7 Tips to Get You Ready for Game Day

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Prepare the grill, don your jerseys and upgrade your cable package, because it’s football season! If you’re the type of hostess who likes to make every occasion a little bit *ahem* extra, then you know you can’t just toss on the game, bust open a bag of chips and go about your merry way. Game day takes thought, after all. Every little detail matters when you’re preparing to root for the home team. Whether you’re nestling in for a watch party with your most fanatical friends or are heading out for some next-level tailgating, the following tips will help ensure that the game-winning vibes are ever in your favor.


  1. Plan Your Menu: Casual Snacks and Finger Foods—Finger foods on game day: how cliché. But think it through…nobody wants to have a sit-down dinner when the game’s on. It’s best to pepper the dining room table (or the card table, if you’re imbibing in the stadium parking lot) with portable snacks that are best eaten on the couch or while you’re sitting in your monogrammed tailgate chair (also a requisite). The hat trick of game day foods is as follows: chili, all things grilled and fried sides. You’re no basic fan, though, so don’t be afraid to make it gourmet with the help of everyone’s favorite hostess, Ms. Martha Stewart. Giving the menu your own personal flavor goes a long way!
  2. Think About the Details: Team-Themed Desserts and Drinks—Let your main dishes be of the handheld variety, but don’t forget to put a little thought into the extras, too! This is the place where you can get really creative and flex your crafty muscles. For example, if you’re a huge Ohio State fan, you really can’t declare it game day without some buckeyes for dessert. A diehard Bama supporter will find Alabama slammers a fun addition. Catering to a Clemson crowd? Obviously, you’ll need some paw print cookies. Let your team of choice guide you to a few unique menu items to get everyone in the spirit!
  3. Go Shopping: Upgrade to Party-Ready Appliances—If the idea of serving cold artichoke dip and queso sends chills down your spine, then you’re going to need to take a trip to the home goods store or ask to borrow some warmers from the best hostess in your contacts. Essentials include small slow cookers or electric warmers for appetizers and, obviously, a solid grill that can accommodate plenty of burgers and dogs. Make sure to put a deep fryer on your Christmas list for next season. Oh, and it should go without saying, but don’t offer to host the game if you don’t have a nice TV and the right channels.
  4. Decorate: Let Your Team Colors Guide You—Now for the fun part: décor! Everyone loves dressing up their space for special occasions, and you can do so much with your team’s colors. Make the décor somewhat subtle. Rather than choosing team-branded banners and tablecloths, subtly infuse a spirited color palette or team themes with banners and balloons for a more original approach. If you have kids on the guest list, you can make it super fun with a “concession stand” snack table and some football-shaped paper lanterns. Prefer a more adult approach? To make your home extra inviting for all, consider creating some spirited flower arrangements and lighting some aromatic candles.

  1. Coordinate Your Look: Sport Some Spirited Style—You’ve dressed the table and the living room, now it’s time to dress yourself. Of course, you can’t root for the home team very well unless you’ve got some sweet team gear. Not super huge on rocking jerseys and team tees? No worries. Pick out some cute monogrammed fall apparel—hello, hoodies, tunics, quilted vests and duck boots—so you feel comfy, cozy and cute. Select a few items in your team’s colors to keep with the theme. Don’t forget the temp tats.
  2. Reorganize Your Space: Make Sure Everyone Can Watch—If the party’s at your house, you have to make sure there’s enough space for guests to sprawl out and jump with joy when your team makes a great play. The key here is making sure that there’s enough seating surrounding the TV or that you have more than one TV throughout the house so that everyone can see every second. If needed, bring in some extra seats from the dining room so that everyone has their own space while watching the game.
  3. Be Considerate: Think About All Guests—We’ve all been dragged to parties and events that we weren’t necessarily into, and you’ll probably have a few less enthusiastic attendees on your guestlist. Make sure that there’s something for everyone to enjoy at your game day fiesta. Perhaps you could keep one area of the house, like the dining room or sunroom, game-free to accommodate for socializing and conversation with non-fans. Make sure to think about the kids, too. Some games and activities will help keep them busy if they’re too young to watch. If it’s warm enough, send them outside to play their own mini version of the big game!

Spirited Style for Any Sport

While we typically think about hosting game day parties for big football games, there’s no reason why you can’t invite your most enthusiastic amigos to watch the World Series, the NBA finals or even tennis or golf tournaments. The key is to keep the focus on the game and use everything else—the food, drinks and décor—to complement it. As long as you have a big, comfy couch and plenty of delicious munchies, your guests will be pleased even if your team loses. Fair warning, though: There’s a good chance your place just might become the new go-to game day hangout!

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