Saturday, December 3, 2011

Party at the North Pole


It was magical. More than I ever could have imagined. I cried last night watching all these wide-eyed little girls take it all in, and then I cried all over again this morning looking back at it all. Because I'm kind of a crier...and I'm okay with it.

It really felt like the North Pole.



I took a few pictures during the day before the girls got there...




...but the magic unfolded about a billion fold once the stars came out.


And then little girls, dressed in their jammies, began to arrive and the rest was history.
It all started with the Reindeer Food Bar--a buffet of reindeer treats for the girls to choose from to make their own special blends for Christmas Eve (a tradition--you sprinkle it in your driveway Christmas Eve to lure the reindeer, and then they have something to munch on while Santa's in your house). Oats and raisins, bread crumbs and cocoa...and special ingredients like glitter and flying powder.




And then a letter from Santa. He told the girls he had lost some things in our neighborhood and needed some help finding them.


The girls were happy to help, eagerly assembling into a long train. They set out with flashlights, scouring trees and lawns and sidewalks for Santa's cocoa mug, his pocketwatch, Rudolf's collar, Mrs. Clause's cookie sprinkles and a long list of other lost goods. Santa's so irresponsible.




Found his cocoa mug!


And that pocketwatch.


Somewhere between the end of our driveway and the first lost treasure, the crowd errupted into excited squeals. They spotted an elf, running fast across the street, diving into bushes with a jingle. My cheeks were aching--I laughed, I cried, I couldn't stand it. I wasn't sure how the elf would go over--there was the small chance of the Traumatic Christmas Party Bust of 2012 that sent kids screaming and crying back home--but I couldn't have asked for a better response. They went bananas--the lose-your-breath kind. They smiled, they pointed, they excitedly screamed. I teared up when I saw one of the girls run, beaming, to her mom. "I saw him! I saw him! I saw a real elf! I really did." I knew they'd probably never forget that moment. We never saw that elf's face, but he was with us, zig-zagging quickly a couple driveways ahead and suddenly disappearing.


We returned home for milk & cookies.









There was music playing, mamas smiling, little girls trading cookies, and the entire time, I kept is absolutely my favorite day.








It's not a Christmas party until someone reads "'Twas the Night Before Christmas..." (thank you, Dad, for adding so much magic to our party).




And the girls each brought a gift to exchange.




Party favors: Homemade Pillow Spray. I found several recipes online and ended up using water, 12-15 drops each of Spearmint (I liked it better than the peppermint) and Eucalyptus essential oils and a tiny bit of alcohol (vodka works) to keep the water and oil from separating. I found the spritzer bottles in the travel sized toiletries at Walmart.

We finished the night shimmying and shakin' our groove thang to Christmas carols in the driveway. Past our bedtime, just the way it's supposed to go.

I've been smiling ever since.


"He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed." ~Albert Einstein

Friday Photo Dump:



Chris Schuette CD winners:

#33, Alisha: Oh man, those kissy sisters are too cute! What gorgeous little ladies. I love love love the photos.

#221, Melissa: Never, ever, ever enough kisses in a home. Way to go Hamptons...kiss away, kiss away, kiss away all!

#4, Courtney: Aw, I love that you commented about loving that picture so much your heart hurts. I tell my lidos tht as I'm rocking them to bed some nights . . .'i love you all the way to the moon and back 600 million times, I love you do much my heart hurts so good with love'.

#181, Meredith: Love the bit about the eggs and red my world right now!!

#71, Jen: Maybe I'm immature, but your comment when Nella was showing Laynie her food made me laugh out loud. They are SO cute

#267, Sara: Love your blog; have been distracted with life and haven't read in a while! So refreshing to be back! Love the "sea food" pic :)

#153, Kathleen: Reading your blog makes me want to live in Florida. Thanks for sharing.

#11, Katy: This post made me laugh. Thank you it was very much needed today. Love the pictures. :)

#241, Susan: What a special treat to be able to savor those moments with your girls! I also love to find new musicians. Thanks!

#43, Michelle: How cute! I love Florida in winter for the simple fact that days like that can still happen. Nothing beats a cold beach day playing in the sand. And the kissing pictures are the cutest!!

Congratulations, Winners. Please e-mail your contact info with subject CD GIVEAWAY WINNER to


Returning sponsor, Every Scrap Countz (maker of those adorable crocheted headbands) has something new in her shop, and we are loving it, especially since it comes at an appropriate time when our temperatures are finally dropping enough to allow cute head wear.

Enter the owl hat.


Lord have mercy, I love my girls in hats, and this one is especially lovely with its colors, its braided ties and those cute pointy ears.


Use Code KELLE for 15% off, and one comment will be randomly selected from this post to win a free owl hat, courtesy of Every Scrap Countz.

Have a great rest of the weekend.

ADDENDUM: Party Details if you'd like to recreate some magic.

Invite--I designed it and had it printed at WHCC. Girls were asked to bring a flashlight and a $10 gift to exchange.

Milk Bottles--Starbucks Bottled Coffee drinks like this one. Available at grocery stores. I just saved the bottles, removed labels (use a little Goof Off), and washed.

Retro Straws--my favorite Etsy party novelty shop, Hey Yo Yo. I order stuff from them for all my parties. Their shop is loaded with inexpensive adorable retro treats.

Christmas Baker's Twine--It's actually fine yarn. You can get a huge skein at Joanns that will last for 10 years.

Red labels on Milk Bottles and Reindeer Food Jars: THESE ONES from Martha Stewart Crafts (available at Michaels and Joanns).

Invite, Signs and Food Tags--I designed and printed myself. If anyone can tell me how to share printables and where to put them, I'd be happy to share.

Party Favors--Pillow Mist made with travel size mister bottles I bought at Walmart (in trial sized toiletry section). I mixed water with 10 drops each of spearmint and eucalyptus essential oils, plus about a teaspoon of vodka (to keep the water and oil from separating). I also found peppermint lipgloss in Target dollar section.

Peppermint "Red Carpet" leading into house--one roll of Christmas wrapping paper, secured to cement with duct tape

Christmas decor--Small Christmas village trees (I got mine for 79 cents a piece at Walmart), tealights, wood slabs (Brett cut from a fallen branch), a bag of fake snow, leftover white "fur" fabric from Lainey's ballet recital costume, paper snowflakes we cut out ourselves (free!). The rest was pulled from Christmas decorations in our attic.

Santa Hats--Oriental Trading.

Reindeer Food--We used disposable bread tins, measuring cups and the following choices: oats, raisins, bread crumbs, crushed potato chips, cocoa, flying powder (flour), red and silver glitter. The girls created their concoctions in Ball jam jars.

Scavenger Hunt--Santa left the following things along a path in our neighborhood: his sleigh key, a cocoa cup, Rudolf's collar, Mrs. Clause's cookie sprinkles, a large candy cane, his white glove, his hat, special greens the reindeer eat (a bunch of parsley), an ornament, his driver's license, his pocket watch

Food: Snickerdoodles, sugar cookies and my favorite candy cane cookies. And milk. Easy and inexpensive.

Elf: Talk to Santa. He controls them, and I have nothing to do with it.

The rest of it? When in doubt, hang more white lights. And then more. And then one more strand.
The key to the ambience at any party lies in a simple recipe: low lighting, candles and music. Crank up those Christmas carols, Baby.


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Laura said...

OMG seriously?! Your girls are so lucky. What a special night for those girls and their mama's. Wow.

Emily said...

I'm incredibly jealous of your creativity! What a fun party!

Amy said...

I am so sad that my invite to this magical night must have been lost in the mail! :p Such fun and creative ideas! Thanks for sharing all of the how-tos.

alphabet momma said...

How fun! You are the coolest mom e.v.e.r!!!

Christine Gottemoller said...

Looks like such a fun party! What an adorable idea!

Sarah said...


Manda said...

Magical. Completely MAGICAL. You are such a creative amazing mom. Your girls will remember this forever.

Marriage from Scratch said...

Kelle..You inspire me!! I want to do this for my kids someday. I love your! You made those kids' Christmas! They will ALWAYS remember this...

The Manrings said...

you created the magic of christmas kel....a night our girls will never forget. sammy is misting her room each night with her sweet dream spray and asking for her milk to be not just cold, but "north pole" cold. thanks for all the fun. we loved every minute of it. (and the red glitter that is still in sammy's hair reminds us too, hehehe) xoxo

Sharon-The OKI StampQueen said...

OHDEARGODINHEAVEN... can i PLEASSEeEE come next year??! ADORABLE! God bless you-what memories you are making!

nemo said...

i needed a good smile and dose of christmas spirit today. thank you!

Kellie said...

This is such a wonderful idea! I've got to remember this for when my girl is a bit older. She's still to young to know what is going on at this point but in 2-3 years this will be SO fun to do!

Mackinzie said...

Oh my... I absolutely cannot wait for my 7 month old son to be old enough so I can plan this party for him. Love. Love. Love.

JKreeger said...

I love how special you make things. I cannot wait until I can do the same for my family. Thanks for all the great ideas!

LoveLife said...

Wonderful party! Wonderful decorations!!

But what I love most is how evident your joy in your children is. It's so wonderful!!! I live with a bit of an Eeyore of a husband. Our kids are the same age and I often hear the negative aspects of parenting young children. I'm by nature quite positive, and I find your site so inspiring and uplifting!

Bugg's mama said...

Woah, baby. Incredible!

So how did you do the Santa letter? Is it written on special paper or did you dye it?

Thanks! ~Bree~

The Giles Family said...

Wow! That is just about the sweetest party I've ever seen and brought back some wonderful childhood Christmas memories! Would it be okay if I shared your post on my blog and linked it? What wonderful memories. Those sweet girls will never forget that night!

Kelly said...

I couldn't wait to see the pictures from this magical night; not only for the beauty of them and seeing details here for the first time, but to hear you put words to the magic that night everyone experienced but no one could touch. Thank you for including my little girl in such a special night.

Katharine said...

You're a magical mommy with two very beautiful and very lucky girls.

Wendy said...

This whole post has me so happy I have tears in my eyes. I can't wait to do this in another year or two for my daughter...she'll love it. Thank you for inspiring me to be a better mom every day!

sarah said...

what a great party!...magic!!

Kristie said...

What an absoloutely fabulous party! My daughter Bridget will celebrate her first birthday this Christmas day and I have been wondering how we will make her day special as she grows older. A party like this one day will be a fantastic memory for everyone involved. You are such a clever mama.

mamaathome said...

I love it! I love it! I love it! You really know how to make Christmas come alive and your girls will have superb memories forever! xxx

aleensrhinoplasty said...

Hi Kelle!
I'm a long time reader but I've never commented before and I think it is about time I leave some love! I want to thank you for all of the amazing party ideas you give me on your wonderful blog! I am just a student as of now, but one day when I am a "grown up" and host parties and have babies, I know where I'm going to get party planning tips from! I'm also in school to become a special education teacher and your little Nella is a reminder why I am going into special education and how much kids need like her need teachers who care! You're such a good mama. I'm sure she is going to absolutely strive in her life and achieve all of her goals! I don't know if you have ever seen this YouTube video about Down Syndrome, but it is one of the most inspirational videos I have ever seen. You should watch it!

Thank you for your blog! Hope to talk to you one day!

Catherine said...

This is absolutely amazing!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea with us!

Renee said...

Absolutely amazing!!! These pictures brought me tears...then again when do you not bring me to I love this beyond belief. I want to be a Kelle type Momma when I grow up! :)

Nancy said...

Amazing, my daughter turns three next year and I can not wait to have a Christmas party. This was really awesome and doable! Thank you for the tips on how you did everything.

K Blue said...

What an absolutely magical night! Love all the special details.

Lisa "Mrs Kool" Koedyker said...

Oh my goodness! I want to move to Florida, live on your street, and be your friend! :o) What a fun party!

Letty said...

Hi Kelle I'm your faithfull follower from the Dominican Republic. I follow you on facebook, and of course I've been reading your blog since probably two years ago, and I never dared to write you a comment, but this party at the north pole just blowed my mind!! I just love your creativity!! I very much wish I could be your neighbor and bring my little girls to the party you throw! I was crying just by watching the pictures and by imagening all the little faces with all the magical things you had there!! congratulations again!! and I hope you and your family have a very merry christmas!! Letty Reynoso. said...

Okay, I got teary reading this post! LOVED it! What a great idea. No doubt those little girls had a great time and will remember this night always!

Jes said...

This is one of my absolute favorite posts! I hope you will not be offended when I steal your idea one day (I do not have kids yet, but when I do... I pray I am as wonderful of a mother as you are!). I think you gave those girls (and their mamas) a day they will absolutely never forget!

Megan said...

What an absolutely wonderful idea that they will remember always. Well done!

Rhonda Tenderholt said...

I really love this idea. HOWEVER, I use sprinkles instead of glitter in my Reindeer Food because if you throw the reindeer food on your grass for the Reindeer, glitter can harm or kill the birds if they eat can ask any vet or vet tech but glitter will harm the birds. I learned this from a vet.

Nike said...

Such an amazing, incredible party full of magic and wonder ... as usual. And for sharing docs, I like said...

I am SOOOOOO stealing your idea next year! LOVE IT! Well done!

KatieKakes47 said...

Kelle, you had me in tears on this post. What a awesome mama you are to these girls (& their friends)...creating these wonderful memories they are sure to NEVER forget. You hit a homerun! Way to go, Mama!!!!!

Terri said...

When I read this blog Sunday night, I loved it SOOO much I decided to do one for my kids this evening. It was amazing and magical. Check out our party inspired/copied by yours!!

Just Glory said...

By the way- you could totally have a side business as a children's party planner. You really seem to have a knack for pulling together great ideas that both look great and are fun at an affordable price, which is what we all want to do for our kids come party time.

Anna {dear friend} said...

Amazing!!!! Just simply amazing and SO so magical!


MrsScrapDiva said...

This has to be the most amazing party idea ever! I love it! All the little details were perfect.

johanna said...

what did you use for the flying powder ??!!

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

where did you order the liscence from?

dressesandmesses said...

Cute, cute, cute! So magical!

dressesandmesses said...

Cute, cute, cute! So magical! LOVE!!

Lauren said...

Such a wonderfully well-thought out party - even the pictures are magical!

Abbie said...

Looks like everyone had a great time!! I always love reading about your parties for the girls! You're like an expert :)

And thank you for sharing Hey Yo Yo! I planning my graduation party in June, and I just might place an order there! :)


Kristina said...

I love this! I can't wait until next year when my daughter is old enough to understand and be excited by a party like this. We did do reindeer feed and left it on the driveway. I love your blog

Erin said...

Hi Kelle,
I know the holidays have passed, but my wheels are already turning for Christmas. I would love to know where you got your incredible invitations for the North Pole it a downloadable print, or a actual website? Any help would be MUCH appreciated!!

Thanks SO MUCH!

Tanya@takesix said...

Absolutely breathtaking. Just saw this on Pinterest and had to tell you how wonderful it was. Your efforts and prep time certainly were not in vain! Thank you for sharing!

Lauren said...

It's a talented, spirited person that can bring a complete stranger to tears with nothing more than written words and a few magical photos. Thank you for being that person and for being willing to share just a little of your magic!

mommymayes said...

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this party idea!!! How creative and memorable! I might just have to do something like this for Christmas this year!! I just came across your blog on pinterest and I am so glad I did! I will definitely start following you now! Thanks for the inspiration

Judy Star said...

What a wonderful lifetime memory you created for these girls. God bless you for that! I cried just looking thru the pics and captions. You are truly blessed with a creative mind. Thanks so much for sharing.

Judy Star said...

What a wonderful lifetime memory you created for these girls. God bless you for that! I cried just looking thru the pics and captions. You are truly blessed with a creative mind. Thanks so much for sharing.

Debbie said...

I am in the process of planning a party for my grandchildren and great nieces and nephews. I was looking at the pics and comments and can not find a download for the reindeer food table. Were you able to download and create a file that we could use?

Jessy@FairytaleFrosting said...

I just found your party via Pinterest, and I have to admit, I might have cried a little. This is the cutest party...EVER. Seeing stuff like this makes me wish I had little ones around at Christmas (maybe someday!). Love everything you did, fantastic!!

Mandi Plank said...

I love this, great and so detailed. I plan on doing a party like this and you have made it so easy with all that you have posted. Could you please tell me what your discription was for the red and silver glitter, oats, and raisins. Thanks you.

Kassie said...

I was also wondering if you were able to post the file of the printables you had made for the reindeer food table and invites?

I'm thinking I would like to plan a north pole party for my nieces and nephews...they would love it :)

Thanks Kelle!

Mandy @ Raising Little Dudes said...

Kelle, could you please share the cute little sayings that you used on the reindeer food bar? I'm in charge of reindeer food for my sons preschool party and I can see you did more then what each thing is. I would be eternally grateful if you would share that with me. Either on here, or email me at

By the way, I have been reading your blog since you brought adorable nella in this world. You have a beautiful family and are such a wonderful person yourself. You inspire me to be a better mother and a better person. Congrats on your little boy! Can't wait to meet him!


JB2Teach said...

I would absolutely love to see the reindeer food up close and what you put. This is the cutest idea! Thank you so much for showing. This party looks fantastic. If you prefer to email my email is THANK YOU!

Samantha Scharlach said...

do you have a list of titles/descriptions you used for the reindeer food? i LOVE this idea and was thinking of doing something similar for my son's 1st grade class Christmas party! thanks!!!

Annteach3 said...

Love this idea. I plan on doing the reindeer food with my first graders. Would you share your "labels" for the food with me. I can see one that says Flying powder " secret magic ingredient that makes the reindeer fly. Would love the others . Thanks


Kelly House said...

I know youve been asked a lit but could you please email me and tell me what the reindeer food signs say. I'm throwing a breakfast with Santa for the kids of the parents at my work and figured this would be a great idea as well :)). thank you so much!!!

Melissa De Long said...

I love the reindeer food bar! Do you mind sharing the cute text you have below each ingredient?

Catrisha T said...

Hi Kelle! I absolutely LOVE all the magic that you've inspired in this post. I'm hoping to incorporate a bit of it with my kindergarten students tomorrow at their Christmas party. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to share the sayings for the Reindeer Feeding Bar with me, please? I do believe that my students would LOVE this! Thank you so much. Pleae feel free to e-mail them to me at:

s.K said...

Just found your blog through and I must say I will definitely be a repeat visitor I have been touring around and your blog is amazing! Thank you for sharing your ideas with us :)

Crystal Rigg said...

Awww! I just read this and fell in love! My lil girl is going to be 3 this Christmas and will be an official "Big Sister" (baby due August 22, 2013)...I think I am going to try and do something like this :) This year every time she sees someone older with a bushy white beard she yells out excitedly, "SANNA CAUSE!!" LOL does not matter if we are in the store or in the car or at home watching TV... Love your blog, you have a beautiful family!!
love from us to ya'll - crystal :)

carol bing said...

This. Is. ADORABLE. I'm so in love with this. I LOVE the bit about the elf in the street! When my daughter was young we would hide her presents around the living room on Christmas morning with a clue from one gift to the next, so that she would have to figure out where the next gift is. Now that she's a teenager and I'm in menopause we don't have quite as much fun, though. Our relationship has grown a bit strained and I miss these days so much. We did watch a great documentary together that really helped us understand what I'm going through, and I feel like my daughter is my friend again. The film was called "Hot Flash Havoc" and I would highly recommend it, you can check it out here: if you're interested.

Jamie Burrows said...

I absolutely love this idea! I love your there anyway that you can share your template with me? You have the best vintage designs! Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful, magical night with us.

my email is

Thank you so much!

Adventures in our army life said...

Can you detail a little about how you had the girls open gifts (took a number, brought for a specific person, just let them grab one from pile, etc?!) I'm planning alittle party and need some tips!! Also, how did you plan the scavenger hunt?

Tracie Waris said...

Just saw your post and am throwing a north pole party at my church on Friday. You did a fantastic job. wondered if you could tell me what the other items on the Reindeer Food list said. It was such a cute idea. thanks for posting.

Jennifer Pon said...

I love these ideas!! I am wanting to do this with my class on a much smaller version of course. Could you take a picture or tell me what all the reindeer food labels say. Thanks so much.

Deadsoul said...

To be honest. I haven't seen a good post like this in a year now. And seeing this post now, ahh, it really pleasures me. Thanks a lot for this post.
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