... let the Party come to you!
Oh yes. I know that organizing a party is a lot a work and stress. Here's how to simplify things, have almost zero preparations and actually enjoy your own party :)
First of all, think about one thing: how well do you know your neighbors? Well? Not at all? Never even seen them? As far as I was concerned, I didn't know my neighbors well enough - after 2 (two!) years of living in this house, I couldn't even tell if that person I met on the stairs actually lived here or was just a visitor. I wanted to change that situation, and have a party in the little garden I share with my neighbors.
The preparation was so simple, I was amazed it never occurred to me before: All I had to do was hang a poster next to the house door, suggesting a barbecue on a certain date. I attached a pen to the poster so people could comment on the idea and lo and behold - everybody seemed to love it!
I hung it on a glass door, so the pretty backside of the poster was visible too. You gotta know how to attract attention, and a picture of a beautiful woman ALWAYS seems to help :)
On the actual day of our barbecue, all I had to do was set up the grill, a table and chairs. I also made two salads, brought some baguettes and dips. The lion insisted on making burgers and ribs, ah well, I suppose that's what you do on a barbecue - I didn't eat any of that, being a vegetarian and all ... ;)
Then, with only minutes to go til the party was supposed to get started, I had a major panic attac, including the obligatory whining that "nobody's going to show up and I just made such a fool of myself, what a stupid idea to begin with, boo-hoo!" ... you get the picture. Not to worry though, I get a minute of doubt like this before EVERY party I organize.
But of course, my neighbors did turn up. We actually had to set up another table and bring more plates and glasses, because so many of them came! They all brought a little bit of food or drink, so everybody was well fed and watered. The kids played soccer and the babies got to play in the sand, while the grown-ups finally got to know each other. Two guys realized that they had made friends years ago on a camping trip, then lost touch, and have now been living in the same building for three years without ever noticing each other!
I'm not the best of photographers, can you tell?
I was very lucky that one of the guys is a event technician and had all sorts of fancy lights and music equipment, and one girl decorated the garden with a lovely garland! There was one very sweet older couple, too, who brought some amazing wine and lit up the place with flowers and candles!
The guys are giving the camera their smartest looks.
In the end, everybody did a little bit of the work, so organizing the party didn't feel like much of a hassle at all. Try it, you might be amazed by the great people living so close to you! Me and my neighbors partied till 3 in the morning ...
By the way, we decided to install a blackboard in the hallway so we can stay in touch more easily. And all that it took was a simple handwritten poster to get all of that started! Yay!