Hosting a Game Day Party
One of my favorite things about the fall season is football. It is not so much that I love the sport all that much, in fact, I often have no idea what is going on. No, I just really love to throw game day parties that people will remember and enjoy!Throwing a game day party does not need to be expensive. One of the true joys about having a party like this is that people come expecting cheap food and a television. What could be cheaper than that? I am betting that you have some of those in your house already!
Here are some tips for hosting a great game day party on a budget:
1. Don't send out expensive invites. I love using a free invite service, like Evite, for sending out my invitations. They have tons of cool themes (including game day ones) and it is a great way to keep track who is coming and what they are bringing. Evite will also send out those reminders about your gathering, so no need to make any nagging phone calls.
2. Potlucks are a great way to save money because everyone can bring a dish and contribute to the dinner and/or snacks. Share with people the theme of the food, ("I thought we could have a Mexican night. Do you have any specialties?") so that you don't end up with a weird assortment of foods... not to mention a bad case of heartburn!
3. When hosting game day gatherings, try and pick finger foods because these are much easier to eat while balancing plates on your lap. We love to make Chicken Tacos, Chicken BBQ Sandwiches, or my Delicious Chicken Wings for the main dish. Add a simple tray of vegetables, a bowl full of chips, and a refreshing drink to complete your meal.
4. Incorporate free activities to go along with your game day theme. I love to print up coloring pages for the kids and have crayons available to keep them busy. If the wives aren't really into football, you all could play a board game or watch a good chick flick. Husbands could also play a quick game of football outside. All of these activities are free and will add to your fun game day activities.
5. Nothing says fall like a good bonfire and a warm drink. I love to have hot apple cider, hot cocoa, or a cup of tea for everyone while sitting around the bonfire. Bring out blankets and pop some popcorn to enjoy by the bonfire. This is a great way to unwind after or before the game and really get a chance to talk to your friends.
6. Set up the food buffet style and make it easily accessible for your guests. If you end up with more guests than you thought you would, my sneaky trick is to put out smaller plates than normal. Using a smaller plate encourages folks to eat a little less or requires them to get up more than once to get food. Maybe it is an American thing (or just an Amy thing!) but when I have a bigger plate, I really want to fill it up. If the plate is smaller, I am still just as satisfied, but haven't ate nearly as much as I would have with a larger plate.
7. You can save more money if you don't use disposable plates and use the real deal instead. We normally use cloth napkins in our house, but when I have a big group like this over, I whip out my stash of paper napkins and use those instead. If you really don't feel like doing dishes, you could ask one of your guests to bring the paper plates or you could purchase them at a party discount store. Just know where you plan to compromise your budget and make adjustments elsewhere!
8. Make clean up easier on yourself by having your amazing dishwasher empty and ready for the dishes. I also like to have my dish tub filled with soap and water so that the dishes can be soaking while I get the chance to enjoy visiting.
If the gathering is more intimate, you can just start cleaning up while everyone is enjoying the game. When my extended family comes over, all of us girls clean up the kitchen while the guys enjoy visiting and we can get some good gabbing time in while tidying up. Others in my family enjoy visiting with me while I tidy up, but I try to do this with people who know me well and won't take it personally or consider it an exit cue if I start in on the clean up.
I hope this entry gives you some good ideas for your next game day get together. If you have anything that you would like to see covered here (on the subject of entertainment on a budget) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or swing by MomAdvice and click the "Email Me" button.
I would love to hear from you too: What are your favorite game day recipes? What are some game day traditions in your home?