Winter is a bad time for a lot of things. We’re talking things like pool parties and form-fitting clothing. Those things just don’t generally mesh well with snow, below-freezing temperatures, and a sunset that occurs at 4 p.m. Luckily, it does go well with sports-watching parties. There are all sorts of great sporting events that occur from December to February. You’ve got regular season football and basketball games, but if you’re looking for something more special, the period from late December to early January is full of college bowl games. A national college champion is crowned in January. Then, early February brings the pinnacle of sports on TV (and also commercials on TV) in the Super Bowl. There are numerous chances to host parties for sports fans, but you’ll need more than just your big-screen TV (though that certainly helps).
Hand out awards
Not everyone you invite has to be a die-hard sports fan, but it certainly helps if a significant portion of the guest list actually cares about the result of the game. It also helps if you know a bit about each particular person’s fandom. If you want, you can even have a football party that also acts as an end-of-season awards celebration for your fantasy football league. The winning coach on TV doesn’t have to be the only non-athlete who ends the night holding a football trophy. You can get a nicer trophy for the winner of your league, and a funnier trophy for the poor unfortunate soul who finished dead last. Give an award for mediocrity to the guy whose favorite pro team ends up going 8-8 almost every year. Hand out a first aid kit to the guy whose team lost four different quarterbacks to injury. Have some fun with it, and there’s a lot better chance that your guests will have fun as well. Tease them without being mean. For instance, it’s one thing to note that a particular team really got bitten by the injury bug. But don’t prepare a ten-minute comedy routine devoted exclusively to brain injuries.
Set the mood
Believe it or not, most people don’t want to watch a football game via the light of your dining room’s gigantic crystal chandelier. Pay special attention to the way you light your house before guests come over. You may want to look into light diffusion and other unique lighting schemes. The room where you’re showing the game doesn’t have to be pitch black except for the light of the TV, but the TV should definitely be the focus. You’ll probably be serving food, so make sure to keep the food in another area of the house, one where you can leave the lights on. No one wants to spoon out bean dip in the dark.
You can find sports-themed decorations at your local party supply store if you’re looking to go the extra mile. You don’t have to serve up the party food on plates shaped like footballs, but it’s certainly a nice touch if you feel up to it. People notice the little things more than you realize.