This Friday, February 7 the Olympics will kick off with the opening ceremony in Sochi, Russia. I don’t know about you, but even though I’m not a rabid sports fan during the normal course of the year, when the Olympics are taking place, I can’t get enough. There’s such a feeling of community, watching the games, knowing that millions and millions of other people around the world are doing the same. If you want to create more immediate community, you could throw an Olympics viewing party! The games last for several weeks, so there’s plenty of time to plan and execute a small get-together with your Olympics-loving friends. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling.
Food & Drink
I love the idea of making a variety of foods from around the world to represent the different cultures participating in the games. Next to each dish, place a small tent card made out of white tag board, with the name of the dish, and the country it represents.
Canada: Poutine would be a real crowd-pleaser: French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Decadent and delicious.
Italy: Antipasto, the Italian version of the American deli tray, but with much more flavor and variety. Great for grazing.
Thailand: Chicken satay with peanut sauce is perfect to eat with your fingers.
Besides White Russians, which are not everyone’s cup o’ tea, you can serve imported beers (Heineken, Corona) and wines (Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc) from different countries.
Fun & Games
Create simple Bingo cards for the event you’ll be watching (you can use this website or this one to make your cards for free). For instance, if it’s the Opening Ceremony, one square can be for when a child’s choir sings, one square can be for when fireworks erupt, and so on, hitting all the typical fanfare that usually takes place during opening ceremonies. Or if you’re watching an event like figure skating, you can have squares for the execution of a triple lutz, when someone falls, or when an announcer declares that a skater was “under rotated.” (You can also make this into a drinking game instead of Bingo.) The first person to hit Bingo gets the evening’s gold medal (if you’re not feeling crafty, you can buy these at the dollar store or maybe even Goodwill) and a bottle of booze. Update: we’ve created Bingo cards FOR YOU, just click on over to this post.
If you’re seriously dedicated to all things Olympics, you could make up a set of trivia questions about past Olympics, or current athletes. Questions like, what year was Nancy Kerrigan attacked by Tonya Harding’s ex-husband? Name two of the four events in which Jesse Owens medaled in during the 1936 Olympics. Split the party into two teams (or more if it’s a large crowd), and the winning team gets to carry Olympic torches around for the rest of the party:
Decor & Music
Decorate using flags from different countries. This fantastic site has free flag printables in large sizes–tape to your front door to greet guests as they arrive, or mount on tag board and prop up on the refreshments table. You can also print smaller flags and string them together as shown here. Simply print out small flags, leave a little extra paper on one end, and wrap the extra paper around a piece of string or twine, gluing it to the back of the flag. Space the flags evenly, then drape across the wall, or in doorways. Another option is to use the Olympic rings as decor.
Make them out of fabric, pipe cleaners, paper–there are so many different options. Not surprisingly, Pinterest is a great resource for this.
Don’t forget the tunes! You can make a mix to play in an area of your home that isn’t near the television, but where guests might congregate–the kitchen, for instance. Songs that have to do with winning or being victorious or even that mention the word “gold”: Journey Don’t Stop Believin’; The Black Keys Gold On The Ceiling; Jay-Z Run This Town; Queen We Are The Champions; Eminem Lose Yourself, etc. Who else has ideas for a fun Olympics viewing party? Tell us about it!
Happy hosting and go Team USA!