct.

Come on by!

Starting May 9th, 2020, Paper Plus is offering all your party supplies, as well as some essential items, in a properly socially-distanced environment. Grab your mask and visit our store to stock up on all your birthday needs. We are located at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley, CA. Question? Give us a call at 510-525-1799.

Throw the Perfect Birthday Party with These Unicorn Party Supplies

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

 

unicorn cake with horn white pink

Unicorns are gaining popularity in the tiny worlds of little munchkins. While unicorns have been associated with fairy tales in the past, they are currently holding their own in the minds of imaginative children. Take a look around the next time you are out and about and it’ll be hard not to notice a sparkly and colorful unicorn adorning children’s t-shirts, hats, and even shoes. They’re so popular now, that unicorn birthday parties have become a favorite for little ones.

Looking for unicorn party ideas? We’ve put together this list of unicorn party favors, activities, decorations, and unicorn party supplies so that you can host a unicorn themed party like a pro.

Unicorn Party Activities

sparkling rainbow unicornPin the Tail on the Donkey? Nope! Pin the Horn on the Unicorn!!

Remember the old Pin the Tail on the Donkey that we used to play as kids? Well, donkey has spruced himself up a bit! Pin the Horn on the Unicorn is fun, popular, and guaranteed to create giggles and laughter. This is a favorite unicorn party supply you don’t want to leave out!

Make Your Own Unicorn Horn

When it’s time to settle the kids a bit, take out the craft supplies and lead the party goers in a unicorn-themed activity where they get to create their own unicorn headband, complete with a horn! Cotton candy cones are the perfect shape for DIY unicorn horns. Grab some paper for strips that the kids can wrap around their heads. Lay out some craft unicorn party supplies, like unicorn stickers, paint supplies, markers, glitter, and glue, and let the children get creative. There are all types of unicorn stickers and supplies that kids will love placing on their own, personal unicorn headband.

cat with unicorn horn and doughnutPlay Unicorn Dress Up

After the kids have made their unicorn-horn headbands, offer up a box of sparkly dress-up items like tutus, unicorn t-shirts, and fun silk scarves. Don’t forget a wand to make the magic complete! A rainbow wand will make the kiddos feel like they are playing in a true unicorn haven.

Make Your Own Unicorn Backdrop

Make your venue look like a fairy tale with a unicorn backdrop. A day or two before the party, you and your kids can work together using glitter, paint, markers, and stickers to color in grassy hills, pink clouds, and colorful rainbows. Hang the unicorn backdrop on the wall for pictures and let the kids’ imaginations run wild. For even more unicorn fun, give the kids glitter or rainbow markers, and have them sign the backdrop with birthday wishes!

Unicorn Party Favors

Create a unicorn goody-bag for the children to take home with unicorn party favors. In addition to a variety of unicorn stickers, unicorn tattoos will complete any good bag! Kids love wearing fake unicorn tattoos to school and to the playground to show their friends.

Want to go big? Other animals rock the unicorn horn too! Add a stuffed rabbit or llama for the most talked-about goody bag of the year! Pick up unicorn sunglasses and candles, and your party favor bag is complete.

unicorn party supplies and cake with rainbowUnicorn Party Decorations

Give your child the best unicorn party ever with the perfect unicorn decorations. Hang up a unicorn happy birthday banner along with multiple unicorn balloons. Kids love balloons that are in the shape of unicorn heads. Think of getting balloons in super bright colors like pink, purple, yellow, green, blue, orange, and rainbow.

Get into the magic by making a colorful unicorn balloon arch. It’s the perfect addition to a unicorn party where kids can take pictures or walk through as they pretend it’s a magical portal to a unicorn fairyland. Make sure and grab streamers in multiple colors to give your venue that unicorn sparkle. And don’t forget the unicorn cake, glitter cupcakes, and rainbow ice cream as a special cherry on top for the perfect unicorn party.

We carry everything you need to create magic at your next unicorn birthday party. Come on by Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley, or give us a call at 510-525-1799.

How to Create Incredible Kwanzaa Decorations

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

kwanzaa-candles-and-table-decorations

Kwanzaa decorations aren’t easy to find. Despite the fact that it’s been celebrated since 1966, few companies make or sell them. Those that do have been selling the same patterns for over 25 years.

In fact, many people only know the holiday in passing.

What is Kwanzaa?

The name comes from a Swahili phrase: “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits.”

Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday. Though it’s celebrated from December 26 to January 1st, it is a harvest festival. It is not a replacement for Christmas.

Some people assume the holiday draws from many different religious traditions, but this isn’t quite the case. The holiday is cultural, not religious. Much of this confusion arises from the presence of the Kwanzaa candelabra known as the kinura in the traditional celebration. The kinura resembles a menorah, but they are not the same.

Kwanzaa is meant to be available and accessible to black people of any religious faith. It is a celebration of the rich history and culture found in so many forms throughout black societies around the world.

Who Celebrates Kwanzaa?

18 million people of African descent celebrate Kwanzaa worldwide. But people of all racial backgrounds are often welcomed to the celebration.

Those who do not share any recent African heritage (all human life made its first appearance in Africa) should approach any celebrations with respect, just as a Christian might when invited to attend a Hanukkah celebration.

In America, only about 35% of the black population currently celebrates the holiday. Many of our readers will celebrate the holiday for the first time this year!

How to Decorate for Kwanzaa

Every good celebration starts with great decorations.

The Seven Days of Kwanzaa

Each day of Kwanzaa has its own symbolic meaning.

● December 26th – Umoja – Unity
● December 27th – Kujichagulia – Self-Determination
● December 28th – Ujima – Collective Work & Responsibility
● December 29th – Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics
● December 30th – Nia – Purpose
● December 31st – Kuumba – Creativity
● December 1st – Imani – Faith

The meanings of these 7 Kwanzaa principles each weave in and out of traditional decorations.

Kwanzaa Decorations

Mekeka

First, you need mekeka. These are woven placemats symbolizing the family. These are typically green, red, yellow, and black. Though they would traditionally be woven out of straw, creating them out of construction paper is among the popular Kwanzaa activities for kids.

Kinura

kwanzaa-candlesNext, you’ll need the kinura, which is the candle holder itself. This represents the parents. If you’re handy you can find nearly everything you need to make your own down at the hardware store.

Candles

The Kwanzaa candles are the next traditional decoration. You’ll need three red ones to signify struggle, three green ones to signify the future, and one black one to signify the African people.

Unity Cup

The “unity cup” is next. These can be made of wood, but you can also make yours with a colorful plastic party glass wound round with festive beads, affixed to the goblet with hot glue. You’re not bound by the three traditional Kwanzaa colors here: the cup is used to pour libations in memory of deceased loved ones or ancestors. Thus, you could use any colors that remind you of these individuals. The glass itself should be in one of the three traditional colors if it is not made out of wood.

Vibunzi

Next up is the vibunzi. This is an ear of corn meant to signify each child. Using colorful decorative corn is one option. Another is to make festive corn husk vases for each child. Use hot glue to affix a corn husk to a short glass, a little wood stain to give the husks a nice color, and colorful braided yarn to add visual interest. You can wrap strands of yarn at the top and bottom, or around the middle. Affix the yarn with your glue gun, then add festive flowers.

Mazao

The mazao is next: a bowl of your freshest fruits and vegetables to symbolize the harvest.

Zawadi

Finally, the zawadi: gifts for each child. This is another Kwanzaa tradition which causes some people a lot of confusion, as it might look a lot like a Christmas or Hanukkah tradition. But Kwanzaa gifts aren’t meant to be games or toys. They usually consist of a book and a symbol of cultural heritage.

“Choose the Best and Most Beautiful”

The Official Kwanzaa Website offers guidance on how to celebrate Kwanzaa. One of the principles is that celebrants should not mix the symbols or decorations with those that come from any other culture. They may draw from other religions, but should be African in execution.

The other is that celebrants should choose the best and most beautiful decorations they can find or create.

Other Ideas for Your Kwanzaa Celebration

Many celebrants choose to give each other Kwanzaa cards. As with the decorations, there are very few pre-printed or pre-made options.

Thus, it’s a great time of year to get creative! You can create your own cards. Use heavy card stock, markers, or other creative touches to send well wishes that are entirely your own.

You can also make some of your zawadi. For example, the cultural heritage symbol could be a handmade string of colorful beads, or a small African drum.

Here at Paper Plus, we do have plenty of materials that can help you make all the decorations, cards, and gifts mentioned in this article. Stop by at 1629 San Pablo in Berkeley, CA and ask what we’ve got in stock right now!

We can help you make your Kwanzaa celebration truly special this year.

How to DIY Your Elopement Party

Friday, November 1st, 2019

 bride-and-groom-elopement-cupcakes

Once upon a time, couples who wanted to elope would skip town, the elopement party, and just head to a courthouse, sometimes across state lines. Elopement usually happened when the families disapproved.

But today it means something else entirely. “Elopement” has come to describe small, cozy weddings with a handful of cherished guests, either close to home or destination. These weddings and elopement parties can often be thrown for a fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding with hundreds of guests. They’re also a relatively low-stress, low-key option.

Elopement allows you to create an intimate, meaningful wedding. And when you DIY as much of it as possible, you don’t just save money. You put your heart and soul into creating something that’s truly unique. Here’s everything you need to become your own elopement planner.

Elopement Ceremony and Elopement Party Checklist

Here are all the things you’ll have to think about when planning your elopement.

Elopement Venues

couple-eloping-ring-ceremony.Choosing a venue is about more than finding a pretty location and booking it. It requires a lot of advance planning, as well as an awareness of the local laws governing marriages.

You’re likely actually going to choose two venues here. Many couples will still choose a courthouse to get married in, before moving everyone to a gorgeous location for the reception. If that’s what you’re doing, we’ve got you covered!

When choosing your venue, consider:

● Whether you’ll need a separate appointment for your marriage license.
● Whether the courthouse requires you to book ahead or allows walk-ins. Booking may be better, as you don’t want to get your guests to the courthouse only to force them to wait on someone else’s wedding!
● Whether the courthouse allows you to book.
● Whether the courthouse allows you to offer your own vows.
● Triple check the laws if you’re eloping in another country.

Do some calling around. For the most part, you’re going to want to book early. Choose your top reception locations, and then call courthouses near those venues. Call each reception location to make sure it’s available too. If you find matching times for the reception and courthouse, you’ve won!

If you absolutely can’t book both locations for the same day, and are adamant about having your wedding in a specific spot, then give the reception area preference. Some couples don’t invite anyone but witnesses to the courthouse and instead invite everyone to the reception.

couple-eloping-holding-hands.If that’s you, then you can get legally married a week or two before the reception. Your announcements and invites would then say that you got married, where, and when, with a warm invitation to attend the upcoming elopement party.

Some people choose to hold the reception closer to home, opting to get married in a city by themselves with no guests, enjoy their honeymoon, and then come home for the elopement party. This could save many of your guests a fortune in travel costs.

Elopement Attire

You’ll want to talk to your partner about how you’re going to dress for the ceremony, and for the reception. You don’t have to go crazy with color coordination, but you’ll want to match your level of formality.

For example, many eloping brides prefer white dresses with simple, clean lines, formal enough for work or any party but available at any department store. This prevents you from having to purchase or rent an elaborate wedding dress. If you take that route, then the groom might want to wear a simple suit instead of a tux. Slacks, a vest, and a crisp shirt are a good choice too. These items play well at the reception, too.

You might both want to at least visit a local tailor to make sure the fit is spot-on. This is still your day!

Elopement Announcements and Invitations

This is one of the areas where you can get truly creative by making your own announcements and invitations. Here are some elopement announcement ideas.

For a Formal Elopement Party

Get heavy card stock and a calligraphy kit to write out each invitation or announcement by hand.

For a Less Formal Elopement Party

For weddings where you didn’t invite any guests at all, send a “Reception Only!” card. Write the words right at the top in big, bold letters, and then add the details in smaller ones. Gel pens on heavy card stock will produce outstanding results.

For a Backyard Elopement Party

Have a little fun with stencils to put on-theme decorations on your invitation. You don’t even have to use the word “reception.” You can call it an “I Do BBQ” or a “Happily Ever After Party.”

Don’t Forget

Announcing your elopement comes with its own etiquette. Those who will be attending you at the courthouse are your witnesses. Keep in mind your chosen city may require them! You should plan on having fewer than a dozen witnesses, even if you plan to invite a slightly larger group of people to your post-elopement party.

Announcements may be mailed to anyone who didn’t attend the elopement after you’re hitched.

Invitations, either to the elopement or the elopement party, can be mailed before.

It’s a good idea to send “save the date” cards to anyone you want on site, too.

Elopement Reception Planning

There are some truly unique elopement places out there. Some venues have begun specializing in this sort of wedding, and even have some of the best elopement packages you could possibly ask for. Choose the right venue, and details like flowers, food, music, and even a photographer can already be all lined up and done for you.

If the venue doesn’t offer an elopement package then you will want to make sure your DIY elopement reception has the following:

  • Someone to take pictures. It can be your uncle or your bestie if you don’t want to hire a photographer. Print photos and purchase a scrapbook or photo album so you always remember your special day!
  • A way to play music. An mp3 player and good Bluetooth speakers with a solid Google Play or Spotify playlist work just fine.
  • Food! You can’t neglect the food. Fortunately, catering for twenty people or less is a lot less expensive than catering for over 100. You might want to contact a few caterers in the local area and arrange a tasting if you can. If you’re having your party in your own back yard you can, of course, just make your own.
  • Don’t forget glasses, plates, and flatware. Use tasteful disposables for a minimum of fuss.
    Wedding cake is totally optional, but most couples want one. Elopement cakes are usually single tiered cakes with some tasteful but beautiful low-key decoration. If you want something a little less formal and a little more fun, you could also have the bride and groom’s cupcakes arranged in tiers and towers.
  • Flowers are also optional, but if you want a bouquet to throw you’ll need to think about this. Many online flower shops deliver wedding bouquets right to your doorstep and don’t require a lot of notice.
  • Balloons!  Balloons make even the most casual event special.
  • You might want to consider other supplies like chairs and tables.

Here at Paper Plus at 1629 San Pablo Ave in Berkeley, we offer all the supplies you’ll need, including chair rentals, card stock for invitations, and more. Stop by and ask how we can help you make your elopement a memorable and beautiful event.

After you’ve acquired or scheduled everything you’re going to need, take a breath and relax!

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