Living in the southern hemisphere comes with some unique blends of seasons & celebrations. In my blog, 7 Tips for Interior Wintry Cheer, I address the need to celebrate the winter, as it seems very long without the holidays and celebrations of the New Year. However, when it comes to the end of the year, the warm weather and longer days bring a huge relief and energy to the festivities.
The summer season does change the standard thoughts of how to plan Work or family Christmas or holiday parties. We’re not decking the halls with holly for added greenery, or putting candles and string lights everywhere, as the sun stays up for ages. We’re not singing of roasting chestnuts on open fires, as we would be absolutely roasting in our homes with the fire going. To get into the summery end of the year spirit, try these ideas for planning a successful summer holiday party.
Surf / Yacht Club – Spending an evening watching the orange light of sunset reflect on the sea while sipping bubbles and listening to end of year speeches is absolutely sublime, especially if you can add a good balcony and a decent DJ. A great evening of unwinding with co-workers or family in a casual setting with a gorgeous backdrop.
Backyard Barbecue – We’ve all been in the situation where cash-flow isn’t the hottest, but don’t discount the ever economic and engaging home-cooked barbecue. Having everyone at a family or co-worker’s home can actually break down barriers, putting everyone in a relaxed frame of mind quickly, and allows for a more pot-luck style for mains, sides, desserts & drinks, if needed. The green of the early summer garden is such a refreshing backdrop, and no doubt easy lawn games can be added for effortless entertainment. Double-check to see if your city has free community barbecues set-up, such as Tauranga’s Mount Maunganui or Christchurch’s Margaret Mahy Plaground.
Winery – After a full-on year with not many breaks, it is great to get away to the countryside and enjoy a long afternoon in the sun with slow food paired with delicious wines. This is often an enticing option for many, and even though it runs a bit slower than other types of parties, people can actually have more meaningful conversations and connections due to the very relaxed pace. This is probably one of the more expensive options, but very rewarding if within the budget.
Mexican Fiesta – Theme-ing a backyard or work event can create more energy & opportunities for fun activities. Mexican food lends itself to the summer season, with the delicious fresh vegetables in many dishes, and the fitting drink options of Carona, Sol, Margaritas & Sangria. It’s cost-effective for the budget-conscious, as decorations can be done cheaply while adding fun punchy colours, such as empty tin cans in bright colours from actual ingredients used for catering with wild flowers as centre pieces, or halving coloured doilies on twine across tree branches.
Evening Cruise – Billie Holiday even agrees, that happiness only requires a sailboat & the moonlight with the people you love! If your city is close enough to a lake, river or the ocean, there are usually plenty of dinner cruise options, that can sometimes include dancing. Make sure to preview the vessel & catering before booking, as sometimes they can get very run down, which makes for a evening where your guests feel stuck from the get-go. However, if you can find a classy option with plenty of modern swank or heritage, it can be a huge hit!
Boho Garden Party – Putting out the croquet & badminton sets with fruit trays, bubbles, craft brews and pork sliders is the perfect excuse to get a little dolled-up. Make sure to offer some filling options, and setting out blankets, cushions, plenty of lanterns and lots of wildflowers in exclectic jars will quickly set the mood. The key to success is to make sure you have quality lawn games and delicious food.
Beach Picnic – Grabbing your favourite finger foods, beach umbrellas, blankets and a chilly bin full of delicious summer quenchers is sure to be a treat for a low-key get-together. Try out Kubb, a viking lawn game that is competitive yet perfect for an afternoon of relaxation with friends and family.