In this post: Looking to elevate a cozy night at home? These movie night ideas will help you host a warm evening with family or friends at home.⇒
I learned early on that one of the best ways to relate to one’s kids is to meet them on their own level.
That is to say, to find what really interests them and learn all about it. Genuinely. Thoroughly.
This idea actually works with anyone you’re having trouble connecting with, as much as it did all those years ago with children who were blossoming and discovering their passions.
When my son was young, it meant searching for hard-to-come-by, unique release toys when I traveled to the Far East on business trips, even if it meant passing up our company party cruise (yep, I did!) I spent my weekends shopping to score a much favored action figure, delighted to find I was heralded a hero when I returned home and presented the bounty. I knew the lingo. I knew what would be appreciated.
So when my kids grew up and moved out on their own, I needed to find the adult version of this magic trick. And that’s how we came to cherish movie night.
That same little boy who loved action figures, now in his 30’s, is a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. About a year ago, I realized a great way to get him to spend weeknight evenings with us was to invite him for dinner and a movie, and the best way to ensure it became a regular occurrence was to watch all the Marvel movies, in order, starting from the very first one. Sure enough, this has become a weekly custom that we all treasure and we’ve moved on to lots of other different films.
If you’d like to create your own movie night tradition, whether it be with friends, family or even by yourself, here are some great ideas to make the evening special.
Movie Night at Home
Given that we’re adults and are not looking to recreate a children’s birthday party, we typically stay away from kitschy decorations that attempt to mimic a movie theater, like faux movie tickets and movie posters (although if you have a home theatre, framed movie posters can be a nice touch).
Instead we tend to focus on things that will actually make the night more enjoyable, and most fall within one of three categories: a comfortable viewing space, a source for films, and great food and snacks.
Movie Night Snacks
If time is not an issue, or if we have more guests than just our small family, I might serve a quick simple dinner at the dining table first, and then move into the family room where I’ll supplement the meal with an array of snacks.
But when it’s just the three of us, the snack food often becomes the main event and encompasses a lot more than mere salty snacks. With the right platters, you can serve a variety of foods, neatly displayed around your viewing room.
For the evening shown here, I ordered a selection of serving dishes at the same time I ordered our food and had it all delivered together. I’m a huge fan of collecting various platters for different types of foods, rather than trying to shoehorn every size and shape onto the same basic plates. Chip and dip plates, tiered servers, bowls and trays all have a place in my repertoire.
To work with my decor style, I opted for sleek white and natural wood serving pieces. I chose a lovely acacia wood chip and dip set for nachos with queso sauce (although you can substitute salsa, guacamole or sour cream), and an elegant white porcelain rectangular serving plate for cheese sticks and chicken strips.
I placed individual size bowls of popcorn on a chic wooden tray and filled a divided lazy suzan set with popular movie theater candy. Most of these were to please my son, so I chose Skittles, Twizzlers, peanut butter cups and milk and dark chocolate bars.
Other casual dinner options include pizza, curly fries, hot dogs or chili dogs and, of course, ice cream or milkshakes for dessert. If we’re eating in the family room, I stick to finger foods for convenience, and leave dessert for after the movie.
Classic Movie Night Foods
- Hot pretzels
- Chicken strips
- Mozzarella sticks
- Make you own pizza
- Curly fries
- Hot dogs
- Chili dogs
Cozy Viewing Room
In addition to refreshments, there are a few other things I like to add to our living space to make the mood as cozy as possible.
Rather than trying to duplicate a cinematic experience in the theater, we go all in on lazying about the couches. Our family room is dominated by a huge sectional sofa, so comfort is pretty much guaranteed. Yet I still like to add soft plush throw pillows and chunky blankets to encourage optimal relaxation. There are always enough pillows for each participant and plenty of room to put your feet up.
We have a large state of the art TV with a sound bar (which we prefer over the surround sound speakers we had before), we always dim the lights and unless it’s summer, we turn the fireplace on. Seasonal scented candles are also a plus.
Other Movie Night Ideas
- Make a habit of discussing the movie over dessert
- Toss out a few ideas for the next movie you’d like to watch
- If you can get together often enough, consider a limited series instead of a movie
- Make a rule, no phone interruptions allowed (including texts)
- Try a film genre outside your normal fare – classic old films, westerns, adventure films or documentaries
- If you have space for an outdoor movie screen you can try a backyard movie night
Sometimes it’s the simplest evenings that provide the most joy and warmth. You don’t always need to prepare a fancy multi-course meal and serve it on an elaborately set table with candelabras.
An easy-going movie night, or any other casual evening at home, is something you can easily repeat week after week, without breaking a sweat. And before you know it, you’ve created a tradition that gives you all the feels while generating a season of memories.
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