Brunch, Lunch, free online invitations
Cover tables with pages from the Sunday funnies. Or cover them with brown or white butcher paper, then set out crayons on the tables so guests can doodle before, during or after they eat — particularly perfect if kids are on the guest list. Arrange flowers in coffeepots, teapots, mugs, teacups or creamer and sugar bowls. All that stuff already being used to serve your guests beverages? Pick up mismatched extras for a song at a thrift store or flea market. While you're there, get some eggcups, fill them with moss you buy at the nursery, and line them up down the table. Or match the sunny feel of the meal with small potted flowers or herbs. Finally, set out bowls of fruit to do double duty as centerpiece and snack. The typical brunch is a big buffet, which suits the most casual meal of the day, but if you want to mix it up a bit, consider a sit-down. You could even serve multiple courses, starting with a fruit or green salad, moving to an egg-based main dish with sides of bacon and hash browns, and finishing with a basket of pastries or even bread pudding for dessert. If you do decide on a buffet, label dishes using place cards so guests don't have to wonder what's what, and stick to foods that can sit for a while without suffering try frittatas, egg strata or bagels, for example. For extra points, propose toast to your guests by moving your toaster to the buffet table; just make sure it's on the far end so it doesn't jam the line. Don't have enough tables and chairs to seat your brunch bunch? Serve finger foods only, since it's impossible to wield a knife while standing up holding a plate. But don't let that limit you. Think silver-dollar pancakes or even French toast bites just cut the bread into cubes before you dunk and fry them. Planning a dim sum brunch? Wheel dishes around on a rolling cart or come around with a tray offering small plates to your guests. Embrace the laze by renting and screening your favorite Saturday morning shows from your childhood — think Scooby Doo, Banana Splits, She-Ra. Guests more football than Flintstones fans? If there's a game on, you've got instant entertainment. Or let guests work off all those calories they're about to consume with physical games — especially good if you're expecting kids. For example, try an egg relay: Split guests into teams and give the leader of each team an egg on a spoon, instructing them to race to and from a tree and then pass the egg to the next team member — without dropping the egg and getting disqualified, of course — until the entire team has had a turn. (Just don't count on those eggs for any omelets, since they may get scrambled before you turn on the stove.) Or test your guests' flapjack-flipping skills with a pancake race. You could even combine food and entertainment with this contest: Tie doughnuts with string hanging from a pole or overhead branches, position blindfolded competitors in front of the dangling doughnuts and find out who can munch their Krispy Kreme fastest. Aiming for a more mental workout? Get two copies of the morning paper, split guests into teams and see who can complete the crossword first.