Planning a Progressive Dinner

Progressive Dinner Holiday Christmas Potluck Party Ideas MenuWhen was the last time you shared a meal with your neighbors?  It seems common in the busyness of life that relationships with neighbors have been reduced to a mere wave of the hand as we drive by.  A progressive dinner is a great way to reconnect!  Check out some easy ideas to set up a wonderful evening.

Decide to go big or small
You can organize a progressive dinner event for an entire neighborhood, or limit it to just your street or cul-de-sac. If you go big, it makes the most sense to divide up people into groups. Set your groups up so that people are progressing to houses that are close together (easy walking distance). You can have couples team up. So, if you have folks from opposite ends of a neighborhood that would like to be together, pair them with someone whose home is close to the other homes in the group.

Collect money contributions for beverages or main course using SignUpGenius Payments!

Divide and conquer
Decide how many courses you would like to have, and how many times you want to move to a different house. You can have as many courses as you wish and move as often as you wish.

Course ideas:
drinks & appetizers
soup and/or salad
main dish
dessert & coffee

Team up
The beauty of a progressive dinner is that ONE poor host is not stuck cleaning the house, cooking a four course meal, and providing entertainment. Everyone can contribute! There are many scenarios to split up the responsibilities of a progressive dinner. How about trying one of these:

*Four courses, four houses: each house has a different course.
*Four courses, two houses: cocktails and appetizers on the porch and soup/salad in the dining room at the first house; main course in the dining room and dessert/coffee in the living room at the second house.
*Three courses, three houses, three cooks: pair up guests so each course has a host house and another family who prepares and brings the food.

More Tips
1. Pick one type of cuisine and stick with it, or mix it up! Each house can prepare dishes from different cultures, so guests can enjoy a little Mexican, Asian, Italian, and American food throughout the night.

2. Each host couple can decorate their home to match the culture of the dishes being served, or the progressive dinner can be arranged around a holiday so decorations that match the season can be displayed.
3. Include a brief game at each host's home, or end the evening with one at the last house. Karaoke, Pictionary, or Bunco anyone?
4. Choose a charity to support for the evening and ask one of the couples to share some background on it at the first house of the night. Let guests know in the invitation that they can  leave a donation at the last house of the night, and leave a basket by the door at that house to accept the donations. Consider whether or not the group might already have a common charity they would like to support. If not, Operation Christmas Child, Food Pantries, Help the Homeless Organizations, and Project Angel Tree are a few to check out.

Spending time with your neighbors will prove to be a worthy investment.  Who knows?  You may discover a master chef, genius interior designer, or hilarious comedian that lives just around the corner.