Shy About Entertaining? Try This Easy "Gateway" Gathering Idea

Shy About Entertaining? Try This Easy "Gateway" Gathering Idea

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Adrienne Breaux
Mar 9, 2016
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Confession: I work for a fabulous design publication, love my home, enjoy riveting conversations and have attractive, interesting friends—but I have been avoiding inviting people over to my home for as long as I can remember. This year, my one-word mantra is "connect," so I've been looking for fun entertaining ideas that feel easy to do, fit in my small space and don't cost a lot. I think I've finally found a gathering idea that I can actually pull off—it might spark entertaining inspiration for you.

There are reasons for my aversion to entertaining. No one in my family entertained when I was growing up. And I've had to get over the fear of my home not being "clean" or "good" enough for guests.

But recently I've stumbled on what is — for me, anyway — the perfect gateway gathering idea. It works with a small amount of people (big crowds overwhelm me), it doesn't require hard-to-make or expensive drinks, there's an activity that's fun to do (but not as competitive as board games can be) and it's something that can fit into my small apartment (500 square feet).

I've enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd share the idea in case it sparks inspiration for your own gathering at home:

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

The No-TV, Tea & Coloring Club

Okay I'm still working on the name. (TV is in the title because I wanted to go TV-free one night a week, and combining that with inviting friends over seemed like a great fit.)

I won't bore you with a whole how-to post (honestly the idea isn't that complicated), but I'll share some of the elements that I mix together for an easy night of fun and conversation:

  • Drinks: Tea can be as inexpensive or as pricey as you want and is easy to make.
  • Activity: Coloring sheets can be printed for free online or made yourself (I made New Orleans-themed ones!)
  • Supplies: Colored pencils and markers can be snagged for cheap at any store that sells office or art supplies.
  • Snacks: Hummus, guacamole, chips and carrots can be an easy-to-assemble and affordable mix for gluten-free or vegan guests (but of course, The Kitchn has tons of ideas if you want to make something yourself).
  • Seating: I don't have a dining room (or dining room table), so I use floor pillows around my coffee table.
  • Serving pieces: The tea cups above might look "nice," but they're all mismatched finds from antique and thrift stores I pick up for a few bucks every time I shop.
Mark Spencer (reaching arm), Melanie Spencer (concentrated coloring) and Bruce Cervini (hand in motion).
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

And that's it! It's hardly genius, but it's been a fun gathering for me to throw and something I hope to continue throughout the year.

Could this be entertaining inspiration for your own casual, affordable and fun gathering idea? Please let me know in the comments below if it does spark some inspiration for you!

Curious if anyone else has enjoyed coloring club as much as I have?

Well, my guest list so far has been limited to a few people — the above photo features my dear friends (and fellow writers!) Melanie Warner Spencer and Mark Spencer and New Orleans photographer and friend Bruce Cervini. But I'm happy to report they've had fun (and even wanted to come back!) Though who wouldn't want to join coloring club for a chance to end up on my Coloring Club Fridge of Fame?

Coloring Club Fridge of Fame. New Orleans-themed coloring pages by Adrienne Breaux. Free downloadable David Bowie coloring sheets by Austin-based artist Carlos Gonzalez.
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)
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