Consider recruiting co-hosts to help with your holiday party rather than halting a tradition. Times are lean due to layoffs, company closings and escalated prices, but by pooling resources, a co-hosted holiday party won’t wreck household budgets. You can party on the cheap by rocking it like the 50s.
Are your little gray cells reeling with the idea of throwing a nostalgic 50s party by sharing the responsibility with your friends?
Step #1: Invite Friends to a Pre-Party Party
Invite your friends to a brainstorming pre-party party. Bake a cake and grind the flavored coffee beans, you’ve got planning to do. Here are suggested agenda items:
1. Print this article to refer to as a guideline during your pre-party party.
2. Decide on a date and time when everyone present is available to party. Will you co-host a Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve party?
3. Keeping your combined finances in mind, prepare a guest list. (Helping Hint: You may determine that most of your friends could attend a Halloween party, but couldn’t come around Thanksgiving or Christmas. Unless you plan months in advance, most people are booked for New Year’s Eve)
4. Write a commitment list. What foods will each of you contribute? Make a grocery list and divvy up. (All the co-hosts should arrive early to set-up and remain for clean-up.)
5. Go to a used auto parts store and purchase one hub cap for each guest. Sanitize it. (To be explained…)
6. Do you really need to order expensive party decorations? Again defer to your budgets.
7. How about invitations? (Helping Hint: It is cheaper and quicker to telephone anticipated guests than to buy and mail fancy invitations.)
8. Agree on a party theme. As a sample theme, I’ll show you how to rock it like the 50s. Even if you and your guests weren’t teenaged in the fabulous fifties, everyone knows rock and roll.
9. Drink coffee, eat cake and rejoice. You’ve planned a splendid party.
Step #2 Rock it like the 50s Costumes
If you voted to rock it like the 50s at Halloween, you made a wise choice. Fifties themed party naturally lends itself to costumed guests. Best of all, costumes need not be expensive. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Starched, cuffed jeans, long white starched shirt with tail hanging out and bobby sox.
2. Poodle skirts, with starched crinolines and saddle shoes (crinolines are petticoats). And yes, we used a plethora of starch in the fifties.
3. White t-shirt, black leather jacket and jeans.
4. Letter sweater (for the guys who kept “in shape”).
5. Have fun with hair styles! Teased beehives, flips, ponytails for the gals. Greased hair for the dudes.
6. Dark glasses add a cool touch to any 50s costume. Cat-eyed frames were totally in.
7. Co-hosts – fill a glass jar with bubblegum and place at the entrance for your guests.
Step #3 Rock it like the 50s Food
For a super easy, super cheap menu, enlist a couple guys to man the grill and take orders for hamburgers or hot dogs. Women co-hosts can take turns making French fries (Tip: Real potatoes are best. Potatoes can be sliced earlier and covered with cool water to prevent their turning brown).
We called all soft drinks “coke” back then. For authentic fifties cokes, have cherry, chocolate and vanilla syrups on hand.
You haven’t lived until you and your lover sips chocolate “coke.” Put two straws in one glass and wait for love tingles.
Create an authentic fifties dessert by putting two scoops of ice cream in a handled glass and filling with root-beer “coke.” Voila! With a cherry on top!
If you’re setting up tables for dinner, cover them with red and white checkered table cloths (Reminder: only if budgets permit).
Step #4 Rock it like the 50s Music and Dance
During the 50s every Friday night was official dance night at the Y-Teens. We’d take off our shoes and dance in our bobby sox till midnight. Thus the name “sock hop” was coined.
The most popular sock hop dances were the stroll, the Be-Bop and the jitterbug. If several guests remember don’t know how to dance 50s style, impromptu dance lessons can get pretty hysterical.
This era produced rock and roll’s greatest artists. Play any rocking thing by Elvis, Bill Haley, The Platters, Coasters or Buddy Holly. There are simply too many 50s artists to credit all of them.
Give your 50’s Party an Original Touch
Earlier in the article, you were directed to buy a hubcap for each guest and sanitize it. Spread a cloth or strong paper napkin inside each hubcap to use as a serving plate. When hamburgers are ready, wrap their bottom half with waxed paper and put hamburger and fries in the hubcap. Toothpick a couple of dill pickle spears and insert in hamburgers.
I’ve used this 50s touch at parties and have never seen it replicated. When your guests are ready to depart, send their hubcap with them as a souvenir.
Now rock the house and enjoy your holiday party!