November 17, 2010 12:00 PM

Family Game Night

“Buying items ahead of time and storing them in a ready-to-go ‘party box’ is perfect for the busy holiday season,” says event designer Diann Valentine, who suggests these cozy essentials for a night of family bonding.

1 PAJAMAS

“Having everyone dress in PJs allows them to relax and have fun!”

L.L. Bean sleepwear sets, $29.95-$49.50; llbean.com

2 HOT CHOCOLATE

“Turn it into a gourmet drink by dressing it up with chocolate straws or cinnamon sprinkles.”

3 BOARD GAMES

“A little healthy competition is great for bonding!” says Valentine.

Playdate for Kids

While school’s out, “kids get bored, so having an activity planned for them is a relief for mom and the kids.”

1 S’MORES

“Almost every kid loves marshmallows and chocolate, and it’s a fun activity.”

2 LEGOS

“It’s great for team play, and Mom can use them as decor on the holiday buffet table.”

3 WASHABLE MARKERS

Instant face-painting for tiny guests! “Draw holiday motifs like Rudolph’s nose. It washes off with soap and water.”

Ladies’ Night

Take time to toast your girlfriends during the busy shopping season. “These little touches go a long way,” she adds.

1 SLIPPERS

“Embroider them with fun adjectives that describe your friends.”

Custom embroidered slippers, $16.86/pair; therobeplace.com

2 CHAMPAGNE FLUTES

“These flutes say ‘cheers’ in different languages. They’re a great conversation piece!”

Celebration champagne flutes, $60; neimanmarcus.com

3 MONOGRAMMED NAPKINS

“It’s a fun way to add glamour to your party,” says Valentine.

Cocktail napkins, $29 for 100; foryourparty.com

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