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Homegating for the holidays: 5 pro tips for MVP hosts

Homegating for the holidays: 5 pro tips for MVP hosts
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(BPT) - This holiday season, millions of Americans will celebrate with friends, family and football. Will you be one of them?

A whopping 78 percent of Americans watch NFL games with family or friends either at their home or at someone else’s home during the season, found the NFL Homegating Sofa Survey. What's more, over half of Americans plan their Thanksgiving dinner around the kickoff time of an NFL game.

Considering that NFL Homegating is all about celebrating the spirit and tradition of a stadium tailgate at home, team-inspired serve ware, glassware and decor might not only make the perfect holiday gifts this season, but also a fun way to have one cohesive theme for festive gatherings.

With big match-ups scheduled throughout the holidays on the road to the playoffs, football fans around the country will be throwing their team jerseys over holiday sweaters, kicking up their feet after a big meal, and enjoying the game together.

If you're hosting an upcoming gathering, consider these five tips to host like a pro and keep your guests happy this holiday season and beyond from NFL Homegating Lifestyle Expert Maureen Petrosky:

Entertaining is a team sport. More than a third of Americans (35 percent) prefer to be the “quarterback” of the party, responsible for hosting and organizing the food. But even the best quarterbacks can’t win games by themselves. So if a guest offers to bring something, say “yes.” You can always use extra ice, snacks, beverages or napkins.

Decorate like a pro … and get the kids in the game. Fill water balloons with your team’s color and freeze them. Then on game day, use them in a drink tub to cool drinks instead of, or in addition to, ice cubes. Use a team-inspired throw blanket as a tablecloth, or team coasters as bases for pillar candles. To add height to your food station, create a centerpiece with an assortment of plates in your team's colors or a football-shaped cutting board stacked with glass tankards or game time bowls.

Put a healthy twist on game day snacks. Keep high-calorie snacks on the sidelines, and place the healthier choices in the viewing room where guests are more likely to hang out. Also serve the higher calorie treats on smaller plates and in smaller bowls, and refill if needed. Guests are more likely to take less and leave some for others. Skip the large serving spoons and offer smaller scoops.

Crock-tails. Use your slow cooker in an unexpected way to serve a warm drink to guests. This is especially memorable when set up outside as guests play their own game of football. According to the Sofa Survey, over 60 percent of respondents would like to receive an NFL team-branded cooking product as a gift. So if your Secret Santa doesn’t already have a Crock-Pot, be sure to put that at the top of the list.

Touchdown treats. Recipes like Crock-Pot tacos, chicken and waffle sliders with spicy honey or ranch dressing are easy to prepare and serve, even for the kitchen rookie. Complete your NFL Homegating spread with desserts like football-shaped brownies or ice cream sandwiches.

This year, fans can celebrate the holidays while embracing their love of football with a variety of fun NFL Homegating products. Fans cans can visit NFLShop.com/Homegating for more inspiration to take their football-watching parties to the next level this holiday season.

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