[originally published on HelloGiggles.com]
I love a good party. Birthday parties, Halloween parties, Christmas parties—I’m a big fan. But it’s always around this time of year—when the holiday season is behind us and the celebrating dwindles—that I start to get a little bummed. Getting amped up in January can be tough, so why not find cause to celebrate!?
Here are 15 everyday parties you should throw this year, because life is too short to celebrate according to someone else’s schedule.
1. Galentine’s Day Party
Don’t have a Valentine this year? No sweat! Grab your girls and gather ’round the heart-shaped piñata for Galentine’s Day: a gal-pal only version of the lovey-dovey holiday. Do a movie marathon (slasher films are great if you’re feeling particularly unromantic), go crazy on chips and guac, and kick back with your girlfriends. Take the party as an opportunity to thank your besties for their friendship, and tell them how much they mean to you—because last time I checked, a night at home with all your buddies was way more fun than a blind date and a mediocre meal.
2. Women’s Health Pink Party
One in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lives, so it’s extremely important to check yourself regularly for any lumps or abnormalities. Not sure where to start? What better way to remind everyone about breast health than to throw a soiree! Organizations like Checkyourboobies.org will help you coordinate an exam party, and will even send out an instructor and survivor to demonstrate. Get creative with pink decor and foods, and maybe even some boob balloons.
3. Favorite Things Party
This party is a great alternative to buying birthday or Christmas gifts for all your friends. Invite everyone over for a favorite things party, where each person brings five of their favorite item (set your own price limit, but under $5 usually works well). Write every guest’s name on a five different slips of paper, then mix them up in a bowl. Have everyone draw five different names, and distribute their gifts to those five people. It’s fun to see what your friends come up with, and everyone leaves with a little something special.
4. Stock the Bar Mixer
Maybe you’re a master at mixing up a Manhattan. Maybe you’re completely inept when it comes to shaking and stirring your spirits. Whichever it is, a cocktail swap is a great way to share recipes and show off your skills. Have everyone bring the goods to make his or her drink of choice, then take turns mixing them up for each other. Don’t forget to have everyone bring copies of their recipe to leave behind and share with guests. If you’re new to your home, make it a “Stock the Bar” party, where everyone leaves the ingredients for their creations behind for your wet bar.
5. Self Defense Party
Women’s self-defense is no joke, and is also something we see far too little of in public education. To remedy this, get your friends together for a training party! Organizations like the YWCA offer classes for women aged 13 and older. And let’s be real—what’s more fun than feeling strong and empowered by your own strength.
6. Sock Exchange
Think Dirty Santa, but with socks. Have everyone bring a wrapped pair of the craziest, softest, whatever-est socks they can find. Draw numbers, and have number One choose the first gift. Number Two can either steal that gift, or open a new one. Once all the numbers have chosen, number One gets to go again! Socks are locked on the third steal.
7. ’90s Throwback Party
This party is my favorite party, I daresay. Why? Because it’s a living time capsule of everything awesome! Make a playlist of all your favorite ’90s music (okay, you can throw some stuff from the 2000s in there, too), pull out your overalls/Jincos/scrunchies/floral dresses/ flannels/etc., and do a ’90s TV marathon. Picks include My So-Called Life, Dawson’s Creek, Saved by the Bell, Ready or Not, and Reese Witherspoon’s film debut, The Man in the Moon. For snacks? Gushers, Dunkaroos, and Surge, of course.
8. Clothing Swap Party
Got old clothes you need to get rid of? Need a new outfit? Before you hit the store, throw a clothing swap. Have everyone bring what they don’t wear anymore, hang all the items up for browsing, and spruce up your bedroom for a changing area. You can either trade directly, or give everyone tickets to redeem for new items. Donate whatever’s left over to your local clothing drive or women’s shelter.
9. Wine and Cheese Tasting
A perfect opportunity to act and feel like a real grown-up while simultaneously consuming too much wine and cheese. Have everyone bring a bottle to share at the beginning of the evening, then bring out three or four nice bottles to sample for the main event. Visit your local wine store for suggestion on pairings, and if you really feel like doing it up big, ask around for sommeliers to lead the tasting.
10. Mean Girls Party
It’s October 3rd! YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. Grab your best gurlfrands and invite them over for happy hour (which is from 4-6!), enough cheese and crackers for like eight people (do you think that’s enough?), and a copy of Mean Girls! Just remember: on Wednesdays, we wear pink.
11. Packing Party
Moving sucks. That’s the long and short of it. But it doesn’t have to! Next time you’ve got a house full of STUFF to relocate, invite friends over for a packing party. Once you identify anything you don’t need anymore, offer it up to your friends as fair game. Find out what your buds like to sip and snack on, and pick it up for the party. Throw on some good music, and spend the evening chatting, packing, and organizing. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the time goes by.
12. Crock Pot Cook-Off
Get your buds together and have everyone make a crock-pot (or stove-top) dish to share. Maybe it’s their take on spicy buffalo chili. Maybe it’s a nod to their heritage with a traditional dish from their family. Maybe you see what everyone can come up with using the same 10 ingredients. Whichever route you chose, be sure to share the recipes with everyone at the end of the affair. Winner gets a tricked-out spatula.
13. An Every-Bachelorette Party
Bachelorette parties are awesome, and as far as I’m concerned, a single lady is a bachelorette even if she ISN’T getting married. Why wait for that phase of your life to celebrate you?! Get your “non-maids” together, pick up some tacky decorations from the party store, and celebrate your single-dom. Whether you do a big group destination getaway, go all out on a staycation in your city, plan a camping trip, or just have everyone over for cake and games, an Every-Bachelorette Party is an awesome way to affirm your choice to keep on rockin’ it, solo style.
14. Community Build Party
If you aren’t already plugged into your community through volunteering, take this opportunity to dive in with friends. Whether you help out around a community garden, volunteer at a playground build, or all sign up to be reading buddies together; volunteering with friends gives you a way to share your experience. Tip: if you get a bunch of people to join your cause, some community outlets will sponsor you by donating tools, materials, shirts, or lunch the day of.
15. New in Town Party
Making friends in a new city can feel impossible at times. To remedy this, invite your buds over for some mingling. Have everyone bring a friend or two, and encourage everyone to meet someone new. Maybe you’ll find a new BFF neighbor, or running partner!
However you choose to celebrate today, make it your own! What’s your favorite everyday party?