Aug 12 2016

Hosting an Olympics Viewing Party: 7 Ways To Win The Gold

Olympic viewing party

The Olympics are in full swing, and we’ve fully embraced it. It’s our go-to TV every night, the reason we’re refreshing Twitter during the day, and don’t get us started on the medal count Snapchat filter – we think we’re taking snaps now just to see the updated count.

They’re also a pretty prime excuse to throw a party. We’d like to think we’ve perfected our Olympic plan over the years, so we compiled our top seven party tips for you. Read on, and get ready to host the best Games ever.

1. Don’t be afraid to go all in on the theme


Throwing a themed party presents a tricky challenge : it’s a ready-made reason to have some fun (and who doesn’t love that?), but themed parties only work if you really, truly commit. So much like the athletes themselves, it’s time to go full Olympics. Trust us, you won’t regret it.

There’s a lot of different ways to play up the Olympics theme at your party. You could divide everyone into “teams”, or countries, and have them come dressed appropriately. Or, you could decide that your entire theme is America – and ask that everyone come as their favorite Olympian. Make sure your own costume is ready, and then decorate your apartment, too. Guests will think they’ve walked into an Olympic village in Raleigh.

Some ideas? We’ve had some great Olympic parties in the past – setting up a fake medal podium in the corner, scattering flags and medals bought from a party store throughout the living room and once (memorably), decorating our bathtub with a sign that declared it the home of the Jamaican bobsled team. Get crafty and have some fun – we bet Paper Source at North Hills can help.

2. Have a TV schedule handy

We know you know the basic channels of Olympic coverage, but the Games present a unique challenge. There’re so many events, they’re often spread among multiple channels, and stacked quickly. More than once, we’ve left the room during a commercial break after women’s gymnastics – and completely missed a swimming heat!

To avoid that, just made a quick schedule and post it somewhere accessible. You can get creative, and use a big poster board with fun decorations, or you can just print the schedule out and stick it near your TV. It’ll be an easy reference guide for you and your guests, and that way you can also pinpoint exactly what time Michael Phelps goes for what has to be his millionth gold medal.

3. Keep the food simple

The key to any good party is an unstressed host. Make your food plan ahead of time – and make it simple – and you’ll be able to relax and actually enjoy your own shindig.

If you’re cooking yourself, plan on providing one easy main (like burgers, premade or bought ahead of time – and grilled in our kitchen with gas grills, perhaps?) and a side, like a huge salad. Ask some guests to fill in the rest, potluck-style. Nothing complicated or fancy needed here!

If you’d rather not touch a pot or pan, consider catering. Luckily, since we’re so close to North Hills, it’s easy for us to coordinate ordering in from one of its restaurants. We can rest easy knowing that the food will be great, keep our guests happy, and free us up to watch some Olympic action.  We’re not going to say we’ve thrown a party just to have an excuse to order a lot of Pieology Pizza, but…

4. Stock up on drink basics – and outsource the rest

If you and your friends want to drink at a party, it can be nerve-wracking to stare down the package store and try to decide what to get. But we’ve come up with a system for each of the parties we’ve thrown that seems to work well : provide a bottle of red and white wine, one kind of beer and a mixed drink big enough for a few people. We almost always make a big batch of sangria for the crowd to share.

Then, let your friends know ahead of time what your stash is, and let them fill in the rest. Almost no one will have an issue with grabbing a six-pack of their favorite beer, or a bottle of their favorite wine, and toting it with them to a party. Drinks, solved!

Be sure to have a few options on hand, too, for those who don’t like or choose not to drink that day. Sodas, lemonade, and some ice cubes ready for water are easy ways to please the whole crowd.

5. Have a plan for the commercials

The conversation may be so good that you may not need activities for the commercials – in which case, congratulations on throwing a successful party!

But if you’d like to have a plan in place for those commercial breaks, we hear you. If you’re in our space, we sometimes will float back and forth to the billiards room, and keep a game going that we can easily pick up when the onscreen action dies down a little. Or we’ll simply use those moments to step out onto our balcony, and enjoy the view – and summer breeze!

You could also have some party games ready to go, with fake Olympic medals awarded to the teams that take home the gold. Print out some recent Olympic trivia and start quizzing your guests while the athletes are in between events – you’ll probably be surprised at who in your group is an expert on men’s water polo!

6. Prep ahead of time

The key to an Olympics party is the key to any good party – get all of your details prepared ahead of time, so you’re not worrying about anything (or surprised by a missing detail) while your guests are there.

A few days out, make a checklist of what you need to do, and need to purchase before the party. Decorations? Food? Drink? Extra toilet paper and paper towels? Stock up, and then you won’t be left scrambling in the 11th hour.

Then, make a list of what you want to clean before your guests arrive. Knock that out the day before everyone comes, and all you’ll have left to do on the day of the party is prep the food, ice the drinks, and decorate your apartment. Which, if we’re being honest, is the fun stuff.

7. Themed dessert (trust us)

Okay, we know we said to keep the food simple – but we totally can’t resist a well-themed dessert. And who can, really? It’s totally fun (totally Instagramable!) and, in our opinions, takes a party to the next level.

If you’re no Martha Stewart, we hear ya. We often turn to North Hills’ Edible Art for some treats. Homemade and delicious, they can definitely whip up an American flag or Olympic – themed cake for you and your guests.

And if you’re feeling crafty, gold medal cookies are the way to go. We spotted this recipe on Cupcakes & Cashmere earlier this week, and can’t wait to test them out on some friends this weekend.


Did we miss one of your go-to party tips? Or do you want more theme ideas? (Trust us, we have tons.) Swing by our leasing office to talk all things Olympics – and go team USA!