The Crazy Hat Box

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Hosting Outside the Box

on September 5, 2014

When I was first married and wanted to host something, it was almost always dinner. I mean, that’s what you do, right? You have people over for dinner. You get a date on the calendar for a Friday or Saturday night. You search the World Wide Web for a new, fun recipe. Once you find one that doesn’t have too many ingredients, or at least all ingredients that you’ve heard of, then you realize you’ve wasted 2 hours and move on. The day arrives and you scrunch in all of the last-minute cleaning that you procrastinated all week, light a great smelling candle in the powder room, put on some music and you are ready for your dinner guests. They get there, you take their coats, pour some drinks, maybe have a little conversation and then dinner is served. I have had many a fun night with this same scenario. I will always want to have people over for dinner. But, there are some fun options. I’m learning to host outside of the box. I’m sure none of these are original ideas from me. You may have tried every one of them. I’ve tried some, but I plan to try them all. Here goes…


Our little town has a parade in May every year and it is a blast to host brunch on our sun porch and watch the parade.

Afternoon Tea

Little sandwiches and delicious desserts. So many fun things you can do with this.

Afternoon Tea 1 Afternoon Tea 2

Progressive Dinner

This was quite popular when I was younger. You have hors devours at one house (or I’ve been to one at restaurants), salad at another, dinner at another and dessert at the final house. You could add after dinner drinks if you wanted to.

1 House Progressive Dinner

You could have hors devours on the front porch, salad in the eat-in kitchen, main course in the dining room and dessert in the back yard or any combination of those. The fun thing about that would be that you could have a different ice breaker or trivia type game in each location. You could also choose to set each table with a different theme or the same theme with different colors. The possibilities are endless!

Dessert Under the Stars

Invite people over late in the evening. Set up a table with lots of candles. Put some blankets in a basket or wagon in case it gets chilly. Have a separate table with a bunch of different mini desserts, or set the table and put a little piece of several different things at each place setting. Try some new drink recipes and put some coffee in a thermos so it stays hot. Play music softly in the back ground. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Let creation be the main attraction.

Dessert 2 Dessert 1

Movie and Popcorn Night

Have a popcorn bar.  You can do so many things.  A couple of my favorites are popcorn with Hot Tamales for a cinnamon popcorn taste or popcorn with Milk Duds for a caramel popcorn taste.  If you do popcorn on a regular basis I highly recommend this (it has changed our popcorn popping and eating experience).  You could add movie trivia to the night for fun.  Have a prize for the winner.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  You could give a box of Hot Tamales or Milk Duds and a gift card (physical or digital) from Red Box.  The cost for the gift card could be as little as $1.00.

Game Night

A classic that is always fun.

Pot Luck

Don’t be afraid to let people bring food too. Have your posse over and set a theme (or don’t) and you can have a blast. You might end up with all desserts, but life is short, live a little!

Think outside the box about who you invite sometimes. Don’t be limited by only people your age or people who may have kids the same age. Branch out. You will get to know some lovely people that way!

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