Friday, December 10, 2010

Throwing Great Parties For Adults & One Writing Tip

The key to having a great adult party is organizing it well.  I'm a firm believer in list making.  I start list making well before the day of the actual party. 
*List one is who I'm going to invite.  (I try to invite a mix of people so that there will be an opportunity for everyone to make new friends. Don't forget to write RSVP on your invitations!)
* List two is the theme for the party and the games that could be played.  (Yes, I said games.  I believe grown ups should play games at parties.  Eating and drinking is fine, but winning prizes, eating and drinking is even better!)
* List three is what food I'm going to serve.
* List  four is the ingredients and if I'm ordering any food, when and where I'm getting it from. (I also put this info in my daytimer, so not to forget to order it and pick  it up at the right times.)
*The final list is the day of the party list.  I do that on the morning of the party...

I keep all the lists together and check things off as they are completed or purchased.
When you are inviting a mix of people I think it is helpful to have name tags.  Then there are no embarrassing, "Now what was your name, again?" moments.  I made these with scrap booking stickers and blank office name tags...simple, quick and cute. 

The day before the party I pull out all the groceries and check them off my ingredients list.  I organize them into groups. Just in case there has to be a last minute grocery store run...
 Notice the ingredients are grouped by recipes.  That will make the next day much easier.  After everything is checked off I will work on my cooking schedule.  Any foods that I can prepare the night before I will prepare and check off my list.  Then I will write down the times that I should start cooking the other items.

 The first thing (after coffee) I do on the day of the party is pull out all of my glassware.  I either dust it off or wash it depending on when its last use was.  I really like using real  dishes verses disposable ones when I entertain.  It want my friends to know they are worth the effort.  (LOL, I was up until 2 am washing dishes after this party!)  I put all the serving dishes out and put sticky notes on them saying what food item is going to be served in them.

I think there should be something that YOU do special at your house.  Something people know you will do when you host a special party.  At my house, I have a chocolate fountain.  If I have a party of more than 10 people the chocolate will be flowing....

Games are so much fun!  Do you remember when you were a kid how much fun it was to play pin the tail on the donkey?  Well it's even more fun to play games as an adult.  I'm going to share four of my favorites with you.  I planned five games for my Holiday Party, but we only got to three of them.  Always over plan!  It is better to have loved and lost rather than...sorry wrong lesson....

The first game we played was called No Holiday...As each guest arrived I let them choose a necklace.  If they said the word "holiday" they lost their necklace to the person they said it to.  At the end of the night the person with the most necklaces won a prize.

(frown) We didn't get to play this game...It is sooo much fun!  It's called I Have, Have You?  You give each person a baggie with the same number of pennies.  I have twenty five pennies each baggie (15 is not enough, I did that many at one other party).  You sit in a circle and one person starts with something they have done, everyone in group who has not done it has to give them a penny.  Then it's the next person's turn.  (ex.  I've flown in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon...)  It's a great ice breaker!

The next game we played was called Pass The Parcel.  A prize is wrapped up many times.  I think ours was wrapped eleven times.  Under each layer was a little Christmas candy and an activity like, "bark like a dog" or "stand on your hands." Someone plays music and the parcel is passed around the circle until the music stops, (like musical chairs) whoever is holding the parcel when the music stops has to open it and do the activity.  (OMGoodness this was fun!)

The last game we played was a naughty gift exchange.  Everyone drew a number.  Number one went to the tree first and chose a gift and opened it and had to show the whole group what he or she got.  Number two could either take number one's gift or chose a wrapped gift from under the tree, this went on until everyone had a gift.  There are a few rules for this game...No take backs...A gift can only be taken away three times, so who ever gets it on the third take away gets to keep it for sure...Number one gets to go back at the very end and take any one's gift she or he wants to.  This is fun for sure!  Lots of plotting with spouses and laughter...This is a great one to do after Christmas.  You can ask your guests to bring a white elephant gift (something they got that they won't use) to play this game.
(frown) We didn't get to play this one either...It's called As Much As You Need.  You pass a roll of toilet paper around the circle and  tell everyone to take as much as they need.  That's all you tell them, nothing else.  Just watch what they do.  It's good fun...some with  tear off  little squares, some will count out, some will pull off huge amounts....  When everyone has as much as they need you tell them they are to tie a bow behind their back and the best bow will win a prize.  (I always have Katherine come in the room and judge.  Everyone puts their bows on the floor and she chooses the best one.)

Now let's talk about prizes...It's so easy to get little prizes for women.  You can even go to the dollar store and buy fingernail polish, bubble bath and all kinds of little bits, but men...that's a bit harder...This was my first big party in Iowa.  There were 19 people here (9 men) .  I wanted to make sure the husbands had a good time too.  So I went to Lowe's and got manly prizes with the help of my Dad.  Plus some coffee and candy...

Other than being organized before the party another way to guarantee success is for you the host or hostess to have fun.  I had so much fun I forgot to take pictures during the party...

I hope you have a fun festive holiday season and now on to some news from the Highlights Foundation...

 A lot of children’s writers dream of the Highlights Foundation Writers
Workshop at Chautauqua. “Next year,” they promise themselves. “Next year
I’m going to Chautauqua!” Then reality sets in. The drive and talent to
support the dream are there, but the finances . . . maybe not.

Scholarships will be considered in two groups. Early applications will be accepted through December 15, 2010.
(Final scholarship deadline is February 11, 2011.)

The Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua is an exceptional experience!  If you think you are interested go to the website and check it out...LOTS of people get scholarships! 


  1. You can really throw a party, Sharon!
    Fun game ideas and the food looks good too (especially a chocolate fountain!).
    Enjoy your festivities!

  2. Organized? Oh, I see a problem already! But I love to pawty!!!

  3. CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN!!! Wow!!! There's a chocolate fountain!!!!! I want a pretty name tag now!!! :-)

    Wow!!! what fun and fabulous games!!! I like the naughty gift exchange!!! LOL!! I'd be very fussy and evil!! LOL!!!

    Oh you throw an amazing party Sharon K Mayhew!!!

    Take care

  4. that looks like a blessed those folks are to have you as a friend!

  5. How organized and careful you are, I love it! I have a sister like that, and I admire how she puts so much into everything she does. You're parties must be incredible!

  6. Wow - I'm tired just reading about it!! Sounds like a lot of fun though! I bet everyone always has a blast at your place :)

  7. Sounds like you throw GREAT parties, Sharon!

    You are so organized too.

  8. You look like a great hostess! =) I love entertaining and am always looking for new tips and tricks.

    And lists? Yeah. I'm a list maker!

  9. hi miss sharon! yikes! what a lotta lists and what a lotta work! ack! for me i didnt ever do a party but if i ever do im gonna call you to do it for me. ha ha. i could love that chocolate founttain. you could know where to find me the whole night and you could know where i been by the chocolate all over my face. :) im real happy you had lots of fun at your party.
    ...big hugs from lenny

  10. So, are you extending invites for your next fab-o party? Cause I so wanna go!

  11. Wow! I rarely plan parties for adults, but I guess my thing is trifle. My friends and fam always ask if I'm making trifle. I am planning three class parties for kiddos next week though.

    Thanks for the scholarship link. I should look into that.

  12. Wow, you've taken party throwing to a whole new level for me but I do love cooking for groups of friends :-)

  13. It sounds as though you put a lot of effort into planning your events, which is the way it should be if you want to have a successful party. Making lists does help with being super organized. Happy Holidays!

  14. Sharon, can I come to your next party? Pullleeeaaassse. I need to mingle with big folks for awhile. Oh wait, I might not know how to conversate with the big folks. *sniff*

    Love the games. YOU GO GIRL! Merry Christmas, pal. :)

  15. Looks like a great time... thx for the awesome tip; happy holidays to you and yours as well.

  16. Oh wow! YOu throw a great party! I used to do something similar to this years ago for New Year's eve. I loved the prepartion and coming up with games. I enjoyed reading your ideas. Fun!!

  17. Oh My Gosh. I wish I lived closer. I would totally invite myself to your party. Sounds like so much fun. I'm going to a party tonight and I'm going to take a roll of toilet paper along. this is a great idea!

    As far as your food preparation and store lists and all that, I'm super impressed. (I know this shouldn't surprise me about you, though, because you seem super organized. Most teachers, I think, are.) Me, I order party trays and just pick everything up. I have no time for baking or making. For my son's graduation party (June 2011), I have the caterer lined up, the placed booked and, for me, no worries. Except for the decorating.
    Thank you for sharing. This is such a helpful post. You could turn this into a magazine article for a glossy women's magazine. Lots of great tips and info here. Some of the games you mentioned were new to me, like the toilet paper and penny one. Great job, girlfriend!

  18. wow, you know how to party! Awesome ideas here!

  19. Sharon, I LOVED this post! What fun!

  20. Thanks for all the advice on how to throw a party! Wow. You certainly know how to do it. :)

  21. Those games sound really great! I loved the "Holiday" game, in particular, and the "I Have, Have You." That sounds like the kind of game that would allow people to compete, but be relaxed and fun at the same time.

    And nice to hear about the scholarships...sure fits the spirit of the season! Thanks for this excellent post--I love how much information you offered, and the time you took to get those great photos there.

  22. A chocolate fountain??? Well you know where you would find me at your party... right at the chocolate fountain all night! So many fun party ideas Sharon ~ very fun!

    xo Catherine

  23. Boy, you really know how to host a party! Are you absolutely exhausted afterwards? I got a little tired just looking at the prep work! Wow!

    What a lot of great games! Your place must be the most popular stop on everyone's holiday (yeah, I lost a necklace)agenda!

  24. I'm glad they're people out there like you who show me how to throw a great party!! Can I come?

  25. Pass the parcel was my favorite game growing up. My family still plays it at birthday parties. (I don't think many Americans have heard about it, though!)


  26. Hi Sharon .. party organiser par excellence seems to me .. love the games .. - have fun and enjoy seeing everyone .. cheers Hilary

  27. My goodness but you're organised!

    Chocolate fountain! Pretty nametags! Games! That sounds like my kind of party.

  28. Thanks for sharing your party games with us, Sharon! I absolutely love playing games (as you know - lol!)

  29. Hi Sharon,
    My goodness, seems you organise some great, well planned out parties. 'Adult' parties eh...:-)

  30. Your parties look like SO MUCH FUN!!!
    I don't think I could get anything done without lists too.

  31. I really enjoyed all of the party games you listed. I've played a few (like the one with the pennies and the white elephant), but you gave me some great ideas for some new ones. What a fun post!

    ♥ Mary Mary

  32. Wow! Holiday parties at your house must be fun. These games sound great. I just keep pouring people wine, until the guests become the entertainment ;-)

  33. Aw, so much fun! I want to go to your parties!! I went to a new year's party once that had a naughty gift exchange. Way fun except one guy took the hat my daughter unwrapped. I about drop kicked him. :P

    Also, you are a super list maker. Just like me. I make so many lists for everything. I've been known to make lists of lists I need to make. Seriously. I feel more confident and sure of things if I've made my lists. Pretty soon I need to do my lists for our Christmas gathering. Kind of looking forward to it!

  34. Now this was a fun blog to read just before shutting down for the night. I'll definately check back in tomorrow morning and read this again. You are an awesome organized list maker!

  35. Ooooh excellent ideas! Your parties sound awesome. I'm in the midst of planning a wedding, which is really just a big party, and I don't know what I'd do without constant list-making!

  36. That sounds like a great party! You are so organized! =)

  37. Wow. You are so organized. Great tips in there.

  38. That is such a good idea, putting the ingredients on the counter together. I always end up forgetting some obscure dish and am left with two packages of dates that I won't use for another six months. Love the idea of games, too. I haven't done any in a long time, and I so enjoy them at other friends' parties.

  39. You'd carry off a party with elan. And those are very pretty name-tags!

  40. YOU ARE AMAZING! I wished I lived closer--those sound like the perfect parties. :o) Thanks for sharing your sage advice.

    I'm a party multi-lister too. :o) Great minds... lol.

  41. OMG I want to come to your party!

    Angela @ the Bookshelf Muse

  42. What fun party ideas! Thanks for sharing and ENJOY the festivities! :)

  43. Wow! You really know how to throw a party. I wanna' come to one of your parties. Thanks for all the great tips, including the writing tip.

    ~ Yaya

  44. I want to come to one of YOUR parties!! I am a list maker too -- I can't imagine planning *anything* without one.

    p.s. I LOVE games :)

  45. You've put me in a party mood. :)

  46. Sharon, I want to come to one of your parties. I saw York peppermint patties on the counter, and I love the games! I'm using one or two for my party! Thanks!

  47. You're so detailed! I love it! I'm having a small get together at my house this christmas eve and we're doing a traditional Daiker family meal! I'm looking forward to it!

    Just a reminder! Be Jolly By Golly Blog fest is this Monday! Melissa and I look forward to reading your entry!

    Unedited & Jules and the Stars

  48. Sharon,

    What fun ... A chocolate fountain!!!!! Love the toilet paper game!

    You really know how to have a good time for the holidays.

    Your decorations are really beautiful. I especially like your mantel.

    Happy Christmas to you and your family.