The sweet spot for our child-inclusive parties is a Sunday morning or early afternoon. If there are many children I aim for a morning time of 10:00 a.m. because no one is tired, cranky or overly hungry at that time (adults and children alike). I serve plenty of coffee for the adults and try to put out at least one or two quiet kid activities to keep chaos to a minimum (usually play dough and/or blocks or trains). The expectation is that some families will come early and others will come late and stay late. I usually add an ending time on the invitation just so we have some idea of when we’d like to all head home and finish off the weekend.
The benefits of a Sunday are that people tend to have fewer music or ballet classes. Also, this time of you rarely have to worry about soccer games. Hockey players will just have to show up late. With a Sunday morning party, no one stays too late since the week is about to come crashing down upon us and everyone likes to finish off their weekend doing their usual routines.
We’ve had a variety of winter parties in the past. Usually I have one daytime/weekday party such as the holiday photo shoot and one weekend party so we see all the better halfs and the beyond better halfs of each family. A favourite party is the cookie swap party. Everyone bakes two or three batches of cookies and brings them to the party. The guests then assemble cookie plates we wrap them up with pretty cellophane, maybe fabric this year to be more eco-friendly, and tie the top with ribbon and they make perfect hostess gifts to bring wherever you are going. I always let people bake or buy cookies (because not everyone loves to bake).
For a party like this I have a couple food rules. Everything has to be finger food. I try to make some warm dishes and the rest are crudites, room-temparature, cold finger foods. I’ll put together a menu for you in the next coming days.
These parties are usually thrown together last minute so I send out an evite and the more the merrier but you can also keep the party going with just 3 or 4 families.
Bon appetit. ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)