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Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

How to Throw a Goodbye Party

Friday, December 1st, 2023

people hugging at goodbye partySaying goodbye is never easy.

But when your friend is moving away—whether to pursue a new job, attend a new school, move in with a spouse, or retire—it can be a great way to keep ties strong while kicking off the old chapter. It allows you and the rest of that person’s “people” to assure the departing friend that there are no hard feelings and that you’re excited about their next adventure.

You can also throw one if you’re the person leaving! If you’re throwing the party, it’s a great way to show the people in your life that you won’t forget them when you’re miles away.

Exchange Photos

photos piled up on mapPutting together a photo exchange can be a great way to celebrate memories. One way to do it is to ask each person to bring out printed copies of their favorite photos. Give out small albums as party favors and let the guests fill their books with pictures while encouraging them to reminisce.

You can do this even if everyone you know rocks a cell phone camera these days. Various online photo printing services will transform digital photographs into professional prints.

Create a Video Montage

You could also gather digital photos and edit them into a video set to music to create a fun video montage.

Or you could take a montage right at the party, interviewing each person and asking them what they’ll miss most about having the guest of honor around.

You can cut the responses into a video and send it to the guest of honor after the party.

Create a Giveaway

woman standing with moving boxesIf the guest of honor has a lot of (nice) leftover stuff that won’t be going on the move with them, then you can use that stuff in the service of your party.

You could create a giveaway, raffle off the items, or use them as party game prizes. You could create a small charity auction for the items (for small amounts only). The guest of honor picks the charity the proceeds will go to.

Or just create a “take it if you need it” table so people can choose items without feeling obligated to walk away with anything.

Don’t Skimp on the Decorations and Food

people around table eatingAt its heart, a going away party is still a party, so ensure you have good food and festive decorations.

You could even create a theme around the guest of honor’s intended destination. Have they been transferred to NYC? Create a Big Apple theme with balloons that spell out NYC and wall decor around famous NY landmarks.

Are they off to an exotic country? Serve food from that region and choose decorations that evoke it. That way, at least in part, everyone at the party can accompany the guest of honor to their new destination, at least for a night.

Commit to the Relationship

balloon decorationsBeing a long-distance family member or friend can be difficult. A person whom you might have interacted with every single day is now far away. Yet with a lot of effort, you can keep that relationship strong.

Consider taking it beyond Facebook with scheduled phone calls, Facetimes, Discord chats, or even an old-fashioned letter-writing campaign. Don’t forget to put together a care package or two.

Find ways to visit—don’t just insist your loved one always be the one to come “home.” Do your best to find new ways to be in this person’s life.

They’ll appreciate that effort even more than they’ll appreciate their awesome going away party!

How to Host a Book Club

Sunday, October 1st, 2023

lots of books spread outIn today’s world, it takes real effort to get beyond a screen and connect with people. Creating a book club can be a great way to do just that.

You give yourself permission to stop, pause, and take time to read (or listen to!) a great book. And you schedule time with others who share some of your interests at least once a month. What could be better?

Here are a few tips to help you get started.

1. Choose a Theme

Choosing a focused theme for your book club can help attract people you have more in common with. For example, you’re likely to make better friends if you specify that you’re running a mystery or science fiction book club than you would be running a more general one.

Plus, you make it more likely that your participants will read the book. If over half of them aren’t interested in what the others are proposing, getting people engaged or even getting them to meetings will be difficult.

P.S. — Listening to an audiobook counts as reading the book. We’re all tired, and not everyone absorbs information the same way. Let your members absorb the book in any way that’s meaningful for them.

2. Choose a Low-Key Time

people reading togetherBe mindful of the times that could cause problems.

Choosing a restaurant dinner once a month with everyone either picking up their check or rotating through who pays is one option.

An afternoon and weekend slot at someone’s home can be more casual and budget-friendly.  You can rotate between homes, set up a tea or coffee service, and perhaps put together some sort of neat snack or dessert offering.

3. Do a Little Decorating

red white and blue flower decorationsBook club may be low-key, but you don’t have to skimp on the decorations. Doing a little decorating could spark interest and improve the sense of fun your members feel around your meetings.

For example, you could pick themes from the book to create a centerpiece or other decoration. Did the book involve lots of world travel? Print out maps to use as placemats. Did the book take place in Paris? Put out a few Eiffel Tower balloons.

4. Spark Conversation

You don’t have to keep book club ultra-serious. You can create some fun ways to spark conversation. For example, you could hide a topic or discussion point on paper, put it in a balloon, and let a guest pop the balloon to get the topic. Or you can get creative with paper to create a “mysterious envelope” or scroll that will sit under a guest’s placemat or chair. Create and give out bookmarks, and write discussion topics on the back of one of them. Let the person who finds the topic lead the discussion.

The sky is the limit, depending on the book.

Start Your Book Club Today 

rows of books for saleDon’t have a book club yet?

Advertise your book club at the library, on Nextdoor, and on Facebook. You only need two or three takers to get something going. Ideally, you’ll get a nice mix of new friends and old friends.

Some book clubs last decades. Use your imagination to create some traditions, and yours might, too!

How to Get Ready for Oakland Pride

Friday, September 1st, 2023

pride rainbow flag

Even though National Pride month is in June, pride is celebrated at all times of the year. And if you’ve been here long enough, you know that the Oakland Pride parade and festival is coming up on September 9 through the 10th at 20th Street and Broadway.

Both events are don’t-miss events, but there’s another component you’ll want to jump into. Some people host parties before or after the parade so they can have a close celebration with friends.

If you’re ready to host a pride party, read on: we’ve got loads of ideas to share.

Parade Prep 

lots of people at pride celebrationDon’t go to a pride parade looking plain! Grab some wearables such as rainbow hats, scarves, glasses, multicolored beads, vests, ties, suspenders, and socks. Express yourself with wigs, face paint, glitter, or sequins. Grab some big, fake eyelashes and get decked out.

You don’t have to restrict yourself to rainbows, either. Pride is all about expressing yourself. You can craft a unique look that’s true to you. Or you can pick one of the other pride flags expressing your identity and build a look around that, such as the baby blue, pink, and white transgender flag.


Keep everyone in the mood once it’s time to go home to the party. Deck out your home in multi-colored streamers and large pride flags. Choose party cups, plates, napkins, and balloons in all seven rainbow colors.

Add a little sparkle wherever you can. Glitter balloons in the seven colors of the rainbow are great for this. Mylar balloons spelling out “Happy Pride” keep the mood festive.


rainbow glitter

You should have a few favors at a pride party to make people comfortable. For example, pronoun pin buttons can give people a no-pressure way to share pronouns in a way that will make your trans and intersex guests feel welcomed and comfortable.

Handheld pride flags in all varieties make nice favors to take home or toy with. And you can add a few more strings of beads so guests can get that much more sparkly and fabulous when they arrive.


cupcakes with rainbow flagsA rainbow cake is a fine staple for a pride party, but don’t forget to mix up a couple of rainbow paradise cocktails. Offer some rainbow mocktails for those who don’t wish to drink.

Bring plenty of other food as well. To step it up to the next level of inclusiveness, consider labeling food by dietary preference, and try accommodating as many as possible. If you have a BBQ, add a few Beyond burgers.

Pride is all about loving people for who they are, right where they are. Addressing accessibility and inclusion in your food is part of that.

Any Day Can Be a Pride Day

Can’t throw a party in time for Oakland Pride? Don’t worry. You can use these ideas for a coming-out party or celebrate pride whenever you want. Members of the queer community and their friends can use a great reason for celebration and support 365 days a year, so bring your party spirit and get those invites out!

Craft Ideas for Mother’s Day

Saturday, April 1st, 2023

happy mothers day card with tea and macarons

Mother’s Day crafts are a time-honored gift tradition. Creating a homemade Mother’s Day gift is so much more meaningful than simply making some brunch reservations (though brunch is good too).

Despite a wealth of sites promoting Mother’s Day crafts for preschoolers, creating easy handmade gifts for Mom is appropriate at any age. Of course, you might want to take some time to plan ahead so that you get good results.

Individual Mother’s Day Crafts for Adults

You don’t have to be a DIY wizard to make great Mother’s Day gifts. Here are a few ideas.

Plant a succulent in a pretty jar or pot that you’ve painted yourself.

flower shaped frosted cookiesBake cookies shaped and frosted like flowers, then wrap them in a paper cone tied loosely with ribbons.

Create a paper gift box by applying paper to a small cardboard box and decorating it yourself. You can place small keepsakes and photos within the box.

Use stiff paper to make a pressed flower bookmark.

Use DIY kits to create your own soap or candles.

Use the colors, shapes, and scents you know she loves. Putting that touch of personalization into your Mother’s Day gift will really help set it apart.

Older children can use any of these ideas as well.

Family Gathering Craft Ideas

Family gathering craft activities can be a great way to celebrate with Mom, or to create a tradition your kids will love. Group projects are especially great when you have young children. You can either create these gifts together to present to Mom later, or you can include her in the activities on that day.

hand painted potted succulentIf you’re going to include Mom, make it something she’d enjoy doing with the kids. You could even include grandma as well, so you get an across-the-generations tradition. For example, everyone might enjoy sitting down to share painted sun catcher kits, or potting some plants together. Just make sure Mom isn’t doing the bulk of the work. You don’t want her “gift” to be more time doing the same sort of childcare she does every day!

One easy craft idea is to get everyone in the family to bring a picture of the last year and make a framed collage out of it that can be gifted to Mom. Young kids can glue on the pictures while parents handle the framing.

Make this Mother’s Day Special

Many families just toss Mom a flower, a card, and a cup of coffee, and then call it done.

You can turn Mother’s Day into an entire day where she receives a nice brunch, time with the family to do a craft, a small handcrafted gift from you, and then the chance to take a nap, hit the spa, or otherwise have time to herself. And balloons are always a good idea!

Want to make Father’s Day special too? We have ideas for that!

Paper Plus has plenty of supplies you can use to do any of these crafts! We have paper, paints, frames, and more. Stop by while you’re doing your Mother’s Day planning. You might just get more ideas! 

How to Celebrate Persian New Year

Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

painted eggs for persian new yearPersian New Year, also known as Iranian New Year, is celebrated on March 21 to 22. The holiday’s real name is Nowruz, which means “new day.”

Nowruz may be where Americans got the tradition of spring cleaning, as a deep clean of the home in the weeks leading up to the holiday is part of the traditional festivities. The holiday dates back 3,000 years, and was a Zororastrian holiday, which means it spread far beyond the boundaries of its native Iran.

How do I decorate for Nowruz?

Your haftsin table will be the centerpiece. It will hold a collection of seven items, each representing a different hope for the year ahead (see below).

You can also decorate with colored eggs, similar to the way you’d decorate for Easter. The associations are even similar: they symbolize productivity, creativity, rebirth, and spring.

Decorating with new flowers, fresh green plants, and light, springtime colors are all highly appropriate.

What goes on a Haftsin table?

haftsin tableThe Haftsin or haft-seen table is a collection of seven items that symbolize a different hope for the new year.

  • Sabzeh is a sprout or grass that will grow to symbolize rebirth or renewal. You should start the sprouts at least 10 days before the holiday. Three days after Nowruz, you’re supposed to toss it into a moving body of water.
  • Senjed is dried fruit for love.
  • Sib is apples for beauty and health.
  • Seer is garlic, for medicine and for taking care of yourself.
  • Samanu is a sweet pudding for wealth and fertility.
  • Serkeh is vinegar for patience and wisdom.
  • Sumac is for the sunrise of a new day.

You may hear these items referred to as the “seven S’s” of Nowruz.

Once those seven items are set you can decorate, customize, and add to the table as you see fit. Note that this table is set aside, it’s not the table where you eat your meal.

Celebrants take great pride in setting a gorgeous table. You can also add candles, eggs, and other decorations. A nice tablecloth will help to offset your table.

What are Persian New Year eggs?

The tradition of decorating eggs for Nowruz predates Christianity and may have been the origin of the tradition at the Easter holiday. You can decorate them just as you’d decorate Easter eggs, or you can go more elaborate by painting designs onto your eggs with nontoxic paint. Some even prefer using artificial eggs.

For more visual interest, you can branch away from chicken eggs so that you can offer eggs of different sizes. Egg-shaped candy is also appropriate!

Persian New Year Traditional Gifts

readying the haftsinIt is traditional to bring gifts when you are invited to a Nowruz celebration. Traditional gifts include flowers, sweets, and pastries.

When you bring gifts, presentation is a big deal! Use nice handmade paper or fancy ribbons. Create a beautiful flower arrangement or decorate the pot on a potted plant. Whatever you do, make it look nice.

It’s also traditional to give a little money to the children on this day.

Other Persian New Year Traditions

Cook lots of food! Try traditional Iranian foods, or choose dishes that center on greens and herbs to symbolize renewal.

Buy a new set of clothes for your Nowruz party. This is traditional too, and there’s nothing like having a great excuse to shop!

Paper Plus has plenty of items to help you with your Nowruz celebration, from egg coloring kits to brightly colored napkins and tablecloths. Stop by to see what’s in stock!

How to Celebrate International Women’s Day

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

International Women Day graphic with hugging women

International Women’s Day is a day that’s set aside to celebrate the accomplishments of women and to imagine a world where gender equality is the norm for every person. It’s also a lovely day to get together with the special women in your life!

While many mark this occasion with little more than social media posts and the occasional well wishes, we’ve got tips on how to throw yourself an International Women’s Day party, as well as a bit of information about the holiday itself.

Why do we celebrate Women’s Day on March 8?

On March 8, 1957, female textile workers marched to protest unfair working conditions and unequal rights for women. It was one of the first organized strikes by working women, and won workers many of the rights they enjoy today. International Women’s Day began as a day to commemorate this event.

In fact, you could say this day was the beginning of the feminist movement in America, and would go on to spark more collective action on behalf of women’s rights.

Why is International Women’s Day important?

International Women’s Day isn’t just an observance. Every year there’s a different theme, and that theme suggests real actions people can take to achieve gender equality, as well as climate change and other issues that concern women and the entire world.

Consider donating to women’s organizations on this day, or organizations which promote civil rights, positive action towards mitigating climate change, or worker’s rights.

What are the colors for International Women’s Day?

The colors are purple, green, and white.

Purple signifies justice and dignity for all people. It also can signify loyalty to a cause.

Green symbolizes hope.

White represents purity.

How do you celebrate International Women’s Day?

Host a party!

To launch a proper International Women’s Day party, decorate in purple, green, and white. Then, purchase food and other supplies from female-owned businesses.

You can create fun party trivia games revolving around women’s history to make it educational.

Don’t feel like hosting a party? Write cards to the women you admire in your own life. Choose elegant stationery so you can write a beautiful, decorative note.

Paper Plus is a woman-owned party store business that has plenty of paper, stationary, party decorations, and balloons in all the colors you’ll need to celebrate International Woman’s Day. Visit our store to stock up on all the items you’ll need.

How to Make DIY Chinese New Year Decorations

Sunday, January 1st, 2023

chinese new year red packets

You can DIY your lunar New Year decorations and make this fun occasion more festive than ever.

In fact, few other holidays lend themselves to the handmade approach quite so well as the Chinese New Year, simply because paper crafts are such a big part of the holiday to begin with, and paper is an easy medium to work with.

DIY Chinese New Year Decorations by Using Red Packets

Giving red envelopes full of money is a cherished Chinese New Year tradition.

If you plan to give money, you can simply slide a few dollars into red envelopes. You could also decorate them with stickers or calligraphy to jazz them up a little. Remember, if you give money you should give even amounts: odd amounts of money are considered very unlucky. The number four is also very unlucky.

If money is tight and isn’t an option, making red packets out of paper lets you offer warm wishes on stationary, or small gifts like candy, sticks of incense, or erasers. Candy is especially appropriate, as sweet food signifies a “sweet life.” Just avoid wrappers with unlucky colors such as black, white, or blue.

Origami Chinese New Year Decorations

family celebrating chinese new year

Grab some red, gold, and yellow paper and you can make fun origami animals or shapes. If you’re feeling ambitious you could even fold one into the year’s animal.

Flowers, fish, stars, and fans are also quite traditional.

If you’re holding a party, setting out sheets of red paper and instructions for children who want to try their own hand at a little origami can be a fun way to entertain the younger ones while the adults get caught up.

Chinese New Year Baskets

Fill a pretty basket with red tissue paper and tie it with a red bow, then add whatever you want.

Traditional basket gifts include oranges, cakes, chocolates, and candies. Fortune cookies are also appropriate, and you don’t have to stick to plain ones. They come in a variety of flavors and colors, and you can either make them yourself or order them.

Banana fortune cookies might be especially fun, as yellow is a lucky color and a bright pop of cheery yellow in a predominantly red basket could look quite incredible.

Chinese New Year DIY Lanterns

chinese new year red lantern

Red hanging lanterns are traditional, and you can make them out of red and gold paper. While they won’t light up, they’ll still look festive if you hang them all over your space. It’s not hard to find instructions for several good designs.

If you want light-up paper lanterns you’re better off purchasing those, and stringing them up according to the instructions.

It’s Easy to Make Your Own Chinese New Year Decorations

Just bring your creativity and your sense of fun. Your decorations don’t have to be perfect, and the very act of making them can bring you and anyone you invite to join you a ton of joy.

We have Chinese New Year party ideas too!

Need to find all the paper, glue, glitter, scissors, envelopes, stickers, candies, and other decorations you might need for your Chinese New Year celebration? Come on down to Paper Plus. We’ve got all of this and more in stock right now!

Decorating Gift Boxes for the 2022 Holiday Season

Thursday, December 1st, 2022

teddy bear decoration gift box

Money is tight for a lot of people right now. How can you show your loved ones you care this holiday season while avoiding a big bill come January 1st?

A decorative gift box offers a fun option. You can add small, fun candies and gifts or you can place a gift card or cash inside, knowing this option will be far less impersonal after you offer the little bit of extra effort that it takes to decorate a box. Doing so shows that you put energy, time, and effort into thinking about your loved one—and you can give them the thing that they want, too.

Even if you don’t have a gift card or cash budget, you can use your gift box to offer cookies or other treats.

How do you make a decorative gift box?

flowers decoration gift box Start with a good box base. Here at Paper Plus, we offer wooden boxes, acrylic containers, craft boxes, cellophane bags, tin boxes, and more. We recommend buying present boxes with lids to maximize both the aesthetic value of the gift box and its overall utility.

Some of the boxes that we offer are already beautiful, which means you won’t even have to wrap it. You will just have to take a little time to customize it, so that the entire gift is one-of-a-kind.

What can I use to decorate a gift box?

When you decorate a gift box you should be trying to make your packaging into the star of the show.

You’ve got plenty of options. Use a hot glue gun to change the color or pattern on the side of the box, or to add stickers. Use pipe cleaners to create 3D decorations, or curl some ribbons to wrap around the box. Use stick-on-letters to add the name of each recipient.

Don’t forget to decorate the inside as well. Adding pretty paper to the interior of your box could make a huge difference to the overall presentation.

Small, decorative gift boxes are the thoughtful touch that will help put a smile on your loved one’s faces this year.

heart decoration gift boxPart of the fun of the holidays is the anticipation that comes from unwrapping a gorgeous gift. The anticipation and the beauty can provide more happy memories than the gift itself. We’ve all gotten a bit creative during Covid with our home projects and new hobbies, so it’s time to put all that creativity to work!

With that in mind, take the time to hop on down to Paper Plus today. We’ve got everything you need to make the perfect gift boxes for your loved ones!

How to Launch a Holiday Cookie Exchange Party

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

chocolate cookies

Getting social again after our long, Covid-19-induced isolation is wonderful, but it can also be overwhelming. A cookie party is an easy, stress-free gathering to throw.

For an even easier gathering, make it a cookie exchange party!

How do you throw a cookie party?

macaron cookiesFirst, let’s talk about when you should throw your cookie swap party. We’ve found the best date is the weekend after Thanksgiving. People are off work, are just starting to get into the holiday spirit, and don’t have too many commitments to worry about yet.

Send out your invitations well in advance. We also recommend scheduling your party in the mid-afternoon hours; you’ll only be serving cookies, not primary lunch or dinner foods. You don’t want to spoil anyone’s appetite. Of course, you might also serve cookies while directing your guests to just wrap theirs and gift them to one another; if you have many guests it could be easy for everyone to get sick trying to eat all the cookies at once. Put some out on a plate for your guests to enjoy all the same.

Then, add some cookie-themed decorations to your home to get everyone in the mood.

What do you serve at a cookie party?

Don’t just think about the cookies; think about everything else, too. For example, what will your guests be drinking?

We recommend milk as the perfect stand-by, but there are other options.

  • Eggnog is a classic choice (especially boozy eggnog)!
  • New Orleans Milk Punch offers a classic twist on “cookies n’ milk”
  • Milkshakes
  • Hot coffee
  • Hot chocolate
  • Sparkling punch
  • Sodas

heart cookiesIf you want a fun twist, you could use disposable, yet festive, cups, glasses, and plates to serve up the cookies and their beverage accompaniment.

If you’re having a longer party, you might add some protein-rich party foods just to ensure that your guests don’t go into sugar shock. Savory appetizers like cheese and sausage can ensure that everyone stays healthy throughout the gathering.

What are the rules for a cookie exchange?

The rules are pretty simple. Everyone makes cookies and brings them to share. Need cookie wrapping ideas?

While asking everyone to bring their favorite recipe is ideal, people are pressed for time and energy. We recommend making sure that your guests know that store-bought cookies are just fine.

Finally, you might consider a recipe exchange to keep the conversation flowing. If you ask everyone to submit their recipes beforehand, you could even use index cards and a pretty box to make a beautiful party favor that will help build a happy memory of your party every time one of your guests makes the recipe!

Ready to throw your holiday cookie exchange party?

If you need supplies for decorations or dishware, come on down to Paper Plus! We’re open and ready to help you throw a lovely social!

You Can Make Halloween Costumes With Balloons – Here’s How

Saturday, October 1st, 2022

gumball machine

Looking for a creative way to win this year’s Halloween costume contest?

A balloon costume might just be the way to go. DIY balloon Halloween costumes are some of the easiest Halloween costumes you can create—and they’re fun, too.

Note that we’re talking about costumes literally made with balloons, not inflatable costumes like the ubiquitous alien balloon costume.

What kinds of wearable balloon costumes can you create?

Quick and Easy Balloon Costumes

We’ve seen cute balloon animal costumes. We’ve also seen funny grape balloon costumes, or hot air balloon costumes. The possibilities for a wearable balloon costume are endless.

Advanced Balloon Costumes

man with red balloonsSome of these require a few more props. For example, if you want to do the hot air balloon you’ll need a basket. You stand in the basket. Attach 36” helium balloons to the basket.

Character Balloon Costumes

Any character or object that comes with a lot of round components can be a good source for balloon costume ideas. What about a bubble gum machine? You could use many different balloon colors to create the gum balls. Or you could create a plastic jar and use long balloons to make a jar of jelly beans. Using a large clear plastic bag will get the job done in either case.

You can also use the balloon as a prop. The Red Balloon costume, for example, where you go to your party as the boy from the movie. One 17-inch red balloon and you’re good to go! Or grab a pair of suspenders or a scouting costume, and dress as one of the kids from Up!

disco balloonsThere are also thematic options from certain eras. Balloons are part of how disco was done. A summer outfit with a sun balloon is very 70s. And with a disco ball helium balloon, you can carry some Saturday Night Fever with you wherever you go.

Your imagination is the only limit!

Here at Paper Plus, we’ve got loads of balloons in all sizes, shapes, and colors. We can fill them up with helium if you need us to. We’ve also got a wealth of paper products to offer, as well as many items which could be used as props in your next Halloween costume. Stop by, see what we’ve got, and let’s chat about your ideas!

Our store is open and ready to help you have the best Halloween ever!


How to Order Balloons

We’d love for you to swing by our store to place your order!!

Don’t get us wrong, we’re happy to chat over the phone (510‐525‐1799) and take your order that way, but there’s something special about seeing all the colors and styles in person.

Plus, when you come into our store, we can get a sense of what you’re going for and help you pick out the perfect balloons for your Halloween costume or party.

Just a heads up, we don’t take orders over email or messaging, so let’s chat in person or over the phone to get your order started.

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