For my dad's 50th birthday, my mum, sister, and I, decided to throw him a birthday bash with all the comforts of home. You see, my dad's favourite place in the house is the sofa, television remote control within reach, drink by his side, slippers on his feet, and snack in his lap. So, when we decided to give my dad a party, the theme we came up with was 'couch potato'.
This is not a bad thing, mind you. My dad works really hard from Monday to Friday, so on the weekends he just wants to relax. We mentioned our idea to him and he thought it sounded great. A couch potato party - what guy wouldn't love that?
The invitations my mum sent were compact discs she had made from video she took of my dad “in action.” One Saturday, she took video of my dad in his favourite chair, on the couch, watching television with his feet up, and snacking while using the remote to channel surf. He got into the part, waving at the camera and smiling for my mum. My sister and I were also included. We held up poster boards we made with the party information on them. Then on her computer, my mum converted the video to a short invitation with visuals of my dad while she talked about his upcoming birthday. It concluded with our signs. As the responses came in, everyone raved about the invitation and how much they enjoyed watching it.
On the day of the party, we decided to make the house as comfortable as possible. The neighbours were kind enough to lend us their sofas and reclining chairs so that the entire downstairs was occupied by furniture for lounging about on. There were also a couple of bean bags, courtesy of my sister and I. Except for a walkway, there was no place to stand. The living room, dining room, and family room looked like a furniture store. It was exactly the look we wanted. We also borrowed a TV and put it in the living room so that wherever you were sitting, you could watch television.
We wanted to keep the food side of things simple. In the kitchen we set up a baked potato food table. My mum spent the morning baking potatoes then wrapped them in tin foil to keep them warm. She has a trolley with a top shelf that is a hot plate, so she put the foiled potatoes there to keep them warm. On the kitchen table we put butter, sour cream, chives, bacon, grated cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, baked beans, steamed broccoli, shredded chicken, and sautéed mushrooms. To keep the 'clean up' to a minimum, we bought heavy-duty paper plates that we stacked on the bottom shelf of the cart, along with napkins and plastic forks and knives. My uncle served as bartender, setting himself up behind the kitchen counter. Again, we bought plastic cups and used paper cocktail napkins. The bar included water, soft drinks, beers and wine.
When guests arrived, they were thrilled to take their shoes off and sit down. Really, that was all they could do, with all the furniture everywhere. My dad greeted everyone and then went from couch to couch talking with guests. The baked potatoes were a big hit. They were so large that it was difficult to finish one, what with all the delicious toppings. The partygoers sat and ate on the couches and it was very casual and easy going, just how my dad likes it.
After dinner, we had some fun. First up was a game of hot potato. My mum passed out two large potatoes, at opposite ends of the rooms (the family, dining and living rooms are all connected), and gave a quick recap on how the game is played. She started some music and the tossing began. It had been a long time since anyone had played and laughter filled the house as the music stopped and started. As the number of participants got smaller, guests had to move so that they were all on the same sofa or sofas nearby. Soon there was a winner and my mum rewarded him with a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
Next, my mum got out several Mr. Potato Head's she had purchased at a toy shop. She asked people to form groups and gave out the kits (there was a potato head and lots of body parts), hoping everyone would decorate their Potato Head differently. This game was just for fun and again there were lots of laughs while playing this long neglected game.
My mum, sister, and I, served dessert while everyone relaxed after the games. My mum had a huge cake made in the shape of 'a couch' and we loaded it with 51 candles (one for good luck) and brought it to my dad so we could all sing “Happy Birthday” and watch him make a wish. The cake was cut and served with ice cream. As we passed it out, my mum dimmed the lights and on both televisions put on one of my dad's favourite films for everyone to watch. The next 90 minutes were spent like a couch potato.
When the party was over, my mum handed out t-shirts that said “Your couch or mine?” as a thank you for coming to help celebrate my dad's 50 birthday. My dad couldn't stop talking about what a good time he had. In fact, he was so tired the next day he spent the whole day on the couch.