Planning a Neighborhood Round Robin
Organizing a holiday gathering is simple when others help with the hosting. Here are some pointers for planning a successful round-robin for you and your neighbors:
Early in fall, send a note to your neighbors inviting them to participate in an appetizer round-robin, where neighbors go from house to house (staying about 1 hour at each) to enjoy an assortment of appetizers (two to three per house). You may want to list several possible dates or just offer one date and see who can attend.
Six weeks before the party, send the participating neighbors a schedule for the evening. You may want to ask each family what appetizers they plan on serving to avoid duplicates.
When selecting recipes, think about the schedule of the evening. If company comes to your house first, you can prepare a recipe that has a little more last-minute fussing. If not, choose dishes that can either be completely prepared and refrigerated before serving or that can be partially assembled before baking.
A month before the party, make some outdoor luminaries for your walkway. You might want to tell your neighbors about this enlightened idea! Or if you're ambitious and there aren't too many families partaking in the event, think about making enough luminaries for each stop along the way.
The day before the party, do whatever food preparation you can. Set the table with serving trays, plates, napkins and utensils. Although the focus is on the food, you'll want to offer a variety of beverages as well.