As we move to the next steps of living with social distancing a lot of us are starting to invite a few people over – because we miss our friends and we miss (let’s face it) talking to someone other than those in our family…hahahah….and that’s OK if you follow the new rules for entertaining safely.

So here are some creative and cautious tips on planning a party with “Socialized Distancing”!


You know I have a new appreciation for just having two or three friends over for a driveway drink or a sitting in the backyard (six feet apart) because you really get to talk to them.

It’s good for our mental health. After being cooped up during the stay-at-home period we have all gained a new appreciation of talking and listening to each other.



Think individual servings. No more big glorious cheese and meat boards or platters of nachos that everyone digs in with their hands!

Use your big platters or cutting boards to display small plates on top. You can have cheese and charcuterie with crackers on each. Add grapes in small clusters or strawberry, nuts, dried fruits –whatever you have on hand.

This shows that each person selects their own ‘cheese platter’.

Rather than a veggie platter with a bowl of hummus in the middle,  make individual servings with clear plastic cups or use short glasses and place hummus (or ranch dip, etc) in the bottom and then place carrot sticks, celery sticks, slices of zucchini, or other crudité vegetable slices on the top, so each person gets their own to freely double dip or triple dip !!! It’s yours!  This idea can also work for guacamole in the bottom and then serve tortilla chips on the side in another individual glass. The chips might get soggy if you pre-place them in the guac.

Use this same idea for a personal Caesar Salad. The Caesar dressing goes in the bottom of the glass and spears of baby romaine stick up from the dressing. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.


And….the Shrimp Cocktail is back in style!!! Rather than a huge bowl of (yum!) boiled shrimp and a common bowl of cocktail sauce (we’re not supposed to share serving utensils), let’s make elegant shrimp cocktails for each person at the party.  The cocktail sauce goes in the bottom and the shrimp, with tails on for easy grab and dip, are placed in a pretty circle of seafood.


Rethink your serving utensils.

Toothpicks make a comeback!

Turns out that putting out a big bowl of potato salad with a serving spoon is a no-no now. Everyone is touching the handle of the serving spoon.  So it’s OK to have foods out in family-style bowls, but each person has to have their own utensil for serving themselves.

I like “silver” plastic tongs or forks so guests have one for their own use.


You can have a Designated Server (someone has obviously washed their hands and is wearing clean gloves) and serves each person at the party)- like a Designated Driver!


Think Single! Not just for school lunch anymore, those small snack packs of chips, cookies, nuts, cheese are perfect for entertaining safely now. Make your own in snack-sized resealable bags. No more everyone diving into the same bowl of popcorn or nuts!! Ew!!!

And this way if some are leftover they are perfectly safe and clean- untouched- to save for later.

And I recommend buying butter, for instance, in those little individually wrapped pats of butter instead of putting out a communal butter dish as we used to for dinner. This is Banner Butter, from a company in Atlanta, and you can order online. I love the Sea Salt Butter.

If it’s a birthday celebration or any celebration, instead of a big sheet cake – serve cupcakes instead.

You get a candle! And you get a candle! And you get a candle! Each person can make a wish and blow out their own candle for the guest of honor!


  1. To-Go Containers Cut Food Waste. Allow your guests to bag up what they didn’t eat from their cheese/charcuterie platter or other dishes/desserts. You can’t keep the leftovers they’ve touched so reduce food waste by offering disposable plastic containers or bags so they can enjoy for lunch tomorrow or snack later.


  1. Gifts for socialized distancing dinner hosts today:  Rather than a food gift how about a little herb plant or tomato plant for your host’s patio garden or container garden?! So many folks are getting into gardening during this time when we’re spending more time at home.

  1. Have fun!!! Every guest has their own comfort level. Some have been cooped up a home and just venturing out now. Others are more ‘experienced’ at socialized distancing. The hallmark of a good host is always thinking of their guests first.