Chips & DipAs you prepare to host your Super Bowl Extravaganza this Sunday I hope one, some, or all of the following ideas come in handy. And before we begin discussing party fare, here’s your handy Super Bowl XLIV (a.k.a. Super Bowl 44) cheat sheet:

Who: New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts
What: Vying for the title of Super Bowl XLIV Champions
When: Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. ET
Where: Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Fla. or on a television near you (CBS)
Why: For the love of football and very expensive commercials
How: Very skillfully

And now, let the party planning begin. As we know, kicking up our party heels is simple with a little advance planning. Some Super Bowl-specific ideas to ponder:

Food helps set the tone

You can go one of several routes when planning food for this year’s Super Bowl shin-dig, including the:

  • Pizza/buffalo chicken wings/chips and dip combination route, or the
  • Chili/cornbread/salad route, or the
  • Gourmet anything route, or the
  • Potluck route, or the
  • Any combination of the aforementioned items route.

Choose your party fare after considering what your guests would most enjoy and what will work best for the overall flow and atmosphere of the party.

Word to the wise: If you plan to order pizza, consider doing so on the early side of things. Otherwise you – and what feels like a majority of the people in the United States – will be on hold simultaneously, chomping at the bit to order a pepperoni pie.

Palate considerations: Depending on your guests’ preferences, you may wish to have a veggie and hummus platter, a salad, and fresh fruit on hand for those who don’t eat meat or who don’t squeal with delight at the sight of buffalo chicken wings with a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing.

To plate or not to plate: If you’re considering either a plated meal or a buffet, I recommend the buffet. This set-up enables people to eat when they’re hungry and snack at their leisure without interrupting the game or the general relaxed flow of the evening.

Seating is important

If you’ve ever planned a wedding or an elaborate party, you’ll know that seating can sometimes be the most “interesting” part of the entire planning experience. Thankfully, Super Bowl Sunday isn’t that intense (at least, in my household it’s not). But this momentous event does behoove you to have enough seating near your television for all of your guests if possible. If you don’t have enough chairs for all of your revelers consider asking a few guests if they’d be willing to bring some extras. You may also wish to rent chairs from your local party center or encourage those who prefer it to stretch out on the floor. If this is the case, some comfy throw pillows or cushions will probably be appreciated.

Keep the kids occupied

If any kids are headed to your house this Sunday, you may want to consider setting up an activities area for them to enjoy if they decide that watching the game isn’t of interest. Art supplies, toys, and some favorite snacks and beverages will make all the difference in keeping everyone happy. If you need some ideas for kid-friendly indoor activities, hop online or ask the kids’ parents for recommendations.

As for those non-football enthusiasts

Shockingly enough, there are more than a few people in the United States who do not care about the outcome of Sunday’s game…and even more amazingly enough, at least one of these people may appear at your door on Sunday with their enthusiastic counterpart who’s eager to see the game. In this situation, it’s ideal if there are two areas available for socializing: one in the room where the television is located, and one that’s elsewhere so the non-football enthusiasts can visit with one another without disrupting the game for Uncle Mike, who’s rumored to have once been part of the NFL draft.

A unique touch for your party

If you or your guests are especially excited about the big game, consider having assorted trivia questions (and answers) on-hand with gag gifts as prizes for those who answer them correctly.

Now, go be fabulous!

* Photo by nutmeg

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