Host More Parties With A Year Of Feasting: A Hospitality Challenge, you can play along with, 12 feasts in 12 months.
What if parties were more than just a stressful event that left you worrying about the menu, and the decor, and the expense? What if parties were more like get-togethers where you actually had a chance to re-connect and connect with old and new favourite people? What if they were the occasion where real community was created in your life? What if feasts became the place of joy, and laughter, and even tears sometimes because they were all about creating a space to really do life together? What if our hospitality really was us making room in our lives for our people, our tribes, our family, our friends, our peeps? What if we created the time and space to really be with people, and we did it all over delicious food? What if we could host more parties?
I’m declaring this A Year Of Feasting -on foods and friends! (Although we won’t actually be eating any friends -in case you were worried.). Let’s have host more parties!
And…I’m challenging you to do the same.
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Would you join me in a year long challenge to create feasts? My goal is one per month -12 feasts in 12 months!
Host More Parties
There will be all different kinds of entertaining over the year. Some fancy, and some not fancy. Some with kids, some just with grown-ups. We’ll eat some breakfast, some lunch, and some dinner. We’ll cook some fancy food, and we’ll order some take-out. For some we’ll set some gorgeous tables, and we’ll just sit down on some blankets in the middle of our lives for a picnic. We’ll splurge on some special things, and we’ll be frugal on some things. But hopefully, above all, we’ll have some big fun!
Why We Are Doing This?
This summer my husband and I were talking, about the big things, mostly about where we’d lost our way a little as a couple. And one of the things we talked about was how we don’t really have enough fun anymore. We’re all business too much of the time. We’ve come through the babies and small children phase and now we’re firmly into the school age kids phase. And so much of our time has become all about the business of running a family. And it’s good, these are the years to pour into our kids. But, we don’t get out much. It’s hard when you don’t have a good sitter, and your friends don’t either, and you’re always tired or busy with things like Netflix…anyone else out there in this stage too?
And during our introspective conversation we decided we really needed to up the fun factor. My sweet husband said to me “I really like cooking with you.” And we remembered the first dinner party we threw together way back when we were dating. I made him buy white cloth napkins that we still have. And we determined as we kept chatting that night that we really should get back to entertaining, and connecting with our peeps in our home over great food.
That was 6 months ago…we’ve had 1 small dinner get-together since then. It’s time to get a little more intentional. And I thought you might want to join in too.
So the challenge is one party per month for a year.
Our Motto For The Challenge
I don’t want it to be all overwhelming for us.
It’s supposed to be fun. So, I’m giving myself permission for a few fancy schmancy ones, and a few easy-peasy take-out ones, and everything in-between. It’s about fun, and connecting with people. If it’s not fun we’re not interested. This will be our moto…although I am kind of a weirdo that thinks personalized menus are kind of fun. #sorrynotsorry
How You Can Join In
Here’s how you can play along. I will be doing an inspiration post at the beginning of each month. I’ll let you know what I have in mind for that month’s feast; a breakfast, lunch or dinner. Perhaps there will be a theme, a colour scheme, and I’ll share some menu ideas. I will also share some invite ideas, and we’ll all mark our calendars for that months feast, and go and invite our guests. At some point through the month I’ll have my feast, and share it on the blog by the end of the month.
- You can play along, and even share some of your pictures, or menus, or anything else over on our Facebook page or with the hashtag #ayearoffeasting on Instagram.
- You can follow Life is a Party on Pinterest where I’ll be adding lots of ideas for each month’s feast. There will inspiration there on everything from decorations, menus and recipes, invites, and music, to activities.
Do In Your Way
You don’t have to do it the way I do it, I just want to inspire you. Want to serve take-out or do potluck every time? Go for it. You might only want to do it every other month, instead of every month. Play along on any that you would like to, in anyway that you would like to…as long as you follow our motto…it’s supposed to be fun.
UPDATE: This post was written in Jan 2016. Here are the 12 Parties we hosted over the year.
We kicked things off with The Toast Party. This party just might have been the best of the whole year. It was a whole lot of fun, and deliciousness. It was a bit on the quirky side, since the entire menu for the night was toast, but that was for sure part of the fun. My guests were invited to bring their toasters, and their favourite bread. We sat down together and ate toast, toast, and more toast with every kind of topping we could think of. I highly, highly recommend this one. Toast parties should be the new fondue party.
For February we had a little party for two, A Romantic Night In. The menu was amazing, the decor so pretty, and the company, well my favourite. 😉
In March, we had the most beautiful Spring Brunch for Easter. We invited some really old and dear friends and had such a lovely time. I loved all the details in our spring table. We used some real tried and true recipes, and had time to really enjoy our guests.
In April, we celebrated my youngest daughters birthday. We had the great joy of going on a cruise with our friends for spring break in March, and we had so much fun that Maddie wanted to re-create the experience for her birthday party. We had a fun Cruise Themed Birthday Party, and invited her friends. The invites were cruise tickets, we had an elegant three-course lunch in the formal dining room, and finished it all with karaoke. It was so much fun, and Maddie loved it.
May looked a little bit different. I was reflecting on hospitality and the art of making people feel welcome and special. I shared how I was a part of a team that hosted a women’s getaway with my church, and some of the details of how we worked together to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
In June we connected with some old friends again with a dinner party. The menu was pretty simple -charcuterie board in the kitchen to start, flank steak salad, and the guests brought dessert, so I spent a little extra time on the table. I love how turned out, and we had a great evening catching up with some old friends.
In July, school was out, and we met some friends at the beach for a Summer Beach Campfire Picnic. I know I keep saying how great each party was, but this one was a real favourite of mine too. The decor was so simple and pretty, it was so fun to roast hotdogs on the beach, and we had a great time with the kids in water. It was so much fun we vowed to do it again before the summer ended. We didn’t make it back to that beach, but we will for sure do it again next summer. Perhaps it will be an annual event.
In August, we had another beautiful dinner party. My husband cooked -ribs, cornbread, corn on the cob; a classic end-of-summer bbq. With him cooking, I had time to set another really pretty table, and shared a few tips on how I do it on a budget.
In September my oldest daughter Paige turned 12. We had a special rock climbing party planned for her school friends a little later in the month, but couldn’t let the special day go by without a celebration. We invited our family and closest friends for a Pasta Bar. This was such a great party. Our guests loved the menu and getting to build their own pasta. We had three sauces, three kinds of pasta, and all kinds of toppings. It was a wonderful day of celebrating, followed by a great time walking in the forest, playing in the river there, and enjoying the last long warm days of summer.
By October, it felt like we’d done a lot of entertaining -because we had! We made October a little easier by ordering pizza, and picking up some donuts, and eating in the kitchen -for an Easy Fall Party. It was an easy menu, and gave us time for some fun with pumpkin painting and games. It was a lot of fun, and good to remember that we can still entertain, even with take-out.
In November we had some friends over for a Christmas Dessert Party. The baking was easy, we were excited to be in our newly decorated dinning room, and it was fun to do some holiday entertaining.
In December I hosted a Christmas Fondue Party. The food was so good, and I love a party where you can be a guest too, since everyone is cooking for themselves.
Lessons Learned From Hosting More Parties
What did we learn from our year of feasts, from accepting the challenge to host more parties? What we already knew really -that there’s nothing better in this life than building loving, caring community. We loved connecting and reconnecting with our people. Preparing something special for them, enjoying a meal together, and the rich, rich conversation that happens around a dinner table were a lot of fun. We were reminded by them who we were, and what we love, and what we’re about. Was it a challenge each month to throw yet another feast? At times yes, but it was also often the highlight of the month. Like most good things, it was a lot of work, but it was certainly worth the effort. And, without reservation, I highly recommend the challenge. Host more parties.
With a year of feasting and a plan to host more parties, life really is a party!