3/14/2010

15 Fun Themed Christmas Party Ideas


Holidays are supposed to be about getting together with family and friends, but there definitely IS such a thing as too many holiday parties, especially if they're all cut from the same mold: a few decorations, holiday music, appetizers, and conversation.  Next year, mix things up with one of the following themed holiday parties and make some memories that will actually last!
  1. CHILDREN'S CRAFT PARTY.  Invite the kids in your family over for an afternoon of holiday crafts.  Put a washable tablecloth over your dining room table (or a few card tables) and organize 3-4 holiday-themed crafts for the kids to do together.  (Project ideas: ornaments for tree, bookmarks for gifts.)  Don't forget to program in a break for food: allow the kids to decorate holiday cookies or cupcakes, then eat them.
  2. ADULT CRAFT PARTY.  Why should kids have all the fun? Invite your girlfriends over for an evening of holiday crafting.  You can provide the supplies or ask your friends to BYO.  (Project ideas: homemade christmas cards, homemade gift tags, decorated gift bags, ornaments.)  Supply hors d'oeuvres, beverages, craft tables, and basic supply "staples" - scissors, tape, glue sticks.  A great chance to laugh and gossip while getting some useful holiday work done!
  3. HOLIDAY MOVIE PARTY.  Invite friends/family over for a holiday movie screening or all-day holiday film festivals.  Turns out these holiday classics are even more special when you enjoy them with extended family/friends.  Over the years my family has turned White Christmas into an annual event, featuring a roaring fire, cookies, milk, and lots of shared memories. Other years, often after we've all come back from the Christmas tree farm, we gather the children of the family together for a double feature: Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  (Don't have a big screen TV? Rig up a temporary theater by attaching your DVD player to a projector and projecting the result onto a wall.  You may want to also attach your ipod speakers to boost the volume.) 
  4. HOLIDAY POT LUCK PARTY.  Better than a traditional holiday party because your guests provide the food!  To make this event more fun, assign a theme: "dessert bakeoff" competition & potluck (award prizes for best desserts); "Holiday Costume party" potluck (everyone comes in costume); "Christmas in Hawaii" potluck (everyone dresses in summer clothes, tropical decorations); or the ever-popular "Ugliest Holiday sweater" competition & potluck (person sporting the ugliest holiday sweater wins!).
  5. BAKING PARTY.  Invite 1-3 of your closest friends/family over for a day of baking holiday treats.  Baking is so much less boring when you do it with friends, and more efficient too, since you can rinse/reuse bowls and keep the oven constantly filled.  Gossip, share baking ideas, swap ingredients, and sing Christmas carols as you work.  My best friend Julie and I have been doing this for over a and it's one of our favorite holiday traditions.  (One word of advice: parchment paper!  This will allow you to reuse baking pans without having to clean them in between batches.) 
  6. COOKIE EXCHANGE PARTY.  In advance of the party, ask each guest to bake a big batch of their best cookie and print out multiple copies of the recipe.  (One recipe card + 3 cookies for each person invited.)  On the designated evening, everyone brings their cookies + recipe cards to a central location and sets them out.  After some food and conversation, everyone collects 3 of each cookie + recipe cards to take home with them.  SO much easier than baking multiple recipes, and a great chance to discover new favorites.  The gals who host the one I have been attending for years now always offer wine and non-sweet hors d'oeuvres to offset all the sugar!
  7. ORNAMENT/GIFT EXCHANGE PARTY. In advance of the party, instruct guests to buy and wrap (anonymously) a holiday ornament or gift.   (You can set a price limit if you want - say, no costlier than $10.)  At the party, all wrapped gifts go in a central pool and guests draw from a hat a number from 1 to #(where # is the number of people at the party).  The person who draws #1 goes first, picking and unwrapping a package.  Then, the person who draws #2 chooses one of two options: (1) select & unwrap a new package, or (2) "steal" an item that is in the possession of another guest.  If someone has their ornament/gift "stolen," then they get to replace it via one of the two options described above before play resumes.  The game continues until the last ornament has been unwrapped.  Done right, everyone leaves the party with an ornament, but impossible to predict which one!  My sister-in-law hosts this party every year and does a wonderful job, offering a plentiful buffet lunch before the gift exchange and desserts after.  Works best with good friends, because people who don't know each other well may be too timid to "steal"items from others, which makes the party a LOT less fun.  (To prevent the opposite - too much stealing - announce in advance that a gift can only be "stolen" three times; meaning, the person who steals it the third time gets to keep it.  This introduces a nice element of strategy into the game too!)
  8. GINGERBREAD HOUSE DECORATING PARTY. Cheap gingerbread kits are plentiful during the holidays. So stockpile a bunch of them, whip up a HUGE batch of frosting, lay out decorating bags/tips and a variety of candies, and invite your friends over for a gingerbread house decorating party.  Better yet, make it a contest!  My family does this every year and the fun starts in November, when we all start strategizing what our houses will look like.  Last year's winner was a "Zombieland" gingerbread house ... gruesome but unique!
  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS! PARTY.  Celebrate the reason for the season by throwing a birthday party for baby Jesus, complete with birthday games and cake.  Consider allowing the kids to stage a nativity skit, include bible readings, and join the rest of the guests in wishing for "peace on earth" as you blow out the candles.
  10. PROGRESSIVE DINNER/HORS D'OEUVRES/COCKTAILS/DESSERTS.  Christmas is the perfect excuse to organize a progressive celebration with neighbors or friends who live in geographic proximity.  The idea is to move from house to house, enjoying a different course or treat at each.  Divides the responsibility for entertaining between multiple hosts and gives everyone a chance to enjoy and admire each other's holiday decorations.  Tip #1: Set a time limit, so folks don't linger too long at any one destination.  Tip #2: If you're doing a progressive drinks/cocktail party, no driving!
  11. GIVING PARTY.  Organize a party to earn money for a charity, collect food for a food bank, make food for a food kitchen, or prepare care packages for local charities, overseas charities, or U.S. soldiers serving in foreign lands.  There are so many good ideas for how to give back to the community, I should probably start a new list ...!
  12. DICKENS CHRISTMAS PARTY.  Channel your inner Mr. Fezziwig and throw a traditional holiday celebration, complete with draped greenery, traditional Christmas carols, Victorian foodstuffs/hors d'oeuvres (wassail, goose, pudding), traditional games (blind man's bluff, 20 questions), mistletoe, Christmas crackers, and a yule log burning briskly in the fireplace.  Provide holly sprigs for folks to throw onto the flaming yule log for luck in the coming year, and don't forget to hide a coin in the plum pudding!
  13. CHRISTMAS IN __________ PARTY.  Choose a country and host a celebration that honors that country's holiday foods, games, songs, and traditions
  14. RETRO CHRISTMAS PARTY. Go retro by hosting a party that evokes the 1940s and those fabulous overseas USO shows during the war.  Think retro decorations, big band holiday music, dancing, cocktails, and Spam hors d'oeuvres!
  15. CAROLING PARTY.  Gather family and friends for an evening of caroling through the neighborhood or community.  If you have senior citizen residence or hospital in your community, be sure to include them in your itinerary.  End up somewhere that has hot chocolate!  Tip: Provide booklets of printed lyric, because those second verses can be tough to remember!  Tip #2: if possible, ask someone with some musical sense to begin each song in a key likely to be accessible to most of the guests. 

2 comments:

  1. nice blog you are having, and I really loved the detailed kids christmas party ideas, I will definitely use some of these ideas.

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