Signs you’ve thrown a good party

We had a bunch of people over to our house to “celebrate” Independence Day. I’ve put celebrate in quotes, because we didn’t talk a lot about independence, or take part in any particularly patriotic activities. But we gathered, and had fun. I think we held a nice party, and here’s why:

  • No alcohol was required to get things moving. I’m certainly not a teetotaler, but its good to see people having fun without the social lubricant known as beer.
  • The party was winding down about the time we expected, but didn’t feel rushed. Folks showed up anywhere from 12PM to 3PM, and left when they felt like it. We figured people would hang out much of the afternoon, and it was around 6:30PM when everyone had left.
  • Everyone brought great food to share. I sometimes worry about a “bring something to share” sort of potluck. I worry that everyone will bring a bag of chips. When we do large family gatherings (e.g. Thanksgiving) we assign dishes to families, so that we know whats coming and what we need to provide. For this party, I just had to let it go, and it turned out beautifully. From roasted potatoes to taco dip to home baked apple pie, deviled eggs, and brownies–the only chips were the ones we provided.
  • It rained most of the time, but, thanks to a portable awning showing up unexpectedly, a large contingent of folks hung out outside. So despite my fears that our “4th of July Picnic” had been rained out, it worked out perfectly.
  • There were a fair number of people who didn’t know each other, but they all did a great job of introducing themselves and having fun with their new acquaintances.
  • Anne pulled out Apples to Apples which about 15 adults and kids have fun with for nearly two hours. That game is great because of a) the short learning curve, and b) the ease of adding/removing/substituting new players. I was afraid out new coffee table would be broken by enthusiastic players…Apples to Apples
  • There was time enough for me to learn more about people who were just acquaintances before the party. One couple, both psychologists, probably learned a great deal more about me than I did about them. The both had a very friendly way of asking very polite questions that just seemed to get me to rattle on for minutes at a time.
  • The last sign of a good party: trampled grass in the back yard. After the rain let up, a bunch of kids (some of us a bit bigger than others) played kick ball and ball tag. The grass is still matted down, and its wonderful.