For the last two years, my husband and I have hosted a small holiday party at our home. We make chili, provide all the toppings and serve appetizers. My friends bring their best holiday cookies and we exchange White Elephant gifts. This year was a little colder and darker thanks to Winter Storm Benji, which dropped eight inches of snow and caused power outages in most of my area.
When the power went out on Friday night, we were hesitant to cancel our party that was scheduled for Saturday. Wouldn’t it be the worst to cancel a party, only to have your power come back on? Luckily, as a Red Crosser, I knew what to do when the power went out and how to prevent a home fire. Since the roads were clear, we decided to hold our party and make a few adjustments. Here are some tips to show you how to throw a great holiday party without power.
1. Flameless Candles, Flashlights and Lanterns Are a Must
Since my emergency kit was stocked, I had flameless candles, flashlights and lanterns that served as nice, safe holiday decorations. Our friends even brought theirs over so we’d have more light. Real candles are not recommended, but if they are all you have, just be sure to keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that could potentially catch fire, such as curtains, furniture, bedding, books and flammable liquids.
2. A Gas Fireplace (or Blankets) to Stay Warm
We used our gas fireplace to heat the house as the sun set for the night. Remember to never leave heating sources unattended. If you don’t have a gas heater, make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house. We also advised our friends to bring blankets and to dress in layers in case the power didn’t come back on.
3. Remember to Charge Your Electronics
An external battery charger was essential for keeping our smartphone battery fully charged. As wasteful as it sounds, we used our speaker to play music during the party. To keep from completely burning through my data plan, I used my hand crank weather radio and tuned into a local AM station to hear the status of road conditions and weather updates.
4. Have a Sense of Humor
Since we warned our guests about the power and asked them to layer up and bring flashlights, all of our friends came over and were troopers. They even cracked jokes about turning the lights on so they could see their White Elephant gifts. Their humor certainly helped lift everyone’s spirits – including mine. Plus, it’s also more fun to celebrate with a group when the power finally does come back on.
As winter weather continues over the next few months, make sure you have emergency kits for your home and vehicle. We were lucky enough to have many essentials in our kit to not only host our party, but to stay safe as well. Downloading the Red Cross Emergency app is a great start. It’s filled with helpful safety tips for disasters and notifications for weather alerts.