As we get close to the end of the NFL season, we’re also approaching the end of the calendar year. Which means it’s the holiday season and we get the opportunity to mix watching football and homegating with holiday food and traditions.
Back at the beginning of the season I broke down some winning strategies for homegating and watch parties. So today I wanted to expand upon those tips with some additional ideas for how to take your homegating to the next level for the holidays.
Holiday Homegating tip 1: Holiday food and drink
I still stand by all of my food suggestions from my tailgating piece earlier in the season as well, however, with it being the holiday season, there are a few things to consider adding to your homegating spread to enhance the experience with some holiday flair.
First: holiday drinks! Now understand first, that a lot of holiday drinks are a bit heavier, so people won’t go through them like a cooler full of beers or seltzers, but they’ll definitely be crowd pleasers.
- Spiked eggnog is a great choice. It’s a classic and a lot of people really enjoy it.
- Hot Chocolate (with an option to spike it with peppermint schnapps or my new favorite Smirnoff peppermint vodka). This checks the boxes for both a holiday theme, especially with the peppermint, and is a nice warming option as temperatures drop outside.
- Gluhwein/Mulled Wine. This is a great choice because it’s usually served warmed, like the hot chocolate, but also has a really festive flavor and makes your whole house smell like the holidays if you make it yourself.
Second: holiday food!
- Cookies. Everyone loves a good Christmas cookie and there are so many different kinds, you’re sure to have plenty of options for everyone.
- Candy bowl. This one is a versatile suggestion because filling a bowl with Christmas colored M&Ms, Reece’s cups, or Hershey’s kisses not only add a tempting option to grab but also adds to the holiday decorations. A bonus option here is that it gives you an opportunity to try and get rid of any leftover halloween candy you’ve been using all your willpower to avoid eating on your own.
- Latkes. Christmas obviously isn’t the only holiday approaching, Hanukkah is also coming up and latkes are both delicious and fit right in with buffet style, tailgating-type food.
Holiday Homegating tip 2: Holiday Traditions
Holiday traditions are something that a lot of us enjoy, especially when you start to make them your own and share them with your friends and family. Here are a few that you could add to a football watch party.
- Gift Exchange. There are so many ways to do this that could be fun. You could do white elephant, or you could have people sign up and do secret Santa. Just using the game as an excuse to get together and exchange gifts is a perfect way to handle gifts with friends. Especially since most people will be with their families for the actual holiday.
- Ugly Sweaters! Instead of showing up in jerseys, tell your friends to show up in their best ugly Christmas sweater! It’s great for a laugh and you can see who the real fans are when they show up in an ugly sweater themed for their team.
- Game advent calendars. Make a four compartment stand that you put either shots or treats in for you and your guests and open each compartment with the corresponding quarter as the game goes on.
And there you have it! My suggestions for a perfect holiday homegate!