The Super Bowl is right around the corner and if you’re one of the estimated 100 million-plus viewers, you most likely watch the game with friends and family. This year, try hosting your own Game Day party following these helpful tips!

_DSC66601) Get your food in order

Finger foods and dips are best for a game day atmosphere, and these are, happily, some of the easiest to prepare.

It’s a good idea to prepare some of the food ahead of time to lessen the day-of pressure. Chop the veggies and cheese a day or two ahead of time, and fire up the crock pot and prep appetizers the night before, like these fun Herbed Blue Cheese Puffs. Don’t forget the kids’ snacks, too!

pretzelsDips are great to prepare a day or two in advance to allow the flavors to really meld.  Your guests will surely ask for seconds of this unique date dip featuring Organic Valley Cream Cheese, and this bacon-y, garlicky Sun-Dried Tomato and Bacon Dip. (Vegetarians and vegans aside, not many will ever say, “No thanks, I’ll pass on the bacon.”) Pour some pita chips and pretzels into a nice serving bowl, pull out those ready-to-go veggies, pop the apps into the oven and you’re ready for a good time with good friends.

2) Treat your guests to the best ingredients

Resist the urge to opt for cheaper, national brands that you wouldn’t normally choose for your daily table. Your friends will appreciate the extra consideration you place on the ingredients—plus, by purchasing more for the party, you’re supporting your local farmers even more!

3) Think Eco

Use reusable dishware as opposed to Styrofoam or other disposable items, and ask folks to wash their own dish by placing a cheeky sign by the dishes to send the message with a laugh. Put your recycling bins in view or designate a place to put recyclables where you can deal with them later.  And ask guests to bring their own storage container to take home leftovers (if there are any!)

4) Create the atmosphere

We’ve all experienced the lull in conversations when people reach for their cell phones during commercials. Encourage guests to drop their cell phones in a basket at the front door to be with the guests who are present. Then think of some fun things your guests can do during commercials. Football trivia, anyone? Who can identify the most team colors in one minute? Is your group not really into games? Pull out a special wine or beer and artisan cheese pairing for halftime.

Rearrange your furniture to maximize your space, and if your kitchen tends to be another congregation point, place a TV in there. Designate a kids’ area and have a few activities to keep them busy.

Don’t worry about going all out with décor—people will be more focused on the food and TV anyway. Instead, show off Grandma’s unique serving platters and put out little signs in team colors describing the dishes, and maybe pick up some votive candles in team colors as a final touch.

Cheers!

Cheers!

5) Have fun!

Important house rules aside (like don’t let the cat slip out and always use a coaster), just go with the flow and enjoy the time with the friends and family in your company.

Be sure to check out more Game Day features on ov.coop/gameday

Game on!