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Let’s first get something out of the way. I am a Green Bay Packers fan. Hopefully I’m not bursting anyone’s bubble here, but they did not make it to Super Bowl this year, with or without Brett Favre. In fact they weren’t even close. But as a football fan in general, I still plan to watch the BIG game and have a little party with my friends. And of course a party of any kind can be organized, right?

Whether you are a fan of the game, the commercials, the food, or the social aspect of this football event, it is important to recognize that adding a little organization to the equation can make everyone’s evening more enjoyable. So I’ve decided to write up a handy post about how you can organize your time, money, and space all when it comes to your Super Bowl event.

football-game

Get the facts straight

First let’s cover the basic facts you need to know:

  • The Game: Super Bowl XLIII
  • The Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals
  • The Date: February 1, 2009
  • The Time: 6 p.m. EST
  • The Network: NBC

Organize your time

Preparing for parties can be stressful, especially if you plan to have a lot of people over. Here are some easy tips to help you manage your time as you get ready for the big game.

  • Make lists. Write down who is invited, who is actually coming, how many adults vs. kids you will have, and when everyone plans to arrive. This helps get your mind organized and ready to move on to actually planning the party.
  • Figure out what you need to buy in advance. Don’t save your grocery trips for Sunday afternoon!
  • Make a game-day food preparation schedule. Figure out what needs to be prepared, how long it will take, and who you will have helping you. You don’t want to get caught a few minutes before the game realizing that something you were hoping to make takes longer than you actually have. Also be sure that the person preparing the food (you?) will be finished in time to watch the game.

Organize your money

It’s okay to not want your party to burn a large hole in your wallet. Read on to learn some money-saving tips you can adopt for your Super Bowl party.

  • Take advantage of Super Bowl sales. Many stores offer common party foods and drinks on special sales this week. Be sure to look for soda, chips, dips, and other foods that have a reduced price.
  • Serve simple inexpensive appetizers. Don’t feel like you need to prepare a grandiose feast. Most people would probably prefer to just casually graze on appetizers all night anyways.
  • Ask people you invite to make a contribution. Plan your Super Bowl party to be a potluck and ask each family to bring a dish to pass. If this method won’t work, consider asking for a small monetary donation to help contribute to your costs (especially alcohol, since this is a lot more expensive).
  • Order pizza (or something similar). Want to be really simple and have everyone basically do the work for you? Order take-out at the party and split the cost right then and there among all the people you invited.

Organize your space

Super Bowl parties occur in a number of venues that range from bars to restaurants to homes. If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party this year, then the space in your home needs to be prepared to handle the extra people, not to mention the food and beverages. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be sure you have good seating for everyone. If you need to borrow chairs or even pillows, then do so. It’s a long game and most people will want to sit down. Rearrange your furniture if you have to.
  • Check to make sure all the seats have a view of the TV. Yep, you don’t want to miss that Hail Mary pass at the end of the 2nd quarter. Also make sure your TV’s volume or speaker arrangement makes it possible for everyone to hear above all the socializing (see the next point).
  • Make it clear which rooms are set aside for watching, cooking, and socializing. I’ve been to Super Bowl parties where everything happened in the same small room and it was really hard to focus on the game. People totally uninterested in the game (which is fine) were pretty distracting to those trying to pay attention because they basically had nowhere else to go.
  • Clear enough table and counter space for food and beverages. Create a buffet style method of serving, provide the necessary utensils and plates, and then ensure people have a place to put their food once they return to their seats.

Reader Reflection

Which team do you plan to cheer for in Super Bowl XLIII?

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Christmas is in less than 3 months. Let me repeat that: less than 3 months. I’m not trying to give you a heart attack. I actually want to help you prevent a heart attack by providing a tip to promote a more relaxed holiday shopping season this year.

Who likes to shop on December 24?

I’ve been there, perhaps you’ve been there. Waiting until the very last minute might land you some amazing deals, but at the same time this common practice can also create immense amounts of stress and diminish your enjoyment of this fun holiday. A few years ago I decided to change my approach to Christmas shopping. You’re not quite ready to start thinking about Christmas, you say? Let’s just enjoy Autumn for a while? That does sound nice. But I ask you to consider these simple steps I’ve outlined below, because they might just help your Christmas be a little merrier this year.

  • Make a list. Around this time of the year (mid-autumn), I grab a piece of paper and make a list. It doesn’t have to be anything complex, and it doesn’t even have to contain any gift ideas right away. It just needs to include the name of every person you want to buy a gift for this Christmas.
  • Store the list in a visible place. Leave it on your desk, put it on your nightstand, or stick it you your refrigerator. Look at the list as you go about your day. This will serve to remind you of people on your list and keep their names fresh in your mind.
  • Add ideas to the list as they come to you. Whenever ANY sort of idea pops into your head, write it down on your list. Perhaps you saw a product on TV you thought your brother might like. Maybe you had a passing idea about a homemade gift you could create for your mom. Perhaps you saw your friend’s children playing with toys that you know your kids would love. Write everything down.
  • Whenever you shop, bring the list. Whether you shop at stores downtown or on the Internet, always bring the list with you, either in your mind or right in your pocket. You never know when you’ll see one of the ideas you already wrote down and have the opportunity to purchase it early (and maybe even on sale!). Furthermore, you might get additional ideas as you’re walking past endless gift possibilities down each aisle.

So what exactly is the ultimate goal?

If it isn’t clear by now, the goal of this practice is to be able to chip away at your list little by little, simply while you’re going about your normal daily activities. And when it comes time to officially go Christmas shopping, ideally you’ll only have a few things to buy and at least you will have ideas. The worst thing is to walk into a store with absolutely no clue what to buy a person. You’ll end up buying a gift just for the sake of buying a gift, and that is not really the point of gift giving. Allow yourself time to plan ahead and brainstorm creative ideas, and you’ll not only end up with a less stressful shopping experience, but you’ll buy better gifts!

The definition of an over-achiever

If you really want to be prepared for Christmas shopping, consider keeping a list all year round. Anytime an idea comes, put it on the list. And if space allows, buy Christmas gifts in July, even April—you’ll be so happy you did when December rolls around! I like to browse art fairs in summer or souvenir shops on vacation because there are always unique gift opportunities in those types of places. While this approach won’t work for everyone, it just might work for you and it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.

Go Digital

Are you trying to eliminate clutter or perhaps you are afraid you’ll lose your list if you just leave it lying around? Make the list on your computer. You’ll be able to edit it more easily, keep it more secret, and it won’t take up any of your precious space.

Reader Reflection

Do you have any creative ways to better prepare for Christmas shopping? Please share!

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