Fair winds and following seas. May the road rise to meet you. Sayonara. Adios.
You’re moving overseas and you are probably in full-on packing and panic mode right now. Before you go, take some time to bid adieu to your friends and family stateside.
5 Tips for Throwing a “We’re Moving Overseas” Party
The last thing you need in the middle of your current crazy is a lot of work. Instead, follow these 5 simple tips for a great farewell bash that might just make your move slightly easier! Plus, you’ll enjoy a memorable night with your friends and moments you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Pick a Theme
Keep your party’s theme super simple: here or there.
For “here” parties, stick to things that are classically American or that you can’t get at your next duty station. Ask friends to bring classic side dishes and grill out. Decorate with an Americana theme in red, white and blue. Or pay homage to the things you’ll miss the most, like Target or Dunkin’ Donuts. You know, the essentials of life.
If you’re going with a “there” theme, make everything about your next duty station. Going to Germany? Pick an Oktoberfest theme with beer and brats, even if it’s June. Headed to Japan or Korea? Decorate with pink cherry blossoms and serve lots of noodles and green tea.
Either way, don’t buy a ton of decorations. You’re packing up your whole house, remember? If you don’t have anything that fits a “theme,” put up your holiday lights around the yard, patio, balcony or inside your house.
Set Your Menu
Use this farewell party as an opportunity to clean out your pantry. Put your non-perishable food on the counter. Try to match recipes with what you already have on hand. The goal is to buy as little additional food as possible while using up a good portion of the things in your pantry.
If you think that this might make for some interesting cuisine, you’re right! A 2012 PCS party did, in fact, lead to the creation of cranberry-creamed corn-stuffing balls with a light honey dijon mustard dipping sauce. They were shockingly delicious.
Once you’ve decided on what you’re making, invite your guests to contribute dishes as well. Chances are they’ll bring less inventive food.
Open Bar & BYOB
You can’t take open bottles of booze with you. It seems to be frowned upon. Something about leaking and damage.
Since you can’t take your liquor with you to your next military installation, mix cocktails using whatever you’ve got on hand at your “We’re Moving Overseas” party. Add a blender and frozen fruit for experimental margaritas and daiquiris. Again, the goal is to whittle your stash down to almost nothing.
If your guests want to contribute to the communal beverages or keep something more mainstream for themselves, encourage BYOB.
For the kids, mix up lemonade or serve juice boxes. If you have a lot of fresh or frozen fruit, DIY smoothies are always fun! Just make sure you clearly label the adult beverages.
Activities & Games
Use this party as an opportunity to clear out your closets!
For the kids, pull out every already opened arts and crafts kit you have on hand. Set out coloring books, crayons, markers, stickers and drawing paper at one station. Make a sidewalk chalk station or a painting station, too. Encourage your younger guests to use up everything.
You could also set out water guns, kiddie pools or water games you have on hand.
While the adults might be content to kick back with food and drink, you could also set out lawn games or card games.
Every Party Needs Favors
The giving away of things during a PCS is a time-honored military family tradition. Let your guests know to come with a few sturdy boxes.
Go through the house before the party and collect everything that the movers won’t or can’t pack. This is usually opened non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, and other liquids. To that, add any clothes, furniture, toys or decor items that you don’t want to store or bring with you.
Sort everything by type and keep your “favors” in one area of the party space. Let your friends know that they should feel free to grab anything that strikes their fancy.
Anything left after the party can be trashed (if in poor/opened condition), donated (good/unopened) or gifted to friends in the last hours of your move. Just be sure to keep something for that final cleanup before housing inspection!
Celebrate Your Overseas Move with Fun and Humor
Yes, some of these tips might be a little tongue in cheek. However, using up pantry items, finishing off opened art or cleaning supplies and giving things away is the reality for PCSing military families.
It makes good sense to combine all these PCS-specific tasks into a big celebration with friends! Also, I’m betting that more than a few military friends have already attended or hosted a similar party before.
At the end of the day, your “we’re moving overseas” party will be remembered for good times spent with friends. Whether you serve a stuffing ball creation is totally your call.