So listen: It’s cold outside. So cold that the thought of being at a Packers game in December makes me shiver with rage.
I know, I know. There’s nothing like tailgating and having that Lambeau experience, yada yada. For those of you who can’t face the cold, or can’t get to Miami this Christmas, there are ways to bring that tailgate experience into your home. You also get the added bonus of no one near you trying to start the wave when the Packers are on offense.
First thing’s first—you need some clothes. Rather than bundling up with multiple coats, may I suggest that old Packers hoodie you stole from your dad’s closet 25 years ago? The one with the faded XXXI and still-visible nacho cheese stains on the chest? Is that too specific? Am I projecting?
This is your chance to bust out the gear no one sees when you’re at a game. I’m talking Packers toe socks. Your Green Bay pajamas. Those weird slippers your mom got you for Christmas a few years ago that are obnoxiously large but incredibly comfortable. Who’s going to judge you? Your dog? In his canine Packers jersey? I don’t think so.
Time for an extremely underrated part of any home tailgate: the atmosphere. You need to make sure your guests are in a place where they want to yell at the TV. It’s time to make this tailgate house a tailgate home.
We are smack dab in the middle of December, which means indoor string lights are finally acceptable again for people over the age of 25. Get some green and white lights, and put those babies up! You’re also going to need some activities for before and after the Packers’ Christmas game, and what could be more festive than a classic game of beer pong? The cup layout literally looks like a Christmas tree.
And is it cornhole or bags? Regardless, there are indoor sets now! This game is peak-tailgate, and it’s family friendly so the tiny cheeseheads can join. Some other indoor-only tailgate games include darts, pool, and my personal favorite: ping pong.
As we all know, no tailgate is complete without good eats. It can be a little tricky to replicate that game day food-feel when temps are below freezing, but fear not. I’ve figured it out: chili.
But not just any chili. Replace the meat in your chili with Italian sausage or bratwurst. What’s more gameday, more Packers gameday, than a brat? The answer would be spilling beer all over yourself trying to get back into your seat, but that’s less likely to happen at home. Chili is the perfect winter tailgate meal, especially with some freshly grated cheddar cheese.
Now, I understand chili may not be for everyone, so there are other options. Crockpot queso is a quick and easy snack. Buffalo chicken dip will mimic that hot feeling you get in your chest right as the refs make a horrible roughing the passer call. You could also play it safe and get a tray of meats and cheeses. You have so many more options when you can keep all the food on the kitchen table!
I just listed a whole bunch of food with cheese in it, and guess what pairs well with cheese: beer. We all love a good Spotted Cow, but unfortunately, not all of us have the ability to get this Wisconsin-only treasure. A really great widely-available beer is New Belgium’s Holiday Ale. It’s got a wintry spice to it, which is perfect for December football. For my fellow cheeseheads living in enemy territory, there’s always Goose Island. Their Bourbon County Stouts are aged in bourbon barrels and feature flavors like coffee, biscotti, and even fig cookie.
If you’re not a beer drinker, there’s always the classic Old Fashioned, which actually feels like it was made to be consumed on a peeling leather couch, with snow falling lightly in the background while you watch AJ Dillon thunder it in for a touchdown.
If alcohol isn’t your thing, there’s always hot chocolate, cider, and coffee, or you could fill your body with even more dairy and go with some eggnog. I cannot guarantee that your stomach won’t experience some level of suffering in this case, but it’s Christmas. Give your toilet a gift.
The most important part of any tailgate, however, is that you spend it with people who make you happy. The Packers haven’t been the greatest at providing comfort this season, but surrounding yourself with good people can do the job just fine. Just make sure you’re not all consuming massive amounts of dairy at the same time.