Even if the weather outside is frightful, you can still host a delightful evening entertaining friends and family. While you might not be able to fire up the grill, swim in the pool, or play games on the lawn, there are lots of creative ways to enjoy time together indoors. Here are some festive winter gathering ideas:
It’s warm, it’s hearty, it’s inexpensive to make, and it can simmer on the stove for a long time, making chili pretty much the perfect winter party food. If you don’t have a preferred chili recipe, simply pick up a prepared chili spice mix or chili kit at the grocery store and just add the meat and other ingredients specified in the instructions. Let guests serve themselves and customize their bowl with a variety of toppings that you’ve prepared in advance and displayed festively. Toppings might include shredded cheese, sour cream, corn chips, sliced green onion, jalapenos, and chopped black olives. Put out some extra hot sauce for guests who like it spicy. Add a side of garlic bread or cornbread, and dinner is served.
Set up a table near your fireplace, or serve dinner on trays as guests sit on comfy sofas and chairs around a roaring fire. Light some votive candles and place them around the room to provide extra glow, and start your favorite dinner playlist. Good menu ideas for fireside suppers include a casserole and salad, paella and crusty bread, a hearty lasagna, or beef stroganoff on noodles.
A fun evening for all ages, movie nights are a cozy way to entertain while sharing favorite films with your guests. Have the movie queued up and ready to go, place pillows and throws within guests’ reach, and serve drinks with tops and straws to prevent spills. Popcorn is a must, and boxes of different types of candy are a welcome touch. When the movie is over, have a special dessert with coffee or hot chocolate to enjoy while everyone talks about the movie they’ve just enjoyed.
Get together with neighbors or other friends who live in close nearby, and host an old-fashioned progressive dinner. A progressive dinner simply means that each course is served at one home, then the guests move on to the next home for the next course. For example, appetizers might be served at one home, salad at the next, the main course at another home, with dessert at the last home. With a progressive dinner, one host isn’t responsible for the entire meal, plus everyone gets to see different houses, which can be especially fun when homes are decorated for the holidays. If the homes are close together, guests can simply bundle up and walk to the next house between courses, or it’s fun to hire a hayride wagon or a fancy limousine or van to transport guests from home to home.
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