Throwing a Labor-Day Party

Monday August 27, 2012

For as hard as Americans work, it’s a good thing there’s a national holiday to commemorate the contributions the workforce has made to the welfare of the country. For more than 100 years, Americans have been celebrating Labor Day. From street parades to in-home gatherings, we sure know how to observe this holiday the right way. If you’re one of the millions of people who will be hosting a Labor Day party at your home, pay attention: There are ways to take the labor out of planning, while keeping your home in tip-top shape. Here are some tips to help you throw a labor-free soiree to honor that little thing we call work.

Throw an Outdoor-Only Party

Nothing typifies a Labor Day party quite like a backyard gathering. Plus, it’s a simple way to stick to your labor-free regimen, as an outdoor party requires little-to-no effort decorating. You can let the natural scenery do most of the work. An added bonus is that you won’t have to worry about cleaning indoors. Of course, you’ll need to keep the path to the restroom clean, but that’s miniscule compared to having to clean your entire home.

Spruce Up Your Backyard

If your backyard needs some grooming, you could always spend a day prior to Labor Day tidying up the outdoor digs yourself … or you could hire some help. We know: Labor Day is all about not working, right? Luckily, Labor Day falls near the beginning of a new school year — the perfect time to solicit the help of high school teenagers or college-aged students looking to make a little extra cash.

Outfit Your Backyard

While the natural setting of your backyard should suffice as decoration, as with any party, it’s important to have ample seating for your guests. You don’t necessarily need a seat for everyone, but you should at least have enough seats for the majority of your guests. If possible, create several different seating areas to give guests a feeling of coziness. An effortless way to create multiple seating areas is to bring any indoor seating you feel can safely translate to your outdoor space. When arranging your furniture, it is also important to leave a clear pathway between furniture so guests can easily navigate around the yard.

Formulate a Food Plan

There’s no law that says you have to provide all of the food if you’re hosting a party. To keep the food options straightforward and hassle-free, you can always have a potluck. If that’s not your style, other undemanding options include assigning a specific dish or specific course to each person, while you handle the entrée or main course. Some food assignments to consider are salads, chips and dip, finger foods, barbecue and desserts.

Make the Entrée Beforehand

While Labor Day parties often encompass traditional barbecues, who wants to spend the entire party manning a hot grill? An alternative and labor-free option is to prepare an entrée ahead of time that can easily be cooked in the oven, such as lasagna or enchiladas. You can also take advantage of a slow cooker, which literally does all the work for you. Ribs and pulled pork are great options that will come out tender and flavorful.

Keep the Bar Simple

There’s no reason you need to provide enough beer, wine, liquor and mixers to appease everybody’s drink of choice. In the spirit of keeping it laid-back and labor-free, choose a signature drink, such as mojitos, hard lemonade or spiked punch, and make a large batch of it ahead of time. You can also skip the mixed drinks altogether and simply serve a variety of beer and wine. Remember to keep the non-drinkers in mind by having non-alcoholic beverages available.

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