A Holiday Party Turned Surprise Birthday Bash

Hey everyone!  This is Leah, and today's post is a little different.  This party may not be a shower, but we just have too many fun ideas not to share, so here goes!

My husband Justin and I throw an annual holiday party every year, affectionately dubbed Chrismukkah.  This year I decided to do something a little different.  I pretended that I wasn't feeling like throwing it again, but instead planned a surprise birthday bash for his 30th.

Without boring you with all the minor details of how I pulled this off (still not quite sure myself), here are pics of the extravaganza to give you some ideas for your own upcoming festivities.

The Decor
Aside from our traditional holiday decor (that I forced an unsuspecting Justin to put up fairly early this year), I wanted to add some extra touches for his birthday.

Behold, a homemade life-size cutout of my husband:

Ok to be fair, it's more my size that his, but the effect was just the same.  I made this cutout using blockposters.com.  I uploaded a full length photo, figured out how big I wanted it, and then it gives you a PDF for FREE!  I cut out the body parts, glued it all to cardboard, and voila!  How hilarious would this be for a bachelorette party?  You don't even have to do the cardboard part.  This is easy, fun and memorable.

Next, I took photos of Justin through the years and with his friends, and glued them onto posters in the shape of "30."  God bless you, Pinterest.

We also made photo props, which make for fun pictures and were super easy.  We just printed the shapes we wanted from Clip Art or random Google images, cut out from cardstock and glued to skewers.  Always a crowd-pleaser.  (The blue ones are yarmulkes - this is Chrismukkah, remember?)

The Food
As you can imagine, I couldn't really cook or bake as much as I usually would without Justin getting suspicious.  I relied heavily on store-bought items like chips, veggies and dip, and cheese and crackers, along with frozen food like pigs in a blanket, and of course, the help of friends.  (Thanks girls!)  However, we did manage to bust out a few picture-worthy items:

Tortilla roll-up tree!  These are some of our favorite apps because you don't have to keep them hot.  We used spinach wraps to give it a festive look and topped it with a cherry tomato.  You can find the recipe I used on Ruthie's blog, and special thanks to her husband Jon for his spacial skills.

We also made sweet and sour meatballs.  TV My Wife Watches, this is for you:

For treats, we made these fun birthday cake cookies, along with some 3s and 0s.  We also had brownies, chocolate cookies, holiday cookie balls, and a trashy photo cake from the grocery store.

As for drinks, well, you'll be able to tell from our pics that there was a wide plethora.

The Games
Chrismukkah always starts with a white elephant gift exchange.  If you've never done one, you basically have everyone draw a number and choose gifts in that order.  You also have the option of stealing a gift up to 2 times.  We limit the gifts to $5 or encourage guests to grab any junk in their homes that they no longer want.  Nothing brings different groups of friends together easier than the gift of crap from the back of a closet.

Costume glasses and fake teeth, finger plates just large enough for a cheese cube, and mini liquor leftover from Chrismukkahs past
Chrismukkah wouldn't be Chrismukkah without a highly competitive flip cup tournament.  Plus, as part of Justin's birthday, I also got him 30 days of gifts.  His party was held on day 29, and the gift was a cornhole set (which is like a bean bag toss game).  The weather was gross so we just set up in the garage.  Doesn't make for beautiful pics, but hey, it worked.  (Ladies, if you need gift ideas, email me.)

This year a new tradition was born - the Wii game Just Dance.  Perfect late night fun.  I'm trying to respect the privacy of our not-sober friends, but here are a few pics just for fun.

And that's about it.  I'm still pretty exhausted and need a weekend to recover from my weekend.  Thanks to Jac and Ruthie for your help with all the prep, another thank you to Ruthie for photography, to the husbands for running around before the party started, Larissa for bringing some grub, and Tracy for introducing Just Dance to the festivities.  And thanks to everyone for making it the best Chrismukkah yet, and a really special birthday for Justin.  Couldn't have pulled it off without you guys.

What are some of your favorite holiday party treats or games?  Have you ever thrown a surprise party?  If so, props to you because it's a lot of work!

Happy Planning,
Sweet and Sour Showers