You can make the first few days of the new year just as much fun as New Year's Eve by throwing a relaxing bash built around one of the weekend's big college bowl games.
- Here are some great party recipes:Cheesy Tortilla Spirals, Layered Monterey Pumpkin Dip and Maggi Cheesy Dip.
- Because the kids also have the day off (and may not be interested in college football), set up a kids' room with video games, board games, coloring books and snacks.
- Set up televisions in more than one room so that your guests can move around, get more drinks and still keep an eye on the action.
- You can also combine your bowl party with a New Year's event. Invite everyone to spend the night (a great answer to the drinking-and-driving problem).
- Stock up on all your party snacks such as chips, dip, crackers and drinks several days ahead of time. By New Year's Eve, the stores are going to be picked over.
- Arrange all your food platters (cold cuts, veggies and cheeses),and then cover them with aluminum foil and place them in the fridge until game time.
- Make sure you have a nice selection of both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Also have hot coffee on hand for those guests who are still recovering from the night before.
- Consider borrowing a large television (if you don't have one) with picture in a picture from one of your friends so that you can keep track of more than one game at a time.
- Decorate with cutout footballs, helmets and pennants from the local party supply store. Look for serving items such as a helmet to hold dip and a football-shaped bowl for chips, as well as napkins and plates with football art on them.
- Print out lists of the teams playing each bowl game (Cotton, Fiesta, Gator, Orange, Outback, Rose, etc.), and pass them out. Have each guest circle the teams he or she thinks are going to win each game.
- Award a silly prize, such as a Nerf football, to the winner after all the games have been played.