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How We Plan to Celebrate Super Bowl During COVID

Let’s face it, COVID has changed how all of us live our lives. And this includes how we get together and celebrate even the little things in life. Since the Super Bowl is almost upon us, this is something we have certainly been thinking about recently. We usually go to a big Super Bowl party every year with friends and family. But this year it seems that may not be the best way to celebrate and still stay safe. So, here are the ways we are contemplating celebrating Super Bowl during COVID this year.

how can we Celebrate Super Bowl During covid?

The first thing we have to decide with regard to a Super Bowl party is whether or not to have a socially distanced party or celebrate it virtually. The decision will not be the same for all of us, but ultimately you need to decide which of these options makes the most sense for you and your family.

If the socially distanced Super Bowl party makes the most sense for you, then there are some great ways you can make this work effectively and economically. These include:

  • Provide football themed masks available for your guests or ask that all guests wear a football themed mask upon arrival
  • Masks should be worn whenever guest are not eating or drinking
  • Space seating areas 6’ apart for different groups (so that families can still sit together but still socially distance)
  • Set up smaller food stations in multiple areas of the house
  • Have a separate beverage station that only one person will be managing to minimize contact
  • Have different viewing screens in different areas inside and outside, when possible

However, if having a virtual Super Bowl party feels more comfortable for you instead, then that can be fairly easily achieved also. Some good ways to pull this off are:

  • Pick a designated time to begin your virtual streaming call with friends and family
  • Set up your food and beverage table within sight of your streaming device so all your friends and family can see how cool your football themed table is
  • Share food and beverage recipes ahead of time
  • Spitball games to play during commercials and/or half time
  • Participants in the virtual games can put money into the pot via a money payment app to avoid contact
  • Create some fun contests for everyone to participate in

super bowl party must haves

Once you’ve narrowed down which kind of Super Bowl party you’re having, then it’s time to dig into the must haves for a great party. All of these party items should be multifunctional so that you can use them for other things throughout the year. This way, you can help minimize the overall cost since you will be using them for more than just one party.

No matter what, there are a few must haves that can really make your Super Bowl party shine. These items should include:

  • Larger TV or projector for viewing the game
  • Super Bowl themed games
  • One or two good grills
  • Diverse grilling tool set
  • Party food & beverages
  • Serving dishes

TV or Projector Options

The TV will be the most expensive thing on the list, but there are ways to make this work. If you already have a great TV that will do the job well, then adding a projector might just be a great way to go. These have become much more economical in the past few years and can be moved around to so many different places. I found a great projector that comes with a screen for under $100, which I think is awesome. This way we can move it to a completely different room, or possibly even outside to show the game on the side of the house. And, this is something we could use all year long, which helps offset the initial cost.

But, if you don’t have a great TV, now is a really good time to buy one. The end of January through Super Bowl weekend is usually when a lot of companies have the deepest discounts on TV’s. So, keep an eye out for great deals on 65″ – 75″ TV’s during this time. They will definitely cost you more money than the projector, but this is another item you can easily use all year long.

Super Bowl Themed Games

There are plenty of games to choose from when it’s party time. So, if you already have some favorites, then start with those. For us, personally, there are two games we really like to play during the Super Bowl especially.

The football squares game is a huge Super Bowl party past time for us. This game can be played during Super Bowl, but also with all other sports games throughout the year. Each player chooses squares on the board they think will be winners and if they are correct they win the pot at the end of each quarter. Each column and row have on number on them and will denote the last number in the score for each team at the end of the quarter. This game can be a lot of fun, but get super competitive, so watch out! And this is a really good game to celebrate Super Bowl during COVID since you don’t need to have physical contact with one another.

Another favorite party game we like to play is cornhole. This game can be seen at parties and bars all over the US recently, so it is much easier to find now. If you aren’t sure which team you want to root for, then you can choose a cornhole set that is just sports themed so you can play it all year long for any football games. Overall, though, this is a fun backyard game just to have on hand for every day fun, Super Bowl party or not.

Grills

Having the right grill, or grills, is an essential part of any party, Super Bowl or otherwise. We actually like to have two grills on hand to begin with. One is a larger grill for feeding our whole family or party purposes. While the second grill is a smaller tabletop grill to bring out at parties or for traveling. If you don’t plan to do a lot of grilling throughout the year, then the smaller tabletop version may just be a perfect fit for you.

Either way, you can pick up a grill for fairly cheap in most cases. And since we prefer to cook with charcoal, these grills are usually a lot cheaper than the gas versions. Of course, there are also some hybrid grill options out there now that are charcoal but have a gas igniter, which are pretty cool. No matter which version, or versions, of the grill you go with, make sure it be used throughout the year to help offset the costs of the purchase.

Grilling Tool Sets

Once the grill has been sorted out, grilling tools are the next natural step. We prefer to keep two sets of diverse grilling tool sets on hand. A big part of this isn’t necessarily for parties, but they come in handy then too. But we use one set for indoor cooking/grilling and another specifically for outdoor grilling/cooking. Either way, these sets can be pretty easy to find and very cost effective. So, if you plan to have a Super Bowl party, this is when having more than one set can really help.

Getting a smaller set for more everyday use that has 2-4 pieces is a great way to start. But, if you want to get really fancy, you can upgrade to a huge multipiece grilling set with all the bells and whistles. In most cases, you can pick a pretty decent grilling tool set up easily for under $20, and sometimes even under $10. So this is one thing that certainly won’t break the bank.

Party Food & Beverages

No Super Bowl party is complete without a great selection of food and beverages. Of course, everyone is going to have a different idea of which types of food and beverages they want to have. But, here is a list of some of our favorite options:

  • Chicken wings
  • Chips
  • Cocktail wieners
  • Dips
  • Football cookies
  • Hamburgers
  • Hot dogs
  • Meatballs
  • Potato skins
  • Sliders
  • Beer (bottles, cans or a keg)
  • Football themed mixed drinks (Tequila Touchdown)
  • Wine

Ultimately, it’s great to have others brings some of their favorite football party food also. Since providing all of the food for a party can really do some damage to your budget, having a pot luck can really help offset the costs.

Serving Dishes

Once you have decided what food and beverages you will be having at your party, then it’s time to figure out what you will be serving them in. Some of my favorite options are:

  • Football themed party set (usually has plates, napkins, silverware, cups)
  • Large party napkins
  • Paper or plastic plates (different sizes usually come in handy)
  • Disposable silverware
  • Disposable Cups (with a marker to write guests names on the cups)
  • Tongs (disposable plastic kind or the metal heavier kind)
  • Football shaped chip and dip platter
  • Larger round serving platter or two
  • Tiered serving stands
  • Chafers and sternos for keeping food warm
  • Large cooler for beers and cold food

How to Celebrate Super Bowl During COVID Summary

Overall, there are quite a few different ways we can choose to celebrate Super Bowl during COVID. And each way will be totally up to you and your individual situation. But ultimately, the Super Bowl is a great time of year where a lot of us can get together to socialize and cheer on our favorite team. Along with laugh at some of the crazy half time commercials! But, because of COVID, we have to be a lot more careful how we celebrate with each other. Whether we celebrate by social distancing or virtually, there is still a lot of the same party items and food involved. We can stay safe but still have a great time. And here’s hoping the Super Bowl next year will be back to normal!

How do you plan to celebrate Super Bowl during COVID this year?

How We Are Planning to Safely Spend Thanksgiving During COVID-19

The holidays this year are going to look a bit different. Of course we all hope we will come out of this sooner rather than later, but COVID-19 has definitely affected every aspect of our lives. And a big part of that has to do with how we celebrate. Usually we celebrate the holidays in a larger group since we have a pretty big family. But since we are all still supposed to be socially distancing, that isn’t going to happen this year. So here is how we are planning to safely spend Thanksgiving with our family during COVID-19.

safely spend Thanksgiving

Some of our immediate family is within the same city and have been socially distancing. So, we are considering getting together with that part of the family for Thanksgiving. However, if we do, then we will still be changing up our configuration a bit in the name of safety.

Just because we aren’t supposed to be gathering in large groups in indoor, confined spaces doesn’t mean we can’t get together. It just means that we have to make our group smaller and get together in outdoor spaces instead. This actually works great for us because we have a large two story deck and one of my siblings has a deck and a screened in porch. So we have two options where we can seat family members and serve food safely.

Thanksgiving Food Stations

One of the ways we are planning to optimize either option is by setting up different food stations. This way we can control the flow of traffic into different areas to keep with social distancing practices.

One of the possible layouts for our different stations include:

  • Beverages section
  • Bread/rolls section
  • Cranberry/fruit section
  • Dessert section
  • Meat station (turkey and ham)
  • Potato station
  • Vegetable station

With this many different sections we are helping our family to safely spend Thanksgiving together. But, if we want to go one step further, we could also release one table at a time to get their food and drinks. This is how it is typically done in the catering world. And since I worked in that world for many years, I am very familiar with the tactics and smooth implementation.

Plus, if we all bring a few different dishes, that can help make Thanksgiving more budget friendly for all of us. We we could all definitely use!

Virtual Thanksgiving

Since not all of our family will be able to join in the celebration this year, we have to get creative. And since all of our birthday parties this year have been virtual already, we are getting pretty good at this. The important part is that we have still been able to see each other and celebrate, and it looks like Thanksgiving will be no different.

For the family members that aren’t going to be able to join us in person, we are considering having a joint Thanksgiving. Meaning that we plan to talk with them ahead of time about a menu. The goal is to try and have all of the same foods that we normally would so that we can experience them together still. But what that means is that we will have to learn how to make some recipes that may be a little out of our wheelhouse. Which sounds like a really fun idea to me!.

And on top of that, we are thinking about trying to decorate each table similarly. The hope is that this will make us all feel like we are in the same place celebrating.

Safely Spend Thanksgiving Together Summary

No matter what, this Thanksgiving will be different. But, this gives us a chance to think outside the box and come up with some new creative ways to be together. We will still get to enjoy the food, family and laughter just like every other year. But, we may not all be together in the exact same spot doing it. And that is okay. As long as we are able to find ways to safely spend Thanksgiving together, I am still excited by the holiday. And the joy it brings to all of us, especially in this very trying year.

How have you and your family decided to safely spend Thanksgiving together during COVID-19?

How to Celebrate Halloween Safely During COVID-19

This year has been a bit different for all of us. And with the holidays looming, most of us are trying to figure out how to approach them safely. First and foremost is Halloween. Yes, I can’t believe that it’s almost here either! But, the kids are certainly excited, albeit a bit nervous. Because even they realize that this year isn’t going to look the same as all the previous years. So, here is how we plan to celebrate Halloween safely during COVID-19 and still have a great time.

House Party

Having a house party may seem like the antithesis of how to celebrate Halloween safely, but hear me out. We aren’t actually talking about hosting a raucous house party here. What I mean by house party is a bit different in this particular context.

This house party will only include you and your family. The kids still get to dress up in costumes, so that is a huge plus. But, then they get to be even more creative.

Have each child go through ideas with you regarding how to decorate their room for Halloween. Maybe they like the haunted house idea, or a fun house, or something else entirely. Whatever they come up with, help them get the supplies they need to create their idea.

You will also take each child out, separately, to get the candy of their choice to pass out. That way it’s even more of a surprise for the other kids.

When it’s time to celebrate Halloween, have the kids dress up in their costumes. Pick names or draw straws to see who will be hosting the family in their Halloween room first. That person will go into their room and prepare their candy for trick-or-treater’s. You and the rest of the family get to trick-or-treat at that child’s door so they can show you what Halloween masterpiece they have come up with. After they have walked you through it, they will give you the surprise candy and then it is the next child’s turn.

You, as the parents, can do this with your room also to stretch out the holiday fun. If you have a small family with only one or two children, then you may want to consider sharing in the fun with some other local family members or a set of close neighbors. As long as you keep the group small and continue to remain safe.

Drive by

If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of tight knit families and kids, then this might be another good option for you. Talk to your neighbors to see who you can entreat to participate first. Of course, not everyone will be willing to celebrate Halloween with you by creating a drive by. But, for those neighbors that will, this could be a lot of fun.

How this works is that everyone who is participating will decorate their house for Halloween in some way. And of course, turn on the front porch light!

They should prepare small bags of candy to pass out to each person using gloves. These bags of candy should be placed at the end of each driveway in some sort of bucket or receptacle to contain them properly. And when the time comes, the participants can set up camp on their front porch or stoop to watch the show.

As for the families with kids dressed up in Halloween costumes, they will be the ones driving by. And if you want to make it even more fun, then decorating your car for the holiday will be even more exciting.

As you drive by each house, let the kids out of the car to show off their costumes while they pick up an individual bag of candy. They can talk to the neighbors from the end of the driveway, should they choose to. But this way, the neighbors get to see your kids awesome costumes and the kids still get to trick-or-treat. Safely and from a distance though.

celebrate halloween safely summary

Ultimately, there are different ways you can approach Halloween this year. And a lot of it will be determined by the ages of your kids and the area in which you live. While a drive by party sounds like it could be fun, our neighborhood doesn’t really have that many kids. So, it’s not something we are going to do. Plus, there are more potential health risks involved with the drive by option.

Therefore, we are planning to partake in the house party option. And I can’t wait to see what the kids come up with. Once we see how Halloween goes, then it’s time to tackle the rest of the holidays. This should really be interesting!

What ways have you contemplated to celebrate Halloween safely with your family this year?

Have You Considered Buying Family Gifts for Christmas?

With the holidays quickly approaching, it is time to start thinking about gifts. At least, that is what is on our children’s minds right now. From our perspective, trying to figure out the best way to approach Christmas gifts for the kids without killing our wallet is always a fun game. So, we are considering buying only a family gift this year instead of individual gifts. Here is our thought process and how we hope it might help us save some money on the holidays.

Costs

This may not be the most cost effective way for every family to approach Christmas gift giving. But for us, as a family of 7, the holidays can get pretty darn expensive. My spouse and I don’t usually get each other anything, which helps reduce our costs. But, if we did decide to swap gifts, that would just increase the overall cost of Christmas in our house.

The usual average that we spend per child is $40 – $50, which equates to approximately $200 – $250. This doesn’t include anything for us, but if we did, that would tack on another $80 – $100. This being said, what we spend is still a whole lot less than what the average American spends on Christmas gifts.

These studies show a few different figures for holiday gift giving. The majority of us plan to spend more than $1000 on gifts, or somewhere around $885 per person. That is insane!

For us, on the path to financial independence (FI), that is just not something we can justify. But, for those of you who do spend that much on Christmas gifts, then the family gift could really save you some serious cash.

Family Gift Options

In order to save some of our hard earned money, the option of just one family gift we can all enjoy sounds appealing. It also means less boxes, wrapping paper, tape and bows. After all, those cost money too!

A few of the options we are considering are:

ASTC Membership

This membership has a passport program that lets you use it at museums all over the United States, and in a very select few other countries. If you have a membership near you, then you can get into all of the other museums listed on the passport program for FREE. On top of that, once you buy the annual family membership, you get into that museum for free whenever you want too.

They also send out special events and discounts specifically for ASTC members that you wouldn’t otherwise get.

The membership can range in price depending upon where you live and which museum happens to be closest to you. For us, we have 3 in our immediate area to choose from. They range between $85 – $140 for the annual membership and cover all 7 of us. We purchased one last year to Marbles and go there quite often now. Since each visit to the museum would cost us $5 per person, no matter what, we make our money back in less than 4 visits. And this doesn’t include all of the other museums we have been able to use our membership at to get into for free. I really love this option!

Trusted Housesitters Mini-Vacation

We have used Trusted Housesitters for two trips now and it has saved us a ton of money. If we can find something close enough to us that might only be for a long weekend, then this may be the way to go. Since we get to stay for free when we travel through Trusted Housesitters, the only things we would have to pay for are the extras. We always pack food when we travel, so that cuts down on the costs. Ultimately, this option would still probably be the most expensive though. My best estimate on costs would be somewhere between $200 – $300.

Ping Pong Table

Getting a ping pong table for downstairs is something we have been considering for a while now. It is something fun that we could all end up partaking in, and can be done when the weather isn’t as nice.

I have been leaning towards one that converts into a pool table also, so that it would be multi-function. I have found quite a few used options that range from $75 – $200. Therefore, this might be one of the top runners also.

Family excitement

Ultimately, whatever we get the kids for Christmas, they almost immediately forget about. The toys end up on the floor, or broken. The video games get old and then they are bored. They just don’t have the staying power. And, it really divides our family since they are all off doing separate things.

We continually try to find ways to unite us and keep our communication at a high level for more family unity. So the idea of getting one big family gift instead of a bunch of smaller individual ones appeals to us on all levels.

Plus, if the gift is something we can all do together, or enjoy together, then it creates more overall family excitement. Since the holidays are supposed to be a time to celebrate family and those you love, this idea just makes more obvious sense to us.

takeaway

Overall, it appears that it will cost us less money to buy one family gift for us to enjoy versus individual gifts for everybody. Plus, the family gift will be something we can all enjoy together to create more unity in our family, as opposed to separate us. Since we are always searching for ways to save ourselves more money and create more family cohesion, this seems like a win-win to us.

Have you considered buying a family gift instead of individual Christmas gifts? If so, what was your thought process behind the decision?