This post is part of a series – “31 days to take the Stress out of Christmas”. You can read all the posts in the series here. And to make sure you don’t miss a post you can subscribe to have every post delivered to your inbox, or follow me on facebook.
Do you host an annual Christmas party? I am not necessarily talking about your family gathering to open gifts/have Christmas dinner although some of you might use some of these ideas for that time as well. I am talking about having friends or a Sunday School class or coworkers over for an annual Christmas party.
We do and I thought I might share some tips on hosting, food, games and themes for hosting a holiday party.
1. Plan ahead. See this post. Planning ahead will make all the difference in making sure your party is enjoyable and not filled with stress. Think through food, decorations, who will come, will you have a theme, time, date, etc. Make sure to let your guests know about your party plenty ahead of time as the calendar seems to fill up quickly during December.
2. Clean your house ahead of time. Again see this post – get the decluttering and major cleaning done way ahead of time so all you have to do the day before party is quick vacuum and mop, and touch up the bathrooms.
3. Plan your menu and make it easy. Don’t attempt to cook a full Christmas dinner for 25 guests, while hosting a party all 5 days before Christmas. Unless that is your thing, you do it often, and you can do it without going crazy (and driving your family crazy too) – I am not one of those people! Do a potluck style where you ask people to bring a dish, dessert, or snacks to contribute to the food. Or do a simple menu with appetizers and snacks – some homemade, some semi-homemade. And do it buffet style. If you plan the party for 7 pm – you won’t need to plan dinner – just snacks, desserts.
You could also host a Christmas cookie exchange party where everyone brings 2 dozen of their favorite cookies and you just provide the drinks.
3. Decorate. Usually your house is already decorated for Christmas so that is all the decorations you need. I will add fun disposable paper goods since ours is an informal party. And you could do a tablescape or dinner table but fortunately you probably won’t have to do much decorating!
4.Have a theme. A theme can make your party fun! Here’s some fun ideas:
The Dating Divas has some great printables and tips for hosting an ugly Christmas sweater party
You could also do a Christmas character party and have people come dressed as characters from The Grinch Stole Christmas or Rudolph or just general Christmas characters like Elves, Santa, Reindeer, Snowman, etc.
Or have a party based around a theme like a Polar Express, Grinch, Rudolph and coordinate your food to go along that theme.
I have always wanted to do this – build a fun photo booth with props such as reindeer antlers, noses, snowman hats, santa hats, etc.
Or ask everyone to wear their favorite scarf or winter hat. A theme can add conversation and fun to a party without going over the top with it either.
5. Gifts. You can choose to not do gifts at all or you can do exchange type gifts. Just make sure you are clear on your invite if you are doing an exchange and set a maximum budget (keep it small – under $20 definitely maybe even $5 or under.) Some fun exchange ideas would be an ornament exchange or a white elephant gift exchange. Typically with a white elephant exchange people bring a fun or silly gift under $5-10. Some people opt to bring gag type gifts, things they drug out of the yard sale stash, a simple gift from the store, or even a small gift card. You draw numbers and then pick gifts up by your #, and people after you can steal them if they wish instead of picking a new gift.
6. Have fun! Don’t forget to take pictures or assign someone to take pictures. Enjoy the season – enjoy your guests and make memories. And if it goes over well consider making it an annual event!
We love our annual Christmas party and look forward to every year. We typically host our singles class that we lead at church every year for a Christmas party in our home. We haven’t done a theme although we may try that this year. I order a Chick-fil-a tray or two, make a dip or snack, and provide the punch/drinks and everyone brings a favorite Christmas treat to share. We play games such as classic party games such as Pictionary, Taboo, Balderdash sometime converting them into a Christmas theme. And I usually find some kind of holiday themed game online too – like unscrambling favorite Christmas songs names or matching characters with movies. And we do a white elephant gift exchange. We enjoy it so much we usually invite some family friends for a New Year’s Eve party too.
Do you have an annual Christmas party? I would love to hear what you do and get some new ideas! What’s on you menu – do you go all out or do simple finger foods potluck style?