We all have our favorite time of the year, whether during the holidays or just because. One of the simplest yet most enjoyable gatherings is a family party.
During these parties, you can invite your closest friends, or even just your spouse and kids. Everyone will enjoy themselves immensely, and you will save money and time that would otherwise be spent catering for guests, to say nothing of the praise that comes from your family for putting so much effort into their holiday celebrations.
The easiest thing to do is host a buffet. Everyone enjoys food, so it would be silly to make everyone sit down for a formal meal that everyone ends up in a rush to leave. You can do this by setting up multiple tables and putting food out on them in small serving dishes. This allows you to put some effort into the food but also not spend all day in the kitchen.
This is also a great way to get people talking. Put a table out in the living room or even in the backyard. Then while everyone is eating, have them get to know each other. If you want to go the easy route, consider a lemon lime wine. The tart, citrusy flavor of this drink will help people break out of their conversations and enjoy themselves.
If you want to go the more complicated route, consider a buffet with a theme. This will allow you to make all of the dishes yourself and get everyone talking about their shared likes. For instance, if you were to do a Mexican-themed meal, you could make guacamole, salsa, tacos, and nachos. Then have people pair up and see who can come up with the best dish using all three.
This would be a great time to split people up and have them make drinks for each other and see who mixes the best flavor. You could also consider doing a BBQ-themed meal and splitting everyone into teams that have to create their own unique dishes.
If you want to go the cheaper route but still keep the fun going, consider doing a game night. Put out simple games like bingo or even card games. Be sure to have music playing in the background. This is a great way to get everyone talking and having fun.
People will be more relaxed and enjoy themselves more by playing these games. The game night can also be an excellent time to just rest for a bit since you won't have someone pushing you all into conversations.
If you have a lot of pictures around, or even just some family photo albums, put one on the table. Then have everyone take turns guessing who each person in the photo is. This can be especially good if everyone has had a few drinks already. It's great for getting to know each other and can help people have a great time.
If you have a camping site, or if you can convince a friend to let you camp on their property, then this is the best way to go. Be sure to clear out a place for everyone to sleep and get comfortable. This is great because it will allow people to get away from the pressures of the city and enjoy themselves in a natural setting. This can give people extra time for conversation since they don't have to drive home after.
Here are a few tips for planning a family gathering.
1. Plan a Date and Time
Early December is the best time for an event, as your friends and family will have time to schedule their time around your party without feeling too rushed. The last couple weeks of December may not be as good because of the holidays around that time. Other good dates to consider are during July and August, but only if you live in a place where it is warm enough to go outside.
2. Make a List
Make a list of people that you want to invite. Include their first and last names and the number of guests you will need for that particular person. Be sure to include whether or not the guest will bring a guest or if they need to be invited separately. There should be a section for people you would like to invite but are not required by necessity. This list is for people you would like to impress and who could be potential friends in the future.
3. Send Out Invitations
About three weeks ahead of time is sufficient time for your guests, and about two weeks ahead of time is just enough for yourself, depending on your writing style.
You can give your guests a little more time if they live far away, but do not leave it too long as people will rapidly lose interest if they have to wait a long time. You can send out the invitations by post or e-mail, depending on your relationship with the people that you want to invite.
4. Plan Entertainment
Decide whether or not you will hold the party inside or outside and make preparations based on that decision. Also, figure out what entertainment you will provide. You may be able to throw a backyard party with a barbecue, a band, or a DJ. If you are having a casual party in the evening, then music and movies are not necessary, but if you are having an elaborate celebration, then there is no better way to entertain your guests than with food and drink.
5. Plan Food
As far as food goes, this is one of the most essential parts of your gathering. It is also one of the most time-consuming. Select three to five different dishes and make sure that you have enough to feed all of your guests. You do not want your guests to go hungry, or worse, to leave hungry and let their friends know about it.
There are many different recipes that you can use for food, but I find that the best way to save money on food is to prepare something where you cook everything in one dish, like a pizza, pasta, or pot roast.
Whether you are having an informal get-together or a festive holiday party for your family, having fun and spending time with your friends and family is more important than ever. Even if there are no presents or Christmas trees, you can still make your home a warm and inviting place to spend time with those who mean the most to you.