Friday Fun (It’s the Little Things): Fancy Progressive Dinner

The weekend is here, which means it’s time for Friday Fun on  Joy Let Loose! This week I was remembering a Fancy Progressive Dinner my husband and I were part of many years ago. And I thought, “Why on earth have we not done that again?!” Because it was REALLY fun!

So because I want to do it again, I want to share it with you and invite you to think about doing it too! 

Fancy Progressive Dinner

Fancy Progressive Dinner

First, start by planning out your guest list. Who would really get into something like this? Is there a family you are trying to get to know? Add them in! This will work best with about four couples (or families) who live relatively close to each other.

Then, create your invitations digitally, or on paper.

Here’s what you might want to say:

It’s time for some Friday Fun!

What: Fancy Progressive Dinner

When: Friday, _________

Where: All of our houses!

  • Family #1 provides their home and the appetizers from 5:30-6:15pm
  • Family #2 provides the main course at their home from 6:30-8:00pm
  • Family #3 provides dessert and coffee a their home from 8:15-9:15pm
  • Family #4 provides their home & munchies/games from 9:30-end.

It’s going to be Fancy! So let’s pull out our best dishes and put on our fanciest clothes for a night on the “town”.

The Menu

Next, work together with the other people (a week or two in advance) to co-ordinate your menu. You want to find items that complement each other well, but also have options that work for everyone. Once the items are finalized, create menu cards to display on each table. I’ve created a sample menu you can use if you like it!

Fancy Progressive Dinner Menu

Download the PDF free!

The set-up

A while back, I posted about Family Traditions. Several of them could come in to play with this Friday Fun activity, including helping your kids learn how to properly set the table, and having conversation starters at each house. After all, it is never too early (or too late!) to learn proper etiquette, and the safety of friends’ homes is a great place for that. Also, spills and broken dishes are always forgivable; lifelong lessons need practice.

Spills and broken dishes are always forgivable; lifelong lessons need practice. Click To Tweet
Other ideas

There are as many ways to do a Fancy Progressive Dinner as there are people to dream them up. Get creative! Here are just a few ideas to start you off:

  • Base your evening on a Roaring Twenties theme, complete with swing jazz, mint juleps, and Gatsby-inspired fonts.
  • Follow an Indian theme, including flavorful curries and sweet punjabi lassi.
  • Make it a black-tie night, and make all of your decor black & white.
  • Incorporate a mystery party that requires numerous locations.

The possibilities are endless!

Fancy Progressive Dinner Follow-Up

Finally, it’s always a great idea to follow up a dinner party with a proper “Thank You!” And in this case, where several families had to open their homes and provide part of the meal, I’d suggest it is a definite must! Allow leftover menu cards to double as Thank You notes, and pop them in the mail 1-2 days after the event. Because the more you can show people value, the more they are built up. And the more people are encouraged to open their homes and build community, the more they will desire it. After all, it’s in the little things that we often discover joy. And it’s in community that we best let our joy loose.

It’s your turn: Have you done a progressive dinner before? What ideas do you have? Leave a note in the comments below.

Elizabeth Joy

 

 

Share Joy With Your Neighborhood: Be a Better Neighbor

Share JoyWe drove 26 hours to arrive at our new home. (That didn’t necessarily inspire me to share joy.) The twenty-six hours from Atlantic Canada to the Midwest were punctuated with traffic, laughter, phone calls about school enrollment, tears about leaving our sweet dog behind, pit stops, and the occasional complaint about broken air conditioning in August. It was trip to remember. The day we arrived with all of our belongings was the first day we actually saw our new home not on a screen. The close proximity of the adjacent houses made it clear we were going to get to make some new acquaintances, or even friends.

I wasn’t sure I wanted that.

My heart simultaneously mourned the loss of friends in our former town(s) and cowered within with a case of magnified introversion at the thought of the process of meeting another whole new community of people. Ministry and moving can take a toll. I reasoned to myself that this was merely a one-year lease, a stopping place on the way to our real new home. I was not thinking about how to share joy.

But within just a few hours of our arrival, we had already met folks on either side and across the street, learned about our neighborhood’s love of driveway parties, and received a plate of yummy cookies with water bottles to keep us going as we unloaded the truck. This resistant and displaced heart was soothed by welcome. That our neighbors would choose to walk the few feet it actually took to bridge the miles I felt between us spoke loudly to me.

You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.                                                    A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh  

I’ll be honest: sometimes I find it really hard to take those few steps. I often need a whole lot of mental prep to walk into new places with new people. Each person is different in that respect, and that’s part of my different. Sometimes I wonder why God calls introverts into ministry. It’s crazy to me how often it seems I’m thrust into life situations so challenging to that part of my nature.  Continue reading “Share Joy With Your Neighborhood: Be a Better Neighbor”