Party Plan: Planning Parties for the New Year

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If you enjoy entertaining for your family and friends, you should think now about what parties you want to give this year. Whose birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, baby or bridal showers, or other special occasions do you have coming up in this year? Think about the people in your life and the events coming up. Now you are ready to start planning parties for the new year!

The following types of home entertaining are listed by the time of day and the style of the meal or event. You have so many options about the time of day for each party and the style of the event. Consider these and you may find some alternatives that you might not have thought of before.

 Breakfast
• Sit-down formal
• Sit down casual
• Buffet formal
• Buffet casual
• Make-it-yourself breakfast (pancake, omelet, yogurt, cereal) bar
• Outdoor—any of the above types

Brunch
• Sit-down formal
• Sit-down casual
• Buffet formal
• Buffet casual
• Outdoor—any of the above types

Morning Coffee
• Sit-down formal
• Sit-down casual
• Buffet formal
• Buffet casual
• Outdoor—any of the above types

Luncheon
• Sit-down formal
• Sit-down casual
• Buffet formal
• Buffet informal
• Make-it-yourself (sandwich, tacos, salad, burger) bar
• Outdoor—any of the above types

Afternoon Party
• Appetizers or sweets served on buffet table formal
• Appetizers or sweets served on buffet table casual
• Food circulated to guests by servers formal
• Food circulated to guests by servers casual
• Outdoor—any of the above types

Afternoon Tea
• Appetizers and sweets served on buffet table formal
• Appetizers and sweets served on buffet table casual
• Sit-down service formal
• Sit-down service casual
• Outdoor—any of the above types

Cocktail Party
• Appetizers served on buffet table formal
• Appetizers served on buffet table casual
• Food circulated to guests by servers formal
• Food circulated to guests by servers casual
• Outdoor—any of the above types

Dinner
• Sit-down formal
• Sit-down casual
• Buffet formal
• Buffet casual
• Make-it-yourself (pasta, salad, burger, taco) bar
• Outdoor—any of the above types

Dessert Party
• Sweets served on buffet table formal
• Sweets served on buffet table casual
• Food circulated to guests by servers formal
• Food circulated to guests by servers casual
• Sit-down service formal
• Sit-down service casual
• Make-it-yourself ice cream sundae (banana split, cupcakes) bar
• Outdoor—any of the above types

Midnight Breakfast
• Sit down formal
• Sit down casual
• Buffet formal
• Buffet casual
• Make-it-yourself breakfast bar

Any of these types and styles of entertaining could be handled in a restaurant or special-venue setting with you using the catering services available or with you providing the food yourself. This could include practically anything:
• take your friends and family out for a meal at a restaurant
• bring a tailgate meal to a sports event
• pack a special picnic for a get-together on the beach
• host a cocktail party or dessert party at the country club
• surprise a loved one with a catered meal at his/her place of work or play.

Any of these types and styles of entertaining could also be handled by a group of people sharing the food preparation or costs or hosting duties. This could include any imaginative event:
• host a pot-luck Thanksgiving or Christmas extended family dinner where everyone brings part of the meal
• throw together an impromptu pizza party where everyone orders their favorite kind to share with the group
• sponsor a “Stone Soup” party where the guests bring their choice of ingredients that amazingly all go into the soup or casserole for the evening meal
• initiate a progressive dinner for the neighbors where each course of the evening is at a different home
• put together a neighborhood block party or bring-your-own-picnic for everyone in the cul-de-sac or in a large drive or yard.

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