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Score! How to Homegate

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If you haven't heard the term homegating yet, it's time to get it in your vocabulary. While tailgating is every sports mega-fan's favorite pastime, going to live football games adds up in terms of time and money. Even if you are a stadium loyalist, it can be a lot of work to set up shop in a parking lot every time, and you're at the mercy of the weather which isn't always on your side. The answer? Homegating. As Elizabeth Mascali and Dawn Sandomeno from The Party Bluprints Blog put it, "Trading the cold and the crowds for the couch and the comfort of your home, without skipping the party, continues to be a growing trend." Read on to get the recipe for a homegating party so fun that your friends will be counting down to the next game day. Thank you Elizabeth and Dawn for your amazing tips!

Space Out
Apparently it's not enough to simply throw up some team color streamers on the day-of and consider your house ready. These days, home entertainers are creating entire rooms that are designated and decorated for hosting homegating and viewing parties. Rugs, wall stickers, beanbag chairs, and drinkware with team logos grace every surface. Plus, people are adding dry bars to homegating rooms too, to make it easier to serve food.

Turn it Up
Besides all the football décor that a homegating room needs to have, it'd still be nothing without a big-screen TV and a good sound system or portable speakers. This doesn't have to mean rewiring every inch of your house so that sound permeates through each room. There are plenty of wireless Bluetooth speakers that provide big sound and are portable, so you can tune into the pregame while prepping in the kitchen too!

Mouthwatering Munchies
Taco, hot dog, and nacho and dip bars are hot menu items for homegating. Setting up the fixins for each can be endless fun. For the hot dog bar, try some cole slaw, bacon, and pineapple alongside the traditional toppers, and for the chip and dip bar, spicy spinach and artichoke dip, pomegranate and mango guacamole, and horseradish salmon spread are uncommon crowd pleasers. Besides being delicious finger foods, all of these snacks can be served buffet style so you can actually watch the game without your guests going hungry!

Sweeten the Pot
I don't know about you, but for me any excuse to eat a whoopie pie in the shape of a football is a good one and they just so happen to make great snacks for the homegate. Huh? Just take your favorite whoopie pie recipe, pour your batter into oval shapes instead of rounds and ice the laces on in cream cheese or vanilla frosting. Score!

Drink Up
Mini kegs and beer sampling trays will tempt beer loving guests. And for cocktail fans, try a signature cocktail or fresh sangria and name it after your home team. For the Dallas Cowboys, for example, turn the drink blue with fresh blueberries as one of your ingredients and call it the "Cowboy," and for the Atlanta Falcons, use cranberry juice and call it the "Swoop"!

This NFL season, skip the hassle and hustle of going to the game and put your energy into throwing the best homegating party ever!

Dana Holmes is a lifestyle, gift and etiquette expert who acts as Editor in Chief of and the Gift Rap Blog. She has been working in trend forecasting and gift recommendations for the past decade. Dana loves making occasions special with her unique gift ideas, tips and touches. She has been interviewed by the New York Times, Associated Press, Fox & Friends, TODAY in NY and many more.