Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it’s likely you’ve been to a holiday party or two! If you’re one of those brave enough to host one — or more! — yourself, and aren’t totally sure about the all the particulars, look no further. The Fourcast has you covered for three different holiday parties this winter.
Party #1: The Small Gathering
Party #2: The Family Reunion
Party #3: The “2017 Can’t Be Any Worse Than 2016, Can It?”
Due to the enormous amount of work that comes with the last few weeks before Winter Break, you’ve probably neglected your friendships pretty handily. For upperclassmen in particular, the last few weeks (finishing college applications or writing the JRP) have been some of the most stressful of the year, so just hanging out with a few of your closest pals is definitely in order. This isn’t anything fancy; think big sweatshirts and pajama pants and just catching up. To set the atmosphere for a fun, relaxing day, pick and choose from this list of ideas and stir.
What is this Winter Formal diet you speak of? When you’re hanging out with your best buds, salad is not the way to go. Bags of your favorite candy and popcorn are perfect, but if you’re craving something healthy after binging on sugar and caffeine over the past few weeks, try a smoothie or fruit salad with winter fruit. Better yet, spread some cream cheese over some cooked Pillsbury dough and put fruit on top for a great partner to savory pizza.
Some Dance Dance Revolution is probably in order, and even if you’re totally terrible or get out of breath embarrassingly fast because the most workout you’ve been capable of over the past few weeks is running from the science building to the library and back. Pulling out any old throwback game (I know I’ve got One Direction Yahtzee around somewhere….that old classic must be due for a return) will also put everyone in a nostalgic mood. If one of your friends is great at a card game like poker or a complicated board game like Risk, maybe an all-day tournament is necessary — after a careful review of the rules.
A feel-good holiday movie is usually the way to go when it’s a bunch of friends hanging out, so movies like “Elf” or “Home Alone” totally fit the bill. Bonus points if everyone has seen the movie before and can recite half the scenes by heart (absolutely me with Elf). Another option is to watch a fun holiday movie in a foreign language for a totally new experience. Still got the weepies from an emotional time during the JRP? “Love Actually” always has you covered, and who but your best friends would withhold judgement when you cry every time Emma Thompson is on screen? It will prompt you to turn to your pals and say, multiple times until they smack you with pillows: To me…You are perfect!
Of course, the Christmas Pop playlist on Spotify is perfect if you’re still craving some Ariana but want to pretend to be a little more in the festive spirit than when you listen to “Side to Side” (although…that song should be celebrated as a proper holiday.). “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is a classic to belt out even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, because hitting those high notes is an accomplishment for anyone. If all else fails, choreographing dances to holiday classic “Drummer Boy” by holiday icon Justin Bieber will keep you entertained long after the party has come to a close.
No matter what holiday festivities you participate in during the month of December — Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or even just to celebrate the Earth’s trip around the sun this year — you probably gather with family to pass the long winter nights. The Family Reunion has its ups and downs: you probably eat more than you do all year long in just a week or so, and of course there are gifts showered on all the children present. Downsides include having to sit at the kids’ table and getting asked the same intrusive questions by each third cousin twice removed (Do you know where you’re going to college yet? What’s your major? Have you met any cute boys lately?). All in all, the Family Reunion is something any Hockaday student can navigate, with the right tools.
Many families have traditional recipes that they pull out each holiday season. Whether your grandma has a special cookie recipe she only pulls out after Thanksgiving until New Year’s, or your cousin has the perfect holiday barbecue sauce (come on, it is Texas, after all), or your dad finally gets to spend time brewing the perfect brine for a turkey, offer to help out with a family treat. Not only will you be able to tuck the recipe away for use in a college dorm or just whenever you get a random craving next June, but you’ll also spend valuable time catching up with family.
The biggest game was thinking that one drunk uncle was going to steer clear of any overtly racist topics. We played ourselves. Maybe steer away from any games that could launch themselves into political territory (there are so many possible jokes about the Monopoly man), so stick with a classic that even the youngest family members can get behind. Sorry is a great idea — practice that holiday forgiveness, and also beat your younger cousins handily! — if you’re presiding over the kids’ table this holiday season.
With a group of widely varying age demographics, you’ll definitely have some conflicting votes on which holiday movie to settle down with at approximately five p.m. One great option is the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which will appeal to the older generation; if the kids are ready to stage a mutiny if they have to watch a black-and-white movie, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” may be more appropriate. To satisfy everyone, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is perfect for getting in the spirit and provides multiple dance breaks.
Spotify’s “Christmas Classics” playlist is probably the safest bet, or if everyone’s settled down for their long winter’s nap, “Christmas Peaceful Piano” will keep the mood calm. Kids getting bored with music they’ve heard a million times on Sirius Radio, Spotify offers a playlist called “Christmas Stories,” so the little ones can listen to holiday tales while the cookies finish baking in the oven.
Well…2016 was a crazy one, that’s for sure. We mourned many celebrities and had a seriously rough political season, but there were good things too — the Cubs won the World Series! The Ice Bucket Challenge actually funded a breakthrough in ALS research! Pokemon Go happened! With such a crazy year in our rearview mirror, gathering with friends to look forward to 2017 is a must. Here’s how you can make that party the most memorable one of 2016!
Why not help people get a kickstart on their New Year’s Resolutions early with healthy, but still delicious, fare? Kale chips and açaí smoothies taste great, and the lack of heavy carbs will keep your guests going past midnight. Coffee with all the fixings will also be a welcome addition to the snack table, and different flavors of popcorn are perfect for watching the ball drop as the clock strikes twelve.
Cards Against Humanity is always a winner, and in reflecting on the truly crazy year we’ve had in 2016, it might not go amiss if your party guests are CAH fans. If not, practice counting down with a game of Uno, or maybe pull out party games from years past (Twister! Pictionary! Boggle!!) to celebrate all the great years we’ve had leading up to 2017.
“Bridget Jones’ Diary” is a New Year’s Eve classic, but if that won’t keep you up until midnight, a horror movie might be a better, if unconventional, choice. If your friends are “Friends” kinds of friends (see what I did there?), watching every episode of “Friends” centered around the holiday would be a fun option if watching one movie won’t cut it. “How I Met Your Mother” also has multiple New Year’s episodes, so you could just rewatch those and keep pretending the finale season never happened. What finale season? You got me.
This is the perfect way to use those “2016 Wrapped” playlists on Spotify. Play the top tracks of the year or pick a certain genre that you love and play all the hit songs. If you’re a little more ambitious, take your guests’ most-played playlists on Spotify and combine them for a brand-new playlist that represents your friend group’s 2016. Anyway, regardless of the playlists you make, know that by the time the party ends, the group will probably be singing terribly together. At least some things don’t change as the years do.
However you spend your winter break this year, the Fourcast wishes you happy holidays…and good luck with any holiday parties you host!
Maria Katsulos – Business Manager