Ice cream socials have been around since the 1700s, and it's easy to understand why: it's a celebration of both togetherness and of ice cream. What could be better than that? We still love this treat today, seeing as 9% of all milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to make ice cream. But if you think it's impossible to throw a contemporary ice cream social celebration, you may be in for a surprise. Though its origins may be retro, there are plenty of ways to bring this event into the 21st century. Here are some must-have elements of any ice cream social and how you can put your own modern twist on this type of party.
What Should Every Ice Cream Social Include?
- Invitations: You can make any social gathering feel even more special by announcing it with a bit of fanfare. Receiving a physical invitation in the mail is a bit of a rarity these days, so you can really make an impression with a custom-made invite sent through the post. You can easily DIY this to save some money (bonus points if you use recycled paper for the sake of sustainability!). Alternatively, you could also go digital with email or Facebook invites -- though keep in mind that with so many other event notifications, yours could get lost in the shuffle.
- Decor: You can really drive home the theme of your ice cream social through the decorations you choose. Go for a retro 50's sock hop motif with black and white checkered tablecloths, red and white striped banners, and tunes of the era playing on the jukebox (or Bluetooth speaker). Alternatively, you could opt for rustic pastels with a homemade ribbon garland, a chalkboard menu, and antique serving trays. Whenever possible, try to use decor that can be reused for future occasions to cut down on unnecessary waste. Encourage your guests to echo the theme in their choice of clothing; whether they need to come up with a costume or don their Sunday best, this will add a sense of occasion to your party and make guests feel even more excited about the frozen desserts that await them.
- Ice Cream Buffet: Of course, it wouldn't be an ice cream social without frozen treats and toppings! Be sure to get the classics (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry) and some less traditional flavors (like fruit sorbet, peanut butter, caramel swirl, or birthday cake), too. You'll also need chocolate sauce, caramel topping, chopped nuts, sprinkles, crushed candy and cookies, fresh fruit, whipped topping, and cherries. Want to add some ice cream floats or milkshakes to the equation? Get some unique soda pops (preferably in glass bottles that you can reuse or recycle), a blender for the kitchen, and some eco-friendly paper straws for sipping.
- Serving Utensils: Your guests won't be able to enjoy their ice cream creations without a means to hold and eat them! Get some colorful plastic or clear glass bowls, sundae dishes, and tall glasses that will fit your theme and that you can wash and reuse later. Although real silverware will mean more clean up afterward, it's a greener option. And of course, you'll want to get eco-friendly paper straws for drinkable goodies. If you plan on serving cupcakes or mini-pies to go with your ice cream, use recyclable wrappers or tins and reusable plates, as well.
Throwing a retro ice cream social circa now can be immensely enjoyable. Just make sure to prioritize sustainability by using reusable and recyclable items (such as eco-friendly paper straws and washable plates) so that you can protect the planet of the future while you enjoy the frozen treats of the past.