It’s that time of year again! A season of celebrations, vacations, gatherings, friends, and family. This time of year is full of planning and having fun. It can be difficult to make plans that are fun for everyone while accommodating everyone’s likes and needs, especially when the range of ages varies widely. Here are some tips for making sure that everyone is including, safe, and able to enjoy themselves.
1. Planning a pleasing menu. When planning the menu, it can be difficult to please everyone. Here are a few of the common crowd pleasers that all ages like: variety of salads (basic salad, potato salad, fruit salad, chicken salad, macaroni salad, etc.), chicken tenders (good warm or cold), charcuterie boards, breads (rolls, biscuits, muffins, etc.), and cookies.
2. Plan activities for everyone. Have activities for the kids like coloring books or outdoor games (tag, bubbles, hopscotch, etc.). Also have activities for the preteens and teens (group gaming, special movie, etc.). And/or you could have games for the family like charades, what do you meme, pictionary, or would you rather.
3. Be considerate of guests who can’t or don’t drink alcohol. Have options available for them as well.
4. Remember to make safety a priority when decorating. Keep in mind that if you have guests with walkers, wheelchairs, or canes you do not want things like cords, cables, and decorations in the walkway where they could cause them to trip. Also keep in mind that if anyone has seizures, you don’t want any decorations with rapidly flashing lights.
5. Keep in mind that some of the more prevalent allergies can ruin a party for your guests, yourself, or both. Know that some guests may be allergic to flowers or strong smells and be mindful of that as well. Stick with candles and air fresheners that smell like baked goods or fruits instead of flowers or perfumes. Remember other allergies like nuts, seafood, and sugar (for diabetics) and offer labels and other options for these guests.
6. Plan for a time that is comfortable for everyone. If you know that some of your guests eat earlier or later than others or they are worried about driving after dark, then plan your gathering for a timeframe that accommodates their needs.
7. Remember to go with the flow. If you are inviting the people you love and care about, their presence should be a blessing not a burden. Even if they require extra accommodations, remember it is worth it to have them there, comfortable, and able to enjoy and be enjoyed.