Once you get past the age of, say 23, summer doesn’t mean much. Unless you’re a teacher or something (which I am not). But summer is here! Memorial Day is proof of that, but I also can tell it’s summer because on my way to work, I no longer see little kids waiting on the street corner for the bus.
How are you going to spend your summer? While normally you’d think that I’d answer that with read your Bible more, date well, manage your finances, today, I want to be a little more “earthly”. This summer, you should have fun!
By that, I mean you should throw a party! Not a big party where the cops get called because you’ve gotten so rowdy or the neighbors hate you, but a party where people you know come over, play games, eat food and have fun. Women are more naturally gifted (I believe) in showing hospitality. You don’t have to wait until you’re married with 2.5 kids, a dog and a white picket fence to do so. You can use your gifts now! Here are my tips for making that happen.
Determine a theme (if any)
You don’t have to have a theme. You can just invite people over. But don’t be afraid of doing a theme either. Movie Night. Taste of Italy party. Games. If you do set a theme, then it’s easy to come up with invitations, food and activities.
Keep the size managable
Depending on the size of your house, you can have either 4 people over or 50. Either way is fine. There are advantages to both. I liked to have groups of 7 or 8 people over to eat dinner and play games. That’s a great size for us to eat around one table, play games together, but still keep conversation moving. I’ve also had groups of 30 or so over. The “mood” of the party is quite different, but both are good. If this is your first time hosting something, I’d keep it small. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Just invite a few friends and do something simple. Each subsequent party you throw, you could try something new. Start small.
One thing to keep in mind is to see a friend would be willing to host. You could do the work, but if they would open up their house. I’ve done that before!
I’ve also used this as matchmaking opportunity. ;) If you have friends that you wish would meet, make sure they’re both invited. Don’t make it super awkward or anything – just invite them both and hope that they come.
If you’re keeping it small, just them a facebook message or an email or a phone call. Don’t create opportunities for others to get their feelings hurt that they weren’t invited. For a little bit of extra work, but a lot more “fun”, invite people with an actual paper invitation. In the mail. You can pick up a pack of invitations for fairly cheap at Target or Walmart. It’s a little bit of work for a lot of extra bling!
Plan the food
It’s okay to have people bring food. It’s okay to only serve chips and salsa. It’s okay to try out your cooking skills and fix a gourmet meal. You can do whatever you want. Just make sure to communicate to others what will be happening. If you’re planning on serving dinner at a certain time, make sure people know that and are there on time. “Fashionably late” could embarrass them and you!
Plan the activities
Play board games. Play cards. Watch a movie. One note: women seem to love to play “Apples to Apples”. Men don’t. I have actually yet to meet a man who enjoys that game. So, if it’s co-ed, don’t play that game…you’ll just bore your male attendees. My other recommendation: if you want to play board games, make sure you pick ones that are shorter (not 3 hours to play!), simple and easy to teach others. You don’t want people to become frustrated.
So, those are my thoughts. Here are some great ideas I’ve come across recently (yes, some of these are geared towards kids, but why can’t you be a kid and indulge in this same fun?)
Great for 4th of July or for any reason really! You could set up your own Hot Dog Buffet. Super easy to do. Link here.
Make Rainbow Pudding Pops
Have Grilled Pizzas
Have a grill? This would be super easy – everyone could make their own and it’d be fun! Instructions here.
Have a Wii Party
Boys vs. girls would work well for this. Instructions here.
Harry Potter Marathon
The next Harry Potter movie (the final one!) is coming out in July. Why not get friends together for a marathon? No need to watch all 7 of the previous movies – maybe just the last one or two. Ideas for that here.
Have an Ice Cream Buffet