Giving a Farewell Party

Why not make saying goodbye simple and throw a farewell party? Everyone can visit at one time, no one gets left out and you can leave with warm memories of friends and family.

Have an Open House
When throwing a farewell party, you may want to consider an open house. That way, those who work or who aren't able to come during a specific time frame can still join in. People can come and go as it suits their schedule, and no one misses out with this type of farewell party.

Plan a Date and Write Your Invitations
Choose your date wisely, and let people know about two weeks in advance. You may want to send out invitations stating the date and time. This is also your opportunity to include a special note telling that person just how much they have meant to you. Be sure to include clear directions to your home for those who have never been there. It is always good to include your phone number on the invitation as well for those who may get lost or who need clearer directions.

Choose a Theme
A theme can give guests a better idea of what to bring. For example, you can host "A Stroll Down Memory Lane." For this particular theme, you could ask your friends to bring pictures or mementos from the past to display. Make your own display of neighborhood parties, church events, school events and milestones in your family's life that occurred while you were living there.

Seasonal themes are fun, too. Summertime lends itself to a luau atmosphere, during the holidays a Christmas party would be just the thing (give each guest a simple ornament as a memento) and a harvest theme is perfect for fall. Another smart idea is a simple "Help Us Pack!" theme. Get your packing and visiting done all in one day, and thank guests by ordering pizza or making sandwiches or boxed lunches in advance.

Guest Books and Warm Memories
A wonderful way of taking some of those warm memories with you is to have a guest book or scrapbook prepared to share. If you are using a guest book, simply have friends write a short note in your book. Invite them to share a favorite memory or laugh.

When using a scrapbook, have small, colored squares of paper available for guests to write down their thoughts. Use a digital camera to snap a picture of you and your friends, and you'll have a visual memory to place in the scrapbook as well.

Food and Fellowship
Most fun events include food and fellowship. But, while you are in the middle of moving, it may not be the right time to cook for a large group of people. Consider having your event catered or ordering in food. It doesn't need to be a fancy, expensive spread. You could ask the local market make up some meat, cheese and cracker trays for you. Provide lemonade and coffee for drinks to round things out. Add some cookies, donuts or fudge for dessert, and you are all set.

Parting Gifts
Many friends may want to bring something along as a goodbye gift. That can mean more things for you to add to your already growing list of things to pack. If they ask you what you need, suggest snacks for the road, batteries (for electronic gadgets), gift cards, books on tape or games the kids can play in the car.

Include the Kids
If you have kids who have friends from school or other groups where you do not know the parents, consider allowing your children to throw a farewell party. This could be a sleepover or simply an evening or Saturday event. Take plenty of pictures of the event, and have the kids sign a scrapbook or friendship pillow. You could also ask them to make a poster with goodbye notes. Prepare address cards for them to give their friends with your new address on it, and encourage them to write. Allowing your kids to say goodbye to all their friends will make the transition much easier on them.

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