“KEEP CALM and CARRY ON” – Seriously, could this expression be any more perfect for High School or College Graduates who are about to move onto the next phase of their life?! This is a Graduation party that acknowledges the Graduate’s mixed feelings, but encourages him, her or ‘them’ collectively, to carry on anyway – leaving the known, for the unknown and next phase in their life.
Miss Party happened to be out and about recently and passed by the 1939 WWII British poster. Suddenly, she was struck like a bolt from the blue how appropriate this saying was for a Graduation Party theme! How a graduate is fraught with anxious anticipation as they take that gargantuan leap from the family nest – yet they are driven by parents and blind faith to do it anyway. She thought about how optimistic, yet pragmatic this saying’s advice is to someone who is about to take a ‘leap of faith’. She also thought about how simply – but subliminally effective – the bold red background was in making someone stop for a split second to read the words. Then, she thought one more thought before her thinking was through – how fabulously this worked for a male or female Graduate. Wow, that was a lot of thinking for one day – but it was SO worth it!
Ever since that day, Miss Party has become possessed with bringing the “KEEP CALM and CARRY ON” theme to her loyal subjects! Unlike the British government, who never used the original poster 70 years ago, she is compelled to bring it to the light of day for parents everywhere (who could probably use it’s ‘stiff upper lip’ message themselves!).
Red, red, and more red – and white, are the obvious party colors, especially if for a female Graduate, it keeps the look lighter and a bit more feminine. Miss Party is kind of bonkers over polka dots, but many other red and white fabrics are available, or keep the linens white and tone down the red. For a more masculine feel, lose the polka dots and use small accents of black in picture frames or serving pieces, silverware, etc. If you have some computer graphics skills this saying could also be a super fun jumping off point to shift it to other similar sayings “KEEP CALM and ROCK ON”, “KEEP CALM and PARTY ON”, “KEEP CALM and SHOP ON”, “KEEP CALM and EAT A CUPCAKE”, or whatever other variation you can think of.
The ‘Hang Tag’ invitation ‘postcards’, rubber stamp, stamp pad and embossing powder all came from “The Paper Source” and most should be available on their website. The rubber stamp is also available in “Michael’s Crafts” stores. Check with your local Post Office before using the postcard idea just to be sure there won’t be a mailing issue before you spend time making them up as postcards. Alternatively, use the hang tags, with ribbon ties and just write or print details on reverse side and buy coordinating A6 envelopes. “The Paper Source” does now carry a set of small boxed cards with the original saying on the front. In-store or online you’ll also find a poster-sized sheet with the graphic (they call it wrapping paper). Additionally, they carry a tin of pencils; a gift bag; several styles of mugs; a water bottle, a tin of bandages, a bookmark, and several variations of journals – all with the original graphic or variations.
Miss Party suggests keeping the glitter, gleam, or shine in white items you use, and for all red objects, in papers, ribbons, containers, etc., use matte surfaces. You are working towards a retro ‘practical’, or traditional look; vintage British pop culture items may also fit in here and there. Don’t get too 50s ‘Americana’ – but, definitely pull out the diner/cafe dishes, they’ll fit right in. How far you go in any given direction is a matter of personal preference and whether you’re going for a more feminine or masculine look.
To keep the red and white theme going, include desserts on your table that are red and white. Due to it’s English heritage, Miss Party thinks a gorgeous Mixed Berry English Trifle would be perfect. It’s a real show-stopper and crowd-pleaser. An ‘all-American” Strawberry or Raspberry Shortcake would also be perfect.
The “KEEP CALM and CARRY ON” print is readily available online, framed or unframed; Target may still carry it framed in black. Check ‘IKEA’ for great, contemporary, reasonably priced frames, large and small. Make your own “Words of Inspiration” Table Decorations, or take a look under the “Party Planning” section for other party decor ideas. The candy containers are Zig Zag Pots. The Marshmallow Pops are S’Mores Pops (See under Recipes), which are Girl Scout and Boy Scout approved and we all know how calm and prepared they are!
As the proud parents of a Graduate, remember these words, “KEEP CALM and CARRY ON” yourself as you work through your own ‘empty nest’ issues, the saying applies to you, too!!