Holiday Game Night: perfect recipe

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Okay. it’s that time of year. Holiday parties galore, and you’re stuck in the in-between. That age between college parties, where all you need is beer pong and an inordinate amount of PBR and Natty Ice and you know everyone will have a great time they won’t remember the next day, and elegant upper-mid-20s parties where you need to dress up your house, your living room, and yourself to invite over intellectuals looking for some stimulating conversation and hearty laughs. You’re not quite married, not quite single, and floating in between here and There – capital T. Well, I’m here to help. As the perpetually single mid-20s gal with more class than her name and less eloquence than a married She, Follow these steps and invite your friends and almost-friends, and we’ll throw the best Holiday party they WILL remember and chat about for weeks to come. With equal parts class, fun, and pretension. Plus … everyone will be ENVIOUS of your new digs, let’s be real.

The recipe:
1. Holiday Jello Shot Cupcakes – to remind everyone of the good ole days, but also hint at the more classy evenings to come.

2. Board game of your choosing – to start the evening off slowly, and allow for the late-comers (those who haven’t figured out how sexy punctuality actually is.)
I, for example, love the game Cranium. It’s perfectly infantile that you won’t alienate your intellectually-less-inclined right off the bat, and it’s diverse and fun enough that it should both include and embarrass enough of your guests that everyone will be laughing. It’s a team game, meaning that late-comers can jump in on the tail end of a team as they enter. (not to mention that you can put late-comers on kitchen duty. “oh yeah! that goes in the fridge. here, why don’t you take out the chips and salsa? it’s already plated. just bring it over. then you can join John’s team.”) and automatically, they feel more involved.

3. Cards Against Humanity – the Apples to Apple for our generation. Immediate fun, enough vulgarity to satiate our inner-child, immaturity for our waning college partier, and camaraderie for our inner self desperate for a new friend.

Once everybody has arrived, you split up into whatever you need to for Cards Against Humanity. I’m not going to give you the instructions for CAH. If you don’t know the game, look it up. Seriously. it’s fantastic. Do you know Apples to Apples? It’s like Apples to Apples, but for the more risque’ among us. Do you see how I used that word? makes me seem more sophisticated than saying “vulgar” or “disgusting”. I’m going to be honest – you have to have some sort of awareness of the world around you to play the game well. I’m not saying complete awareness – you don’t need to be subscribed to The Daily Show on Hulu, but you should, at least, know how to pronounce “Joe Biden”. (Not even exaggerating. Have tried to play to game with some people who couldn’t pronounce “Biden”. Cue: eye roll.)

For optimal playing, I suggest talking it up early on in the evening, and casually explaining the rules then. Then watch as your friends attempt to explain the rules to other friends who may have come late. Then, of course, re-explain the rules right before playing. Make sure you understand all the rules before you explain because the optimal way to play is to have everyone at least a little warm and tingly, on the verge of drunk – but not white girl drunk.

4. Shenanigans – If you don’t know what it is, then you’re in for a treat. No, it’s not the word you’ll find in the dictionary or the restaurant from Super Troopers. It’s a game. and if you don’t know the game, you will know the game, and the game is fantastic.

This is the game to play when everyone is drunk. I mean Drunk. Capital D. Not dancing naked drunk or puking in the bathroom drunk. I mean adult-style drunk. When people start confessing deep secrets, or vocalizing the stream-of-consciousness within, that’s when you play shenanigans. All it takes is one person says “Let’s Play Shenanigans” and all you need is two other people to say “OH MY GOD YES,” because – and this is paramount – most of your party will say “wtf is that?”. and the response is “YOU DON’T KNOW?! OH MY GOD YES YES YES YES YES YES YES —-” and so on. And you will play Shenanigans. I will not betray the game of Shenanigans. I know a handful of you will know – or think you know – what this game is. I suppose you may be able to google it. But the truth is, as a huge fan of Shenanigans, I cannot – and will not – betray the rules of Shenanigans by telling you what Shenanigans is. If you know it, you know you know it. If you don’t, all you need to do is ask your host or hostess if they happen to know the game, and then you get to play it. And, trust me, from experience — a myriad of experience — Shenanigans is the best game to end the evening.

5. 5-7+ friends of your very choosing

Be sure to include a few friends from college, some close friends from work, and, of course, any friends from Life that you happen to have hanging around the place. You’ll need your loyals, who will laugh at whatever you say, your oldies, who will make fun of you at appropriate moments, and your newbies – people from work or wherever – the people you want to impress – so you can mix it up a bit because everyone knows a game night isn’t complete without at least one or two complete strangers. (and everybody know every party is better with at least two gays, if you aren’t already populated…)

6. Snacks and Alcohol

You’d think this would be obvious, but I must include it. Make sure you tell your friends it is BYOB – both to satisfy the child within who misses college, but also to make sure they have an alcohol they can sip on all night and enjoy. It is important to provide backups: a few bottles of red and white wine, a few bottles of beer of different flavors and, very importantly, hard cider. Most gals like to end with hard cider. I don’t know why. Possibly, they want to impress their dates and show they can drink until the early hours, but whatever. The more important tis that you have something to offer when people are reaching their limit, but the night isn’t over.

Also, snacks. People are drinking. Be smart. This isn’t college; no one need be puking in your bathroom. Provide carbs; fuck your friends’ diets. We need bread, and we need it pronto.

Lastly, always provide the option for a guest stay and never promote drunk driving. and use the jello shots however you’d like.

please comment with any opinions or requests, and please please let me know how it goes for you!

and i’ll teach you Shenanigans if you’re the only one of your friends who would know the game. Just Comment me with a way to contact you personally. My contact information is on my about page.

samcallahan@mac.com and i’ll answer your question.

xoxo
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