If you are anything like Himself and I (and our littles) the month of December is a whirl wind of busy and it feels as if you are always on the go. This year I am determined to change that up a bit and carve out some time to enjoy friends. We are always so busy with family obligations and commitments that we don't spend nearly enough time with our "family of our choosing"... our friends.
So this year I got the bright idea (hopefully so?) to host a holiday themed pot luck party. I wanted to do a theme, to kind of create some fun and excitement around an ordinary pot luck. So we decided upon Christmas Around The World. Each family coming is bringing a different dish from an area of the world that is traditionally made at either Christmas or Hanukkah. It should turn out to be a tasty evening for sure.
When throwing a pot luck you can either let the menu be carved out by the individuals ideas of what to bring (be aware, however, this can lead to everyone bringing a pie or a plate of cookies), or you can assign different dishes that you want people to bring (some people resent being told what to bring), or you can put guidelines or a theme. (this is my preferred method).
In the case of our theme from Christmas around the World, I instructed 1/3 of my guests to make an appetizer , 1/3 to bring a main dish, and 1/3 to bring a dessert. I allowed each of them to choose what region from around the world (this should make it fun). They are also going to bring copies of their recipes in case others enjoy the dish and want to make it at home.
We are also doing a White Elephant exchange (also known as Yankee swap, gettem keepem, and a whole host of other names). Essentially you set a dollar limit for a gift. Everyone attending brings one gift. you don't label who anything is from. Then you draw a names or numbers from a hat to determine the order that people pick a gift from. You can then either pick a gift from under the tree, or pick one that was already picked. We have a rule (some don't use this rule) that you can't "re-pick" a gift more than twice. So when a gift is picked a total of 3 times, its with it's final home.
The advantage to hosting a pot luck with a White Elephant type of exchange, is it lowers the cost of parties for all involved, everyone gets to enjoy a variety of good food, gifts, and camaraderie, and you aren't on the hook for the entire event. A win for everyone.
It does take a little bit of organization prior to the party but you won't regret that effort spent when you are enjoying a fun evening with friends.
If you've never hosted a pot luck party, here are some links you might find useful to guide you in your first endeavor.
How to Throw a Holiday Potluck Party
Pot Luck Themes
How to host a potluck
10 crowd pleasing pot luck themes
Hope your next potluck or first potluck as the case may be turns out to be just as much fun as I'm sure we will be having this month with ours.