Planning a luncheon? Here are twelve personally tested plans, complete with posters, menus, decorating and music suggestions, and recipes for a complete meal, along with desserts and beverages, paired with matching activities, for small, medium, or large groups.
The posters featured for each party can be printed and posted in a break-room or mailroom of your workplace, or if your gathering is non-work related, they can be printed and used as paper invitations and individually mailed out. Or they can be posted in a closed-group on Facebook, texted to your guests, or emailed.
Theme 1: Back to School Picnic
If the weather still permits in your neck of the woods, consider making this an outdoor event. Either dress up some picnic tables outside, or lay down large blankets on an area of lawn, under a big shade tree. If the weather does not permit, dress up the indoors to look like a picnic. Place a few fans for cool breezes, and set up a CD player with a sounds of nature CD – I personally love anything featuring the Rocky Mountains.
Sounds of Yellowstone (and check out all the “National Park Series” Nature Sounds CDs)
Decorations: Red checkered tablecloths, with centerpieces of baskets of apples, hand bells, cups full of sharpened pencils, and slates with sticks of chalk laid across each.
Theme 1: Peanuts, It’s the Great Pumpkin
Decorations: Cover the tables with earthtone tableclothes (plain brown, plain orange, plain hunter green, plain yellow, etc.). Create centerpieces with Hobby Lobby scarecrows, small pumpkins, Indian corn, corn stalk bundles, small decorative garden rakes, and colorful fall leaves (paper).
Go with the Peanuts Great Pumpkin Theme for the paper plates, napkins, etc., and for background music play a nice piano music CD. OR, Amazon even sells the Peanuts Movie Sountrack, and Peanuts music CD’s featured in the cartoons.
Table Games and Diversions: Get a fall scene puzzle started for people to work on as they eat, and drink, and chit-chat. OR, print several puzzles (secret codes, sudukus, riddles, Hangman, mazes, etc.) and place on the tables for guests to solve.
Theme 1: Pilgrims and Thanksgiving harvest theme
Decorations: Pilgrims, Indians, and Mayflower ships, Cornucopias filled with corn, gourds, pumpkins, etc. and turkeys.
Table Games and Diversions: Cover the tables in light colored paper and leave colored Crayola markers around for people to randomly jot down things they are thankful for. Or, look for disposable Thanksgiving tablecloths at the party stores with puzzles and coloring images all over them.
Theme 2: Elections
Decorations: Patriotic with Democrat and Republican symbols
Table Games and Diversions: Election trivia and candidate profiles, absentee & voter regristration cards.
Music: God Bless America: The Ultimate Patriotic Album, American Patriot Lee Greenwood, Why I Love Her John Wayne, God Bless The USA – 17 Inspirational Songs Of Faith & Freedom From Today’s Top Country Artists .
Luncheon: Lasagnas (meat, chicken, veggie), garlic toast, green salads, Italian Sodas, red and white grape juices served in wine glasses, Italian Cream Cake
Theme 1: Christmas Tea
Decorations: Find or make little stockings for each guest and fill with a candy cane or other small gift and use to decorate the tree. Bring in a CD player and a variety of Christmas music that will appeal to everyone’s taste and play it continuously. Stew some good smelling potpourri in a crock-pot.
Table Games and Diversions: Scatter Christmas Trivia cards around on the tables.
*Assortment of Christmas Cookies & various flavors of teas
Theme 1: Football Tailgate Party
Decorations: Cover the tables with green yardage line tablecloths. Pile footballs, pennants, and pompoms in the center for decoration.
Add some excitement with an NFL Power and Glory CD, or the more recent NFL Films Original Music by David Robidoux Promotional Release (2007), Fox Sports Presents: Game Time! ~ Various Artists, Stadium Anthems: Music for the Fans ~ Various Artists, and ABC Monday Night Football Jamz ~ Various Artists.
Table Games and Diversions: Fold little paper “footballs” for each table and show your guests how to play table football, using their fingers for goal posts. See how to play at wiki-how or better still…watch this You Tube video.
Luncheon: Three varieties of Chili (red, green, and white chicken), plus a buffet of toppings (green onions, cheese, sour cream, chopped jalapenos, etc.). Serve non-alcoholic beers, sodas, and Mug Cakes for dessert. (click here for chili recipes) or (click here for mug cake recipe)
Flier shown below was from a luncheon where the Super Bowl was being played in San Francisco so I went with the foods from that area. It was Peyton Manning’s last game, and Michael Ohr (whose story is told in the movie Blind Side) played for the Carolina Panthers in this match-up.
*Ask everyone to wear his or her sports team shirts or colors.
Theme 1: Academy Awards & Hollywood Walk of Fame
This is a great theme to do to honor your guests. Make them the stars of the party!
Decorations: Cover the table in Black, Silver, and Gold table cloths. Put centerpieces of film reels, film strip, movie trivia cards, clapboards and balloon bouquets. Hang gold stars and spot light and camera decorations from the ceiling. Roll out a red carpet from the entrance of the room to the center. Make a Hollywood Walk-of-Fame star tile for each guest with their name on it.
Music: Beautiful Hollywood was my choice!
Games and Diversions: Lay out several packets of sticky notes and pens. Ask guests to write compliments for the other guests on the sticky notes and place them on each person’s star. Let each guest take their Walk-of-Fame stars home.
Luncheon: Decorate the buffet with a sign that says, “Studio Commissary.” Recipes for this luncheon can be found here.
Theme 2: Valentine’s Day
Decorations: Cover the tables in pink paper with sheer lace over the top. Toss around rich red paper hearts, heart shaped boxes of chocolate, rose peddles, and cupid and heart shaped balloons. Set up the boom box with CD’s of romantic love songs.
Games and Diversions: Set out the makings for valentines, red construction paper, white lace, little stickers and stick-on jewels, Cupids, small dowel rods and arrow heads and fletching that can be attached to the ends after it is woven through the heart, black sharpie markers. Ask everyone to participate in a Valentine exchange, just like the kids do at school. Everybody makes a special box for their place at the table, and everyone deposits special “Valentine” notes into each person’s box (compliments, jokes, poems, thank-you notes, etc.). Also, put everyone’s name in a hat and have each person draw out one name to be a secret pal to for the next six months.
Luncheon: Gazpacho soup or Borscht (hot or cold), heart-shaped shrimp sandwiches, Strawberry smoothies or white sparkling cider, Red Velvet Cake for dessert.
8 cups beef broth
1 pound cooked tender beef stew meat or sliced Kielbasa
1 large onion, peeled, quartered
4 large beets, peeled, chopped
1 leek chopped
3 stalks celery sliced
4 carrots, peeled, chopped
1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped fresh dill (or parsley)
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Bring 4 cups of the beef broth, the beef stew meat, and onion to boil in large pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes.
2 Add remaining 4 cups broth, beets, leek, celery, carrots, and potato; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
3 Stir in meat, cabbage and 1/2 cup dill; cook until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in vinegar.
Ladle soup into bowls. Top with sour cream and remaining 1/4 cup dill.
3 cups tomatoes, red ripe, seeded and diced
2 cups red bell pepper, diced medium
2 cups red onions, diced medium
1/2 cup celery, diced medium
2 cups cucumber, diced medium
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups organic vegetable juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 Mix diced tomato, peppers, red onions, celery and cucumber together in a medium bowl.
2 Divide the mixture in half and separate in two bowls.
3 Add garlic to one of the bowls and empty into blender. Add vinegar to the blender and puree until smooth.
4 Add the vegetable juice, cayenne and cumin to the blender. Blend.
5 Add the puree to the bowl of diced vegetables.
6 Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with lemon and cilantro.
SHRIMP LUNCHEON SANDWICHES
1 small package (3 ounces) cream cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
dash garlic powder
1 cup chopped cooked cleaned shrimp
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon grated onion
20 to 40 slices white sandwich bread, lightly buttered
Blend cream cheese with mayonnaise; blend in the ketchup, mustard, and garlic powder. Stir in shrimp, celery, and grated onion. Use as a filling spread only in the center of two slices of sandwich bread. Or if you can squeeze two cookie cutter cuttings out of a slice of bread, spread the filling in each of the opposing corners of the bread. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut the sandwiches out. Toss the scraps. Makes about 1 cup of shrimp sandwich filling, for about 20 sandwiches.
Theme 1: Saint Patrick’s Day (Lucky Leprechaun Theme)
Decorations: Cover the tables in light green table cloths or paper. Cut out dozens of various sized dark green shamrocks from construction paper. On each shamrock write an Irish blessing. Scatter these blessings around on the tables. Set out small black kettles filled with gold foil covered chocolate coins. Set up a CD player with Irish pub music, or Celtic music, or Riverdance music playing.
Table Games and Diversions: Ask your guests to choose one Irish Blessing from the table. Have each guest stand and recite their blessing to the other luncheon guests in their best Irish accents.
Theme 2: Easter (If it falls in March)
Decorations: nests with colored eggs in them, and pans of real green grass with eggs nestled in them.
Table Games and Diversions: Print out several famous lines from various Bible movies and let guest guess the movie and actor who said it.
Host an Easter Egg Hunt. Pick the day, maybe the Thursday before Good Friday. The night before, go and hide plastic eggs all over the building. Hide some in each person’s desk and more in the break room. Tuck little jellybeans, Hershey kisses, and/or cute notes (fortunes or blessings) inside the eggs. Place a small paper basket on each person’s desk with a note inviting him or her to the Easter egg hunt at a specific time. The instructions should tell them that eggs have been hidden in their personal space and in the break room and that all they find are theirs. Also inform them that the person who finds the most eggs will win a special prize so that they need to put their number found next to their name on the poster in the break room. This is a lot less work if you can find an accomplice to share the labor and expense with you. The prize can be anything you want: car wash tokens, movie passes, pizza gift certificate, post-it notes and colored pens, a pedicure/manicure, etc.
Theme 1: April Showers Garden Party
Decorations: Cover the tables with light blue paper and set rubber duckies and rubber boots as centerpieces, filled with Tulips, Daffodils, and Hyacinth. Play a CD of The Sound of Summer Rain, and Thundering Rainstorm.
Table Games and Diversions: Purchase a small clay pot for each employee and let each guest fill a pot with small fish aquarium pebbles. Let them then attach an imitation flower to a pen with floral tape, and then poke the pens down into the pebbles. Each guest now has their own little pen pot.
Theme 2: April Fools
Decorations: Cover the tables with Newspaper. Toss several gag type props around on the tables (silly eye goggles, mustaches, big wax lips, silly hats, etc.)
Table Games and Diversions: Tape a monkey to the bottom of one chair. The person who finds the monkey under their chair during the luncheon must to do something nice for someone AND and then cleverly hide the monkey in one of the other guests desks (if this is a work luncheon) the next day, or mail it to one of the guests (if non-work luncheon). The person who receives the monkey pays the nice deed forward and discretely passes the monkey on.
Theme 1: Cinco de Mayo – Fiesta
Decorations: Cover the tables with Mexican blankets, Use sombreros, piñatas, maracas, ponchos, and pottery for centerpieces. Also have a nice mariachi band playing on the CD player for ambience.
Table Games and Diversions: Learn Spanish words by scattering Lotería cards around on the tables. Play Lotería after or during luncheon.
Theme 2: Mother’s Day
Decorations: cover the tables in pretty floral tablecloths with lace tablecloths layered over. Use teapots and teacups and little wrapped tea bags for centerpieces.
Table Games and Diversions: Honor the MOMS. Ask each of the staff to bring a picture of their mom that we can post on the Guess Who? Board. Each photo will have a number on the front of it so staff members can guess what mother goes with which staff member.
Luncheon: Make your own sandwich bar with assorted breads, cold cuts, cheeses, condiments, lettuce, sprouts, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, etc., a large veggie tray, potato chips, assorted beverages, and Indoor Smores for dessert.
Theme 1: Beach Party
Decorations: Cover the tables with large colorful beach towels. Use beach balls, flip flops, Frisbees, sand box toys as centerpieces. Play a CD of Beach Boys music on continuous play, or a Sounds of Nature Ocean Waves CD.
Table Games and Diversions: Guessing Jars. Set a large jar filled with items (jelly beans, peanut M&Ms, paperclips, teabags, etc.) on each table and let guests turn in one guess each for the jar on their table. The one closest to the right number wins the jar.
Theme 2: Father’s Day
Decorations: Cover the tables in brown paper. Use tackle boxes, fishing lures, and nets for centerpieces. Hang a sign on the door that says, “Gone Fishing.”
Have several tall-tale fishing stories printed out on paper that you can lay around. Have the guys bring pictures of their big catches that you can post on a board.
Table Games and Diversions: Set out a half dozen of those electronic fishing games, that look like the handle of a fishing pole with a rod and reel, that you cast and then watch the video screen to see if you caught anything. Ask around… you probably have a few people on staff that have one and will donate it to the lounge for a month.
Luncheon: Fish and Chips. Bake up several batches of battered fish and fat French fries. Offer lemon wedges, tartar sauce, and malt vinegar as condiments. Brew up some fresh sun tea and lemonade. And indoor smores for dessert.
Theme 1: Red/White/Blue
Decorations: Anything flag-like or military, or founding fathers. Play a patriotic music CD.
Table Games and Diversions: Have a frog-jumping contest using plastic frogs. Have a picnic with various yard games set up (sack races, three-legged races, hula hoop contest, croquet, Frisbee, volleyball).
Luncheon: Do a Salad Bar, canned soda pop (in coolers), and serve popsicles for dessert.
Theme 1: Dog days of Summer
Decorations: anything dog related, stuffed animal dogs, collars, dog food bowls, leashes, obedience school ads, rolled up newspapers, fire hydrants, etc.
Table Games and Diversions: Dog trivia : funny dog names, famous dogs and dogs of movies stars, dog tricks. How many words can you make from the word Dashhund, or German Shepherd, or Wiemeriner, or Catahoula, etc.
Luncheon: Hot Dog Bar (with all the trimmings/toppings)