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Happy Festivus? Comments Off on Happy Festivus?

Posted on December 23, 2015 by admin

FESTIVUS

What do you mean, you’ve no idea what Festivus is?

In 1997 an episode of Seinfeld featured Festivus which had, until that point, been a family tradition for one of the script writers. The day serves as an alternative to participating in the commercialism and stresses involved in Christmas these days (see Monday’s post about Humbug Day!), and is billed as A Festivus for the rest of us.

The Festivus Pole (a bare pole on a stand) stands in stark opposition to the commercialisation of a Christmas tree on December 23rd. It’s the centrepiece of Festivus. Of course, we don’t decorate the Festivus pole – that would be commercialism! You don’t even polish it – the dingier the better!

Festivus food is traditionally red: spaghetti and meatballs or perhaps meatloaf. Side dishes are usually delicacies such as tuna on toast, peanuts or soup, and for pudding there’s usually wedding cake or biscuits. No need to worry about things like table cloths or centrepieces; the best option is to buy some cheap paper plates (the flimsier the better) and paper napkins. For the napkins, ideally you want that weird, shiny kind that actually don’t absorb anything – extra points if you just take them from the napkin dispenser in a fast food restaurant. In fact, while you’re in the fast food restaurant stealing borrowing their napkins, you could just get your Festivus meal from there. That way you can leave the food in the original bags and not even bother with paper plates!

A large part of Festivus is the traditional “Airing of Grievances.” This is the time when you bring out all of your angst and annoyances; every minor detail that has irked you over the last twelve months. If people are a little reticent about joining in with this (the English are so polite!) you can have everyone write down their grievance anonymously on a piece of paper, and then take turns in picking out a grievance and reading it aloud.

The final part of the Festivus celebration is a “Feats of Strength” activity. Arm wrestling and thumb wrestling are good activities for this.  Once you’ve all fought/wrestled each other and declared a victor, it’s time to send your guests home… and get on with the present wrapping for Christmas!

 

Today is Humbug Day! Comments Off on Today is Humbug Day!

Posted on December 21, 2015 by admin

HUMBUG

Bah… humbug!

Ebeneezer Scrooge’s immortal line has long since made its way into popular culture as a way of expressing grumpiness at the though of all that Christmas cheer.

Now, don’t get us wrong – we bloomin’ love Christmas! But often by this point in December, when the shops have been filled with tinsel since August and Slade have been booming from every speaker for about as long… well, there is a certain feeling of is it over yet?

For many people, Christmas is actually an incredibly stressful time of year. The idea is that today, on Humbug Day, we all have a planned, controlled venting of that stressy urrggghhhh feeling – and get it out of the way before the Big Day on Friday!

So how do we celebrate Humbug Day, you might ask. Post on social media using #HumbugDay about the things that are stressing you out. Endless queues, irritating Christmas songs, over-excited children, Christmas jumpers, annoying relatives… let it all out! Get all of your Humbug out of the way so that you are free to enjoy the rest of the festive season!

Often once you’ve had a good old vent about the things that are bothering you, it all starts to seem a bit less irksome. A problem shared, and all that, right? So share away. Commisserate with your fellow Humbuggers.

And then get on with wrapping your presents and singing carols at the top of your lungs!

 

Are you ready for Christmas Jumper Day? Comments Off on Are you ready for Christmas Jumper Day?

Posted on December 16, 2015 by admin

xmas-jumper-day

Christmas Jumper Day is a fairly new phenomenon, but the shops have really caught on to it and you can get some amazing jumpers – or knit your own!

Christmas Jumper Day takes place this year exactly one week before Christmas – yes, this Friday 18th December is Christmas Jumper Day! A lot of schools will be breaking up this Friday, and offices often join in with the fetivities too, raising money for Save the Children who first set up the campaign in 2012.  The idea is that we all wear a Christmas Jumper and donate money in order to “make the world better with a sweater.”

This year, ITV have teamed up with Save the Children and all of the channel’s presenters will be wearing a Christmas jumper on the day.

You can sign up for your fundraising kit here – it’s a fantastic way to raise money for a great cause as well as getting your Christmas spirit well and truly (and literally) on in time for the big day!

The only question now is… which Christmas jumper will you wear?

Well, as you may have noticed we’re a teensy bit obsessed with fancy dress. So of course, we’re going to advocate the full-on-Christmas-fancy-dress approach to Christmas Jumper Day.  What does that entail? Well, for a start you need more than just a jumper. You need accessories and shoes and tighs and hats and… you get the idea?

If you’re going all out for Christmas Jumper Day this year, we’d love to see your outfits! Why not share a photo on our Facebook page?

 

Our 5 Favourite Christmas Specials Comments Off on Our 5 Favourite Christmas Specials

Posted on December 14, 2015 by admin

favourite-xmas-specials

Christmas is coming, can you feel it? With less than two weeks to go, the Christmas TV guides are out, and we’ve been at them with our red pens.

There have been some brilliant Christmas specials over the years, and we’re excited to see what will be coming up this year. Meanwhile though, here are five of our all time favourite Christmas specials from years gone by…

1. Morcambe and Wise

You can’t have a blog about Christmas specials without mentioning Morcambe and Wise, who all but wrote the book on them in the 1960s and 70s. They set the bar so high with their sketches, guest appearances and dancing, they’re a tough act to follow on all fronts!

This clip from their 1971 special shows why they’re still incredibly popular at Christmas.

2. How The Grinch Stole Christmas

The original Grinch; not the recent movie. The cartoon with Boris Karloff and this brilliant song is surely a festive favourite for all:

 

You’re a mean one, Mister Grinch…

3. Doctor Who

Since his triumphant return several years ago, Dr Who’s Christmas specials have been essential viewing for all.  If you’ve any doubt about that, take a look at this BBC trailer from last Christmas…

 

This year there has already been a lot of media speculation about the Dr Who special, with leaked documents and rumours abound. We can’t wait!

4. Only Fools and Horses

Is it just us, or is Christmas just not Christmas with about a bit of Del Boy and Rodders? Even their non-Christmas episodes just have something sort of festive and nostalgic about them, don’t they? Here’s a link to YouTube videos of the Christmas episodes to keep you going, if you can’t wait until the next episode on TV!

5. Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas

This one has fallen out of fashion slightly, since The Snowman and the Snowdog was released a couple of years ago – but if you can find a copy, it’s definitely worth a watch. A grumpy Father Christmas is voiced by Mel Smith, living in a terraced house in the suburbs. One year he decides to treat himself to a holiday, and transforms his sleigh with a bit of DIY before heading off to France, Scotland and eventually Las Vegas. When he returns there’s a big rush to get everything ready for Christmas night, before delivering gifts and heading off to the annual Snowman party, where he sees the Snowman (and the little boy) before realising he’s forgotten to deliver a present to a very important address. This is such a lovely cartoon and wonderful for kids (and adults) of all ages. Here’s a clip:

 

So jump up on my sleigh, and we’re all on our way to another bloomin’ Christmas…

Which are your favourite Christmas specials? Did we miss a really important one? Leave us a comment or come and chat on Facebook!

Let’s Build a Gingerbread House! Comments Off on Let’s Build a Gingerbread House!

Posted on December 09, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

gingerbreadhouseday

This Saturday, 12th December is Gingerbread House Day… we’ll give you three guesses what you’re supposed to do.

Yep, got it in one. You build an igloo… oh, wait. No. A gingerbread house. You build a gingerbread house. Have you ever built one?

They’re not as complicated as they look, you know! Why not make this year the year you make a gingerbread house? You can post pictures of it on your social media and everyone will be really impressed, promise.

The first thing you need to do is mix up a big bowl of gingerbread mix. Here’s a recipe – it’s really easy, we promise. You want to bake your gingerbread in large sheets, so that you can cut it into shapes for the house later.

This blog post has 20 free printable for gingerbread houses (scroll down!)

Once you’ve cut out your walls and roof, all you need to do is stick it together using melted apricot jam, and get decorating!

Of course, if baking all that gingerbread and faffing about with sticking it together is not your cup of tea (it’s always a gamble whether the walls will be strong enough to hold the roof) you could always try a little cheat…

This blog post has some great ideas for no-bake gingerbread houses which you can make without breaking a sweat. Or, if you’re up for a little bit of baking, this article has a recipe for gingerbread Christmas trees which are a lot more sturdy (and hard to get wrong) – just scroll to option number 4.

And of course, then comes the most important part of your gingerbread house – whichever one you make…

 

 

One Month til Christmas! Comments Off on One Month til Christmas!

Posted on November 25, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

Christmas

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but today is November 25th – and that means there’s only one month until the big day!
If you need some help keeping track of how many days are left, why not bookmark this page which will give you a real-time countdown to Christmas!

So are you all ready for Christmas, or do you still have loads of things left to do? Here’s a list of the things you’ll need to get sorted…

  • Buy an advent calendar of some description. These days toy advent calendars seem to be really big – which might seem a bit extravagant but is probably better than essentially starting the day with a mouth full of chocolate every day for a month!
  • Stock up on Christmas biscuits and treats – there are always loads of offers in the supermarkets in th run-up to Christmas, so start early and buy things when they’re on offer!
  • Mince pies! You can either make them or buy them, but you can’t have Christmas without them! Have you had your first one yet?
  • Christmas cake – you probably should have made this some time ago… but you can always just pop to the shop and buy one… then ice it yourself and pretend it’s home made – nobody will know!
  • Crackers – you need to have crackers. Preferably the ones with those little red plastic fish in them. You know, the ones that curl up on your hand and tell you you’re incredibly selfish/beautiful/funny/gullible?
  • Christmas tree – is yours up yet? Ours has been up for a while, of course!
  • Decorations – of course!
  • Drink – we’re not advocating raucous drunkenness, but Christmas is the time when a lot of us indulge in the odd glass of sherry. Christmas is that time of year when we drink the weird drinks, isn’t it. Advocaat, sherry, port…
  • Batteries – even if you’ve not bought any gifts that require batteries, you can bet that at some point on Christmas day, something will be unwrapped that requires a gazillion AAs. Stock up now.
  • Christmas stockings – do you have special family ones that have been passed down through the generations? Hand made ones? Or do you need to go out and buy new ones after the dog ate them last year?
  • Christmas Fancy dress costumes – er… you knew we couldn’t make a Chrismtas list without including fancy dress!
  • Oh, yeah – CHRISTMAS PRESENTS! If you’ve not finished your Christmas shopping yet, do keep an eye on your favourite shops in the next few days, as Black Friday now seems to be a week-long affair with bonkers deals on all sorts of things!

Most importantly, get your Christmas jumper ready for Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 18th December!

Tomorrow is LEON Day. Comments Off on Tomorrow is LEON Day.

Posted on June 24, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

 

No, not the French assassin who calls himself a cleaner.

Leon… Leon… Think about it…

LEON is NOEL spelled backwards. Tomorrow, June 25th, marks six months until Christmas!

If this were a conversation, we would leave a space here for you to groan.

 

Come on, where’s your festive spirit? You’ve only got six months left to plan your perfect Christmas – and more importantly, to plan your Chrismtas party!

This is also a big day for those of us who are partial to a little crafting. with lots of people beginning to plan all the fun and fabulous Christmas crafts they’ll do for this year’s festive season. Start saving your cotton wool, the insides of toilet rolls, anything shiny you come across.

Practise your Christmas cake recipe, research how to roast a turkey. It’s time to begin your preparations! You know what they say: fail to prepare, and you prepare to fail!

You might think this is a bit of a gimmicky day, and you may well be right – but it’s worth noting that people who work in many industries, especially PR, retail and the print media, are already looking ahead to Christmas. The big toys for this Christmas have already been chosen by the shops, who are already planning their big window displays. Magazines are probably already working on their Christmas editions and next month many PR companies will host big “Christmas in July” events to show off their clients’ wares ready for the Christmas season.

Here at Fancy Dress Ball, we’ll jump on any excuse to dress up – and Leon Day seems as good an excuse as any other, to be honest. The weather’s a bit up and down at the moment, but we think perhaps it might be a little warm for a full-on Santa suit. How about an elf costume or perhaps a Christmas fairy? Go on, we dare you! Celebrate Leon Day in style, and relish in all the funny looks you’ll get, walking down the street in a Christmas costume, mid-June.

And now, in honour of Leon Day, here’s a Christmas classic to get you in the mood…

Right, now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going back to our board meeting to discuss (argue over) who gets to dress up as Santa at this year’s Christmas party.

Merry Christmas! Comments Off on Merry Christmas!

Posted on December 24, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

Untitled design (1)

 

It’s Christmas Eve!

That means tomorrow is Christmas Day!

Are you ready for it? Turkey in the fridge, presents under the tree, silly Father Christmas hats at the ready?

Merry Christmas from all of us here at Fancy Dress Ball!

Staying Safe in Fancy Dress Comments Off on Staying Safe in Fancy Dress

Posted on December 17, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

Staying Safe in Fancy Dress

 

At this time of year, there are so many parties and events going on, it can feel like you’re at one big, month-long party for December. It’s all good fun, but it’s important to make sure you stay safe during all these shenanigans too.

Here are our top five tips for staying safe in fancy dress:

Keep hold of your drink!

Even if you think you know everyone in the room, if everyone is wearing fancy dress you can never be sure who is whom at all times – especially when you’ve had a couple. Never leave your drink unattended. If you go to the toilet, take it with you. If you’re drinking from a bottle, get into the habit of holding your thumb over the neck at all times, so that nothing untoward can be dropped into it.

Don’t accept drinks from strangers!

Yayy, it’s a fancy dress party, it’s Christmas, the time of good will to all men, and so on and so forth… But you know what? Your parents were right. If someone you don’t know offers to buy you a drink, go to the bar with them so that you can watch it being poured or the bottle being opened. It sounds paranoid, and we’d all rather not have to think about that sort of thing, but it really is a case of better safe than sorry with this.

Don’t answer hecklers

So you’ve been to your party, and now you’re making your way home across town, dressed as Father Christmas or an elf.  Someone shouts some oh-so-witty comment about Christmas cheer, or their present, or whatever… never, ever answer. Don’t stop to get into a discussion with someone you don’t know. You wouldn’t do it if you were in normal clothes in the middle of the night; why should the fact you’re wearing a silly outfit mean you put yourself at risk!

Splash out on a taxi

At this time of year, there are more people out. People who don’t go out all year, decide to go out at Christmas to their work Christmas party, and lots of them get absolutely plastered. Unfortunately, this usually means that by the end of the night, there are more arguments, and more people lurking on street corners on their way home. Before you go out for your party, get the numbers of at least three local taxi companies and make sure they’re saved into your mobile phone so that you don’t have to worry about finding a number when you’re a little worse for wear. Then get more than enough cash to get you home in a taxi, making sure to allow for late night premiums and suchlike. Put this cash away somewhere safe – a zipped pocket in your handbag or the case of your mobile. Do not give in to temptation to spend it on drinks or club entry!

Look out for your friends

If you’re going out in a group, make an agreement with your friends that you arrive together and leave together – nobody left behind, nobody running out early.  You don’t have to spend the entire evening in each other’s pockets, but do keep an eye out for your friends during the course of the evening. Are they okay? Do they look like they might have had too much to drink? Do they need someone to come and rescue them from this strange person who’s been trying to get them to dance all night?

 

You don’t need to be super-careful at the expense of having a good time; just make sure you are sensible about what you’re doing. And above all, have a good time!

Great DIY Christmas Outfits Comments Off on Great DIY Christmas Outfits

Posted on December 15, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

Great DIY Christmas Outfits

Holidays are coming…

Still not got your Christmas outfit sorted? Running out of time and money in the run-up to the Christmas party? Fret not! We have some great suggestions here for how to get your Christmas outfit sorted!

Angel

Find some wire pipe cleaners and fashion them into a circle for your halo. You can add fluff/glitter/whatever if you like.  Make another circle of pipe cleaners to fix to your head, and use one straight between the two to make the halo stand just above your head.

For your wings, cut out wing shapes from a piece of cardboard (tip: fold the cardboard in half and draw/cut out the wing shape; then you’ll have two the same size and shape). To make them look more angelic, you can cover them in folded coffee filters (unused!), or white material, tinsel, net curtain, whatever you can get your hands on.

For the main outfit, all you really need is to be dressed in white and/or silver. If you don’t have anything suitably angelic, wear the lightest colours you have, then wear one of your gran’s net curtains as a poncho.

Job done!

Father Christmas/Mrs Christmas

This one might be a little more tricky, if you’re not the sort of person who wears a lot of red. For the men, you want red trousers and a red jacket or jumper. For women, a red skirt with red jacket or jumper. You can possibly get away with wearing black trousers/skirt, but you will need to dress it up more so that people know who you’re supposed to be!

For the beard – cut out your basic beard shape in paper or thin card, and add elastic to attach it to your head… then cover it with cotton wool.

Trim the rest of your outfit in cotton wool – along the bottoms of the trousers or skirt, down seams, along the edges of the jacket or jumper.

Find a red bobble hat (steal one from your son/daughter/brother/sister/niece/nephew if you don’t have one) and trim it with cotton wool, then cover the bobble in cotton wool too.

Christmas Tree

This one is the most fun to do! You’ll need two large sheets of cardboard. Cut them both into a large Christmas tree shape – large enough to go from above your head to your knees, or there abouts.

Paint the entire thing green.

Cut the top triangle shape off the trees. Make a head band from a strip of cardboard and stick the tree tops to either side. This will be your hat and the top of the tree.

Now decorate the entire tree – either with real tinsel and baubles, or amazingly artistic, painted ones. Don’t forget to have a star or angel on the top!

Get two more strips of cardboard to use as shoulder straps, and attach to either side of the top of the main tree. You might want to use a couple more further down, to make the tree more secure on you and less likely to wobble about.

Now all you need is a green top underneath (you can also wrap tinsel around your arms if you like), and brown tights or trousers to be the trunk.

Christmas Present

Again with the cardboard boxes! This one is super easy and requires zero creative spirit. Find yourself a large, square cardboard box. It needs to be reasonably sturdy; removal boxes are good for this.

Cut the top flaps off your box, and turn it upside down. Cut a hole in the bottom large enough to fit your head through comfortably, and a hole in each side for your arms. You might also want to put cardboard shoulder straps inside of the box to make it more secure when you’re wearing it.

Now all you need to do is get some of your favourite wrapping paper, and wrap the present up! Don’t forget to leave the bottom open so that you can get the box on!

Finish your outfit with a ribbon around the box – and a matching one in your hair!

Other great ideas

If you’re not in the mood for a full-on Christmas outfit, you could cover a dress or jacket in those bows you get for presents (you can get massive bags of them in discount shops at this time of year).

Or, if you have an old fake Christmas tree hanging about at home, liberate some of its branches and use them to make yourself a skirt!

 

Of course, if you’re not feeling the slightest bit crafty, you could just look at our fantastic Christmas fancy dress section and buy yourself a ready-made outfit with minimal effort required!

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