Seven things to keep in mind for a successful football watch party.

Hot-Sauce-and-Honey-Chicken Dip
| Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Every year, in those first few days of February, the Super Bowl rolls around and relieves us all of the pressure to carry on with our health-oriented New Year's resolutions. For some, this day is all about making the right plays, the big shiny trophy, or even the half-time show. For us, it's about junk food, parties, and yet another excuse to hang out on a Sunday evening. It's about the buffalo chicken dip and the Mississippi mud brownies. The cold brews and the beer'garitas. Here's a handy checklist to make sure your first (or second, or third, or tenth…) Super Bowl watch party is a win:

The Food Most importantly is what you will serve. Make sure to have a spread of both salty and sweet. Have the classic Super Bowl snacks on hand, like wings and dips. But also make sure everyone feels taken care of with options for those who are gluten-free, vegetarian, or lactose intolerant. No one goes hungry on Super Bowl Sunday!

The Drinks Next on the lineup are the beverages. Come up with a signature, team-oriented cocktail, or even better, two rival cocktails. Plus, have some good Southern beers on hand (some of our favorites are here). And of course, have equally festive non-alcoholic options ready to go too. One shouldn't be relegated to water for not imbibing! We love our mulled cranberry sipper for February.

The "Cooler" Related to drinks: Keep more ice than you think you need on hand. You'll need it both to put in guest's drinks and for keeping buckets of bottled beverages cool. (Plus, if you have excess leftover, you'll always be able to use it in your day-to-day. It is ice, after all.)

The Seating When it comes time to finally watch the game, make sure everyone's got a seat. Don't feel like you have to build a small stadium in your den; pallets of blankets and large pillows work too. Dig up all those camping and tailgating chairs if you must to add to your seating capacity. As long as everyone's got a spot in front of the screen—one way or another—they'll be happy.

The Gathering Area Have a separate, logical area where guests can also gather to catch up. This inevitably happens, so might as well prepare for it. Friends can catch up in the kitchen around spare snacks while loyal fans stay glued to the scoreboard in the den.

The Activities Have a few extra activities on hand for restless kids (and adults). Old standbys like corn hole and tossing around a football do the trick.

The Spirited Hostess Nothing dampens a party like a stressed host—even if the ice melts, the cake flops, and the guacamole turns brown, a good time is what guests will remember if you have the right attitude.