3 Classic Holiday Party Ideas with a Fresh 2014 Spin

Holiday Party Ideas

Everyone’s three favorite holiday parties just need a little freshening up each December. Whether your party of choice features dinner, dessert or cocktails, we’ve gathered the “it” trends for 2014 celebrations.

dinner & dessert
Start by sending out Mixbook’s Rustic Pine party invitation. Then plan an evening of simple dining on crowd-pleasing dishes made with seasonal ingredients. You’re your inspiration from the beautiful invitation design, and carry the theme of holiday greenery pictured on the invitation through to the entire evening. For pre-dinner drinks and appetizers, serve cranberry, pear and ginger fizz cocktails with pinecone cheese balls, and a rosemary wreath strung with olives, peppers and boccancini. Guests will delight in the wonderful woodlands feel of it all. For dinner, present guests with rosemary roast pork tenderloin, brown-sugar carrots and herb-laminated biscuits. And for dessert, whip up some spicy rosemary chocolate cookies or go for a challenge and create a winter cake with an enchanted rosemary forest. Decorate your home with evergreen branches against natural burlap. At the table, tuck rosemary into napkin holders at place settings or set out rosemary place cards.

Holiday Party Ideas

cocoa & cookies
For an of-the-moment spin on a classic cookie party, host friends and family members for a decadent night of sweets. Set up a hot-cocoa bar complete with every addition one could possibly dream up to spike, spice or sweeten their hot cup-of-yum. Send out Mixbook’s fun Glittering Reindeer Party Invitation for a fresh and festive design perfect for getting guests amped in advance for the sugar-fest on the horizon.

Holiday Party Idea

cocktails & nibbles
So simple and casual, it’s the classic cocktail party that’s truly fun for everyone – including the hosts. Rally guests by sending out Mixbook’s Holiday Spirits party invitation featuring retro graphics that conjure up the original era of seriously fabulous cocktails. Serve up a signature holiday elixir or two alongside some inventive snacks all sugared and spiced, and settle in to an evening of sipping, sharing, catching up and capping off the year just right. This year, we’re loving Christmas Lemonade, Pimm’s Blackberry Spice, Cocoa cardamom espresso-roasted almonds, melon & prosciutto skewers, and apple-cinnamon bacon bites. 

Holiday Party

Happy Mixbooking! Happy holiday party planning!


The Definitive 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

There’s nothing like early-November door-busting sales of mass-made acrylic scarves to make anyone allergic to the idea of giving impersonal items that will be returned, lost or forgotten soon after they’re unwrapped. The retail climate has changed so much in the past decade that the combination of ridiculous excess, poor quality, and the constant din of sales pitches, deals and steals has taken the fun out of holiday shopping – and made it into a circus of spending. The answer, it turns out, is to give gifts of meaning in the form of personalized photo books that solidify memories – in the form of calendars that mark special occasions close to the heart ­– and in the form of note cards that keep loved ones connected over the miles. Here are our top picks for gifts that friends and family members will actually cherish – that won’t be returned or forgotten – and that are made to last.

Holiday Photo Book


Best-Of Holiday Photos Book
Gather a few family photos from every holiday from over the years – starting with the big hair and bad outfits of yesteryear and spanning every year since. Take it all the way up to what we believe to be the great hair and fabulous outfits of the present. With its homespun feel and classic holiday themes, Mixbook’s Elegant Christmas photo book template is the perfect backdrop to years of celebrations.

Holiday Gift Guide


Personalized Calendar
Even if the grandparents are far better at remembering significant dates than you are, a personalized 12-month photo calendar with every family event pre-entered is a wonderful, thoughtful gift. Print lots of copies for every grandparent, plus extras for siblings, aunties, uncles and close friends.

Holiday Gift Guide


Interview Your Children (and Illustrate Accordingly)
Here’s a chance to be a little sneaky and create a fun Christmas-morning surprise. Come up with ten to twenty questions for your kids, then interview them surreptitiously under the guise of some other endeavor. Print your questions on each page of a personalized photo book, then include the answers of each child in your family beneath. You can include some everyday questions like: Why does mommy love daddy? What is mommy’s job? What is daddy’s job? And you can include aspirational questions like: What will you be when you grow up? Why? What will an average day be like when you’re 30? Questions like that will be fun to get answers to now – and poignantly hilarious when they’re revisited…30 years from now. Priceless!

Holiday Gift Idea“Krafty Fun”

Secret Family Recipes
Ask everyone in the family to submit their favorite recipes – one that’s an old standby with lots of nostalgia attached, and one that represents their ideal meal today. Include the recipes, photographs, stories, anecdotes and quotes in a photo book that’s an ideal gift for everyone in the family from siblings, parents and grandparents to godparents, adopted aunties, in-laws and friends so close they feel like family.

Holiday Gift Ideas


Book Club Redux
Make a photo book of pics from your beloved book group, including scans of all the books you read. Add book quotes, favorite quips, legendary lines from your favorite book-club banter and, of course, photographs from every wine- or dessert-fueled gathering. We love the warm, literary feel of the Vintage Everyday Book complete with a classic typewriter icon.

Photo Book Gift Idea


Personal Storybook
For little girls who love princesses and pink, and little boys who love superheroes and capes (…or vice versa, we don’t want to stereotype…), there’s nothing more awesome that seeing your young face framed with scrolling frames and crowns or masks and lightning bolts. Keep it simple and create eye-candy for years of dreaming – or add a personalized story to the pages for a custom fairy tale or comic book.

Holiday Gift Idea for KidsKids Holiday Gift Ideas


Wedding Album
Whether you’re surprising your bestie with a beautiful wedding album with their actual wedding photos – or you’re creating an unauthorized account of the behind-the-scenes fun at the wedding, a photo book all about their big day is bound to be a winning gift.

Wedding Holiday Gift Idea


An I-Love-You Book
Depending on the bounds of your love (or how long you’ve been together), you can create a shortish or tome-like book about all the things you love about your favorite human being. If you’re going big, we say choose a simple everyday photo book template like Mixbook’s Chalkboard Sayings, then start racking of the reasons. An impressive number might be 365 – one reason for every day of the year. If you can’t think of that many reasons – or you like to stick with broad strokes of affection – go with Mixbook’s Ten Reasons Why I Love You photo book template. A solid dozen or a few hundred – either way you go, you can’t lose.

Holiday Gift IdeasHoliday Photo Book Gift Idea


Cute Stationery
There’s no one who doesn’t love personalized note cards. Choose a fun-loving or classic design, then input their name – or even a great photo. Every time your friend, family member and colleague has a note to jot, they’ll think of how thoughtful and personal it was to create custom stationery just for them. Plus, you might just get the good kind of mail again!

Holiday Gift Ideas

Happy Mixbooking! Happy Meaningful Gift-Giving!

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Free Thanksgiving Printables

If you’re preparing every last detail for Thanksgiving dinner, you’re not alone. Even if the turkey’s in the oven, the pies are waiting and the cranberry sauce is simmering on the stove, it’s not too late to add a personal touch to your gathering.

Thanksgiving Printables

Whether you’re expecting a crowd or just a few, guests like to feel like they are special and wanted. That’s why we have the perfect, personal touch for your Thanksgiving table: photo place cards. These printable place cards are colorful, festive and easy to create. Here they are, in just a few simple steps:

  1. Print the “Give Thanks” printables on your home printer.
  2. Cut each one lengthwise, with a space cut out for the photo. You might want to use an X-Acto knife to be able to cut the open space neatly.
  3. Fold the bottom section of the place card up, so that “Give Thanks” is showing on the front.
  4. Secure the sides with glue or double-sided tape.
  5. The cutout space should measure around 3” x 2.25”, so measure accordingly and slip the photo of choice into the space, sliding it under the flap so that it stays put.
  6. Slide the place setting (napkin, fork, knife) into the flap.

Thanksgiving Printable

Mixbook Thanksgiving Printables

Your guests will be able to find their place setting by their photo, or a favorite photo of the two of you. For an added bonus, this is a project simple enough that the kids can do it while you cook (but supervise them with the scissors). These can be decorated any way you wish – you could use some decorative leaves, watercolors, ribbon or any adornments that would make your Thanksgiving table that much more festive!


There’s a lot to love about Fall. Take advantage of your natural inclination to turn inward and focus on your loved ones by creating a photo book that’s all about autumn adventures. To get started, just get outside with the people you love and a camera. Then play around with the natural treasure all around you. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Autumn PortraitBEAUTY
In a book about autumn, you’ll want to feature lots of natural beauty. Here are some ideas taking creative shots of what’s just asking to be photographed this time of year.

Fall Photo Ideas

Gather colorful fallen leaves, then form them into the shape of a heart. For extra credit, play with color gradients in the leaves to create an ombré effect. Take a photo of your creation with people in the pic ­– or as a stand-alone shot to add beauty to the pages of your photo book.

If your pumpkin-carving tools are still out from Halloween, carve a meaningful word into a beautiful gourd. Take a pic of friends or family members holding your creation, or take a close-up to use as an editorial shot.

Fall Photo Ideas

Create a colorful leaf bouquet – or a whole series of leaf bouquets – for everyone to hold in a group photo. Or take a close-up of your creation to add color to your pages.

Take a close-up of hands holding pinecones or any other beautiful natural treasures you find in the autumn woods.

Fall Photo Idea

Take a close-up of leaves floating on water. You can even use a photo like this to act as the backdrop to a whole page of other family photos using your Mixbook editor.

Use an X-Acto knife to cut a letter out of the center of a leaf, then line up several leaves to spell a word.

“Fall,” after all, is a verb. So be sure to capture the action of the season. Here’s how to fake it.

Fall Photo Ideas

Have someone drop leaves from above (they can climb a tree or stand on a balcony) and take a photo that captures the motion of the leaves falling.

Fall Leaves

Hold some colorful leaves in your hands then blow – have someone snap a photo that captures the leaves taking flight.

Fall Photo Ideas

Fill a hat with leaves, put it on your head, then lift that hat and take a picture that captures the motion.


Fall Photo Ideas Go apple picking and take photos of kids holding bushels of apples in baskets or in shirts folded in front of them.

Pose atop picturesque hay bales.

Take a photograph of many feet in cute socks getting toasty by the fire.

Once you’ve taken your Fall photos, upload them into one of Mixbook’s Fall photo albums: Shades of Autumn, Natural Textures or Rustic Family Album.

Autumn Photo Book

Natural Fall Photo Book

Rustic Fall Photo Book

Or use the Seasons of Love template to create a book that celebrates the season-specific fun you share all year long.

Fall Photo Book

And, we’re going to go out on a limb and guess that once you have all this great fun with autumn photography, you might just find yourself in possession of the perfect family photo to use for your holiday card. Some of our rustic favorites – perfect for framing your autumn adventures – are Mixbook’s Whimsical Wood, Merry Blocks, Gold and Silver Pinecones or Gold Leaves.

Whimsical Fall Holiday CardMerry Blocks Fall CardFall Pinecones CardGold Leaves

Enjoy Fall! Happy Mixbooking!


Get Inspired to Create Your Family’s Awesome Holiday Card!

Even if you’re active on every social media outlet known to man, from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to Google+, MySpace and Digg, I can 100% guarantee that your friends and family want a printed holiday card. Not only do they want a paper greeting, they look forward to it and value it far more than any evanescent photo, well-wish or sappy sentiment you post for all the world to see. We’ve chosen a few of our favorites from the 2014 holiday card collection to showcase your best family photos – a.k.a. #TBT contenders for the 2030 holiday season.

Holiday Cards



Retro Camper
Whether you had an honest-to-goodness camping adventure this year or you went soft and glamped out in the back yard – or even if you just have some fabulous campstyle-chic wool, flannel and sheepskin attire you want to rock in your holiday photo – Mixbook’s Retro Camper card is the perfect way to set off your pics.

Holiday Card

Sweet Scallops
Far more fresh and modern than its prim and proper predecessor, this scaled-up version of pure-white scallop work creates a background that’s a bold as it is clean. Mixbook’s Sweet Scallops holiday card just might be the sleeper hit of the season.

Holiday Photo Cards

Bold and Bright
In the perfectly off-palette, sun-washed hues of vintage graphics, this typographic design pops with the most universally appreciated words of the season. Mixbook’s Bold and Bright card complements family photos of summer fun as well as it does cozy portraits in front of the tree.

Holiday Photo Cards

Naughty and Nice
Is there any funnier – or more classic – meme during the holidays than that of “naughty & nice?” Whether you’re classifying brother and sister, husband and wife, or feline and canine, it’s fun to toy with grand generalizations by using Mixbook stickers to add halos and devil horns to unsuspecting subjects. Just superimpose them right in the Mixbook editor – it couldn’t be easier. And remember, you can always use the card’s reverse to decorate the same people with different stickers.

Holiday CardsWhimsical Christmas Greeting”

Year in Review
Share a short and sweet snapshot of the past twelve months with your top 4 family news stories. Use the back of your card to illustrate each big event, or use it to summarize your big wishes for the year ahead.

Holiday Card

Happy Holiday card–making. Happy Mixbooking!