Hosting a party can make anyone stressed – but that doesn’t have to be the case. Make your party stress-free. affordable and fun!
Yep, you did it. You agreed to host the big game viewing party, despite the fact that you've got a few thousand other things to do—the shopping, keeping the house in order, a gazillion kid-related activities. But don't panic; hosting a party can be stress-free (really.) Even better, it can be affordable and fun, if you keep it simple.
To help you keep your sanity, here are some tips and shortcuts to becoming a party-planning whiz.
1. When it comes to food, stick to tried-and-true crowd-pleasers. Your game-day party is no time to experiment with fancy new recipes. Instead, stick to a staple like chili, which works well as the centerpiece of a casual party. Whip up a double batch a day or two beforehand (whether it's beef, turkey, or vegetarian, chili always tastes better after flavors have a chance to meld together for at least 24 hours). Set out plenty of bowls, spoons, and a buffet of toppings (e.g. shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced jalapenos, Food Lion tortilla chips). Guests can serve themselves and you can spend time mingling, not fussing over complicated food.
2. Use fresh foods to complement prepared ones. You can build an easy game day meal around one main prepared item, like a delicious smoked ham or several sliced rotisserie chickens. Or, keep it really simple and order a Food Lion party platter – with wings, mini-sandwiches, and cold cuts to choose from, you can't go wrong. Add Food Lion veggie and fruit platters and you're golden; or make your own, including a healthful rainbow of produce like orange, green, and red bell peppers, carrots, zucchini slices, and yellow squash. Got vegetarians coming to dinner? A cold quinoa salad with avocado slices will wow both meat and veggie eaters alike.
3. Let guests participate. A do-it-yourself food bar is a conversation starter, and gives everyone something to do instead of standing awkwardly in the corner before game time. Some easy ideas: a burrito bar, complete with slow-cooker shredded beef or chicken; an ice cream bar where – just like in preschool – everyone gets to make their own sundae; a drink table offering everything from juice to soda to beer.
4. Do prep work in advance. Spread out your party prep (i.e. setting the table or organizing the buffet line) a week before the big event, and you'll feel much calmer and in control when guests arrive. Note: Don't bother cleaning areas of the house where guests won't venture. It's perfectly fine to put a rope across the stairs, blocking access to your not-so-neat second floor. Delegate simple tasks, like picking up ice, fresh food, and balloons on the day of the party.
5. Keep drink choices limited. Two or three options are plenty. Or, try this crowd-pleasing, pretty punch: Two parts Food Lion cranberry juice, one part ginger ale, mixed together and topped with dollops of Food Lion rainbow sherbet.