By Sue Ann Truitt, Etiquette and Entertaining Expert
The evolution of party giving has definitely changed in the last twenty-five years. At one time there were frequent lavish cocktail parties held in someone’s home or country club. These parties included engraved invitations, fancy attire and elaborate food and drink. The party calendar was filled with many of these described events. They didn’t fall off the pages of the date book but gradually have become primarily hosted as a wedding event. Parties have grown to have a more casual flavor – like ordering pizza on a ballgame night or for each guest to bring a dish for a dinner. Have the changes been grounded by economic influence, time constraints, or lack of interest in a more formal lifestyle? Regardless of the reason, party planners are looking for more creative, meaningful venues than those mentioned.
With the needs of community charities at an all time high, it becomes a gratifying reason to have a party. The following parties have been given in this area with assistance to a charity and fun for the attendees.
A Winter Solstice Party is given on the first day of winter and each guest is asked to bring a holiday present or donation for the chosen charity. The host and hostess furnishes a light supper consisting of winter food and drink.
A local garden club gave a party for the residents of a retirement home. The donated flowers were brought in containers. Recipes or instructions were placed by each container showing how to arrange its contents. Garden Club members assisted some of the residents in this project. Upon completion, the arrangements were placed on the dining room tables for everyone in the home to enjoy. With this event, Garden Club members were gratified in donating as well as knowing someone learned a new hobby. The residents enjoyed the fresh flowers. Helping a charity does not always need to come in the form of a monetary donation.
A group of friends joined together to offer a Progressive Dinner as a live auction item at their children’s school fundraiser. There were four couples involved. Each provided a portion of the dinner at their house – appetizers, salad, main course and dessert. The courses featured the theme of a holiday during the year. Starting with New Years Eve and concluding with dessert at Christmas. To the amazement of the guests, there was included in the auction donation a limo to transport the guests. It was a huge success, brought in a nice sum for the school plus a good time was had by all.
A lovely holiday luncheon was held at a local club to benefit a local ladies charity. Each invited guest was to bring a new item selected from a list enclosed in the invitation. These gifts were wrapped in holiday style and placed under the tree at the luncheon. A truck had to come to pick up the gifts for the ladies at the charity. Seeing the mound of beautifully wrapped presents made everyone feel gratified.
Giving is something we do for ourselves as well as for others. Think of a way you can use your unique, God given talent to the benefit of someone in need.