How To Throw The Best Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party

Hey there friends!

I really hope you’re enjoying this holiday season so far! It’s full steam ahead with plans over here, including a new-to-us style of celebrating: a Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party. I had not planned on writing this post today so please forgive the photography, but we had such a fun time that I really had to share it with you!

Read all about how you can throw the best neighborhood progressive dinner party this season!

What is a Progressive Dinner?

pro·gres·sive din·ner

  1. a social occasion at which the different courses of a meal are eaten at different people’s houses.

If you’ve never experienced a progressive dinner party you really should put it on your list! We had 5 couples participating so we visited each house for about 45 minutes to an hour, and enjoyed lite bites and drinks of all varieties. Also, one of the most fun things about this type of party is seeing each other’s Christmas decorations.

How to Throw A Progressive Dinner Party

1. Create a Plan

First decide on the number of families/houses that will be participating. In my opinion, five to six stops are ideal. You will need about 45 minutes to an hour at each home. Figure out the order of stops and put a schedule together. 

Once the order has been decided, choose a theme (if any) and create a fun digital invitation like ours below that will get everyone excited for the big day! You can do this easily in Canva with a free account!

How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party schedule

2. Share your menu or theme in advance.

A few days before the party we realized it made sense to share what we were serving, particularly the beginning houses, so there weren’t a lot of repeats. You can stick to a traditional holiday menu or opt for a different theme such has holiday food from around the world or even a chili cook-off. Honestly, the food is great but it’s kind of secondary to the party itself and who your spending the evening with. Any and all themes could work!

Check out Megan’s amazing charcuterie. table I actually tried to buy that giant cheese board from her!

How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party charcuterie
Megan’s House #3
How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party mantel
Sallie’s House #4
How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party tree
Jenna’s House #5

3. Have someone watch the clock (loosely).

I did not sign up for this job because I could have lingered at each house for hours and hours and not even realized it. But I bet someone in your group would be  great at this! Several of us did kept an eye on the clock so we could make sure to move on in a reasonable amount of time, about 45 minutes to an hour per house.

PRO TIP: If your crew loves to watch football like we do, have the games on but keep them on mute and have music in the back ground instead. It worked really well and was a win, win for football fans and non-fans alike!

How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party guys
How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party hogans

4. Plan for transportation.

Walk if you’re able! What is great about a neighborhood progressive dinner is walking from house to house which makes it fun and festive.If walking isn’t an option, plan on a driver or figure out who’s calling the Uber. If you do have to travel by car I would suggest visiting less houses, probably three at most, and rotating every year. 

PRO TIP: order some festive necklace lights or hats for guests to wear when you’re walking between houses. 

How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party chili
Sallie and Russ’ venison chili table
How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party dessert
Jenna’s dessert spread
How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party girls

5. Document the fun!

Luckily we remembered to take a few pictures (however I didn’t take a picture of my own house!) and Dawn had an instant camera at hers. Genius! It was fun to take home a physical picture of friends from the evening as a keepsake. This would make a great Christmas gift to someone too!

How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party polaroid
How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party instant camera


6. Enjoy and plan on staying at the last house until the party naturally ends!

We had a blast and are even talking about a breakfast for dinner themed party next time We may even sport our Christmas jammies! 

Why Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party?

There is just something special about this kind of party because of it’s uniqueness. It’s not just one person having to plan and host, everyone shares the load, which allows you to have a fun, stress-free evening. And it’s just plain exciting, not knowing exactly what’s coming at each new place. If you didn’t know your neighbors well, you will definitely get a jump start on forging those relationship during a progressive dinner. 

Is a progressive dinner not your thing? No worries! Check out our tips for hosting a stress-free dinner party the traditional way. 

How To Throw A Neighborhood Progressive Dinner Party group

We are extremely lucky to live in such a great neighborhood and have grown very close with several families nearby. We’re in all different ages and stages of life (us definitely being the oldest lol) but that has never seemed to matter much. It’s a joy being together, getting to know each others kids and spouses and have already seen each other through some of life’s challenges. I’m truly thankful for this group and love having them only steps away from our front door! 

Christmas is such a sweet season to cherish friends and family. I hope this inspires you to get with your friends or neighbors and start your own neighborhood progressive dinner party! For more entertaining tips and inspiration click on the Live tab in our drop-down navigation menu, then click Entertaining. 


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