The Super Bowl is one of the most oft-hosted parties at home. Some people love to watch the big game at a sports bar, but plenty more get together with friends and family and watch the big game huddled around the big TV. It’s also one of those parties where some people will just not care at all about the details (read: men and hardcore female football fans), especially if the game doesn’t go your way.
The interwebs are full of fun and cutesy ideas for Super Bowl parties. But before you spend all week googling “chevron + football” and try to make burlap referee stripes happen, consider your guests. If your guests are predominantly male and/or actually care about the game, feel free to scale back, because no one will notice your fun details. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything, just add one or two fun details, not a full-scale themed affair. Now, if you are hosting a lot of non-football fans (um, who’s playing again?), feel free to add more fun details, perhaps even some extra-game entertainment.
Like most normal people, I love fondue. I especially love cheese fondue and chocolate fondue – which is interesting because I don’t normally LOVE cheese or chocolate (I know – I’m strange). But both cheese and chocolate fondue are the best possibly forms of themselves – I love delicious, hot, melty cheese and the same goes for lovely, flavorful, melted chocolate. Chocolate fountains were all the rage for a while but they tend to be messy. Restaurants like The Melting Pot are usually pretty popular, despite the high price tag (every time the local one runs a Groupon deal they sell out almost immediately!). So whether you think fondues are stuck in the 70s or are a reemerging trend, or somewhere in between, why not try fondue at your next dinner party? Here are a few suggestions to make sure your fondue doesn’t turn into a fon-don’t (eye roll!).
To start, I recommend only doing either cheese fondue or chocolate fondue. You can certainly have an entire fondue meal and cook meat and vegetables in a broth (which is the main course at fondue restaurants like The Melting Pot). I might try this with just my husband and I, but I’m not about to try that with other guests. You never want people eating undercooked meats and getting sick, so I think I might leave that up to the professionals.
It’s a lot of pressure to have a blog on events and entertaining. While I like to think that I’m primarily sharing my wisdom and great ideas, I also feel like I have to take my own advice. But the good news is that my advice isn’t so hard to take. I try to make most of my ideas and features as accessible as possible. Maybe this is because of my background in nonprofit planning – you can do anything with an unlimited budget, but doing more with less (or barely anything at all, in the case of some nonprofits!) is so much more impressive. So too are my entertaining tips. I don’t imagine my readers are incredibly wealthy socialites with infinite time and resources to plan Dina Manzo-level dinner parties (but if I’m wrong and you are a wealthy socialite with infinite time and resources, feel free to contact me here and I’d love to help you!). I imagine my readers are regular people with crazy, busy schedules and not a lot of time or resources, just like me.
But back to the pressure. December was pretty hectic for us. We moved into our new house (our first house!) right before Thanksgiving, then a month later we hosted Christmas dinner for my side of the family, then a grown-up New Year’s Eve party for a few friends, and then hosted a housewarming party last weekend for many of our local friends. Among the guests at all three were some regular readers of the blog (meaning, my mom and my dear friends Anna and Melissa).
So despite how hectic everything was, I managed to infuse a little bit of fun into these parties, so I thought I’d share some photos (and prove that I’m not all talk!).
As regular readers of this little blog know, my husband and I moved into our first house in November and this Christmas was the first we would be able to spend in our new home. We would be hosting my family on Christmas day. Ever the hostess, I was so excited for Christmas this year. I had visions of being able to sleep in our own bed Christmas Eve, wake up at a leisurely hour and open presents in our pajamas, before going to Church and then coming home and getting ready for my family to arrive.
Well, spoiler alert: that’s not how Christmas happened this year. Oh there were no disasters, for sure, but a few things didn’t go as planned and I broke the cardinal rule of being a good hostess (and of event planning): just roll with it. Let’s just say I didn’t always roll with it this year. I let myself get a little stressed, which I never do while planning professionally.
So in the hope of preventing someone else from making the same mistake, I wanted to share my lessons learned.
You can’t have a new year’s eve party without champagne. Well, you probably could, but I wouldn’t come. I absolutely love champagne and most sparkling wine. Champagne cocktails, or cocktails where champagne is an ingredient, are my favorite. While most people include a bottle of champagne in their New Year’s Eve plans to pop the cork just before midnight, there’s no reason why you can’t include champagne throughout your evening. A champagne cocktail is a great way to add something fun and interesting to your party, and you can also save some money by buying a lower quality sparkling wine since you’ll be mixing it anyway.
Here are some ideas for champagne cocktails that don’t take too many crazy ingredients. You might have these ingredients in your home bar already, or you may only have a few things to buy. There are so many delicious cocktails out there, there’s no need to try the ones that have really obscure ingredients.
I know it’s not even Christmas, but I’m pretty excited about our New Year’s Eve plans, probably because we’ve had these plans for approximately six months. Pretty much since we signed the contract on our new construction home and we knew that we’d be moved in before the holidays (turns out it was just before), we knew that we wanted to have just a few close friends over. And since we live about an hour away from these friends they are going to stay over and I’ll make brunch the next morning.
You may be incredibly excited for your wild and crazy New Year’s Eve plans, but I’m definitely too old for that. I’m looking forward to having a cozy evening with friends, with plenty of food and drink, and definitely some laughs as we’re planning on playing this game.
If you’re like me and you would rather ring in the new year with a group of friends at home (or maybe even a big group of friends somewhere else) – here are some quick tips to have a grown-up party that is classy, not trashy, but still fun.
Since everyone else is focused on Christmas this week (as am I!) I thought I’d focus my Friday Favorites on the one piece of Christmas entertaining it’s not too late to change – your beverage menu! At a holiday party I planned earlier this week we incorporated some fabulous signature cocktails – I can’t take credit for them – that goes to Design Cuisine! – and they were a big hit. So much so that I’ve decided to make a modified version of one for Christmas day in my house. Here are some fun suggestions (of varying levels of difficulty and number of odd ingredients) in case you want to add one to your menu. Unless your Christmas dinner is huge, I suggest on focusing on just one to supplement the other drinks that you offer. Cheers!
#5 – Candy Cane Cocktail