Holiday

How to Host An Unforgettable Christmas Party

Throwing a Christmas party is about creating meaningful memories—not to mention, having a ball with your nearest and dearest. Check out these entertaining ideas for a festive soirée that’ll keep your guests reminiscing for years.

Christmas Themed Buffet Table for a Party

Theme Your Christmas Party

Not only will choosing a theme help you plan, it’ll set your holiday fête apart from others. There’s always the ugly sweater party, but what about turning the tables on the cold weather and hosting a beach-themed Christmas party, complete with mojitos, pineapples, and beach balls? Perhaps consider a color scheme, such as white or silver and gold, and ask your guests to dress accordingly. No matter your choice, the photos you capture are sure to be memorable.

Get organized

Are you planning a large event or a more intimate gathering? Will your party be formal, casual or somewhere in the middle? Make these decisions early and plan your party accordingly. Create a guest list and a to-do list for the week before your event. If your guests offer to bring something, feel free to delegate. Allowing them to assist with planning or preparation makes guests feel involved.

Set Up A Photo Booth

Give your guests the chance to take creative and fun photos with more than just their cell phones. Rent a photo booth from a local vendor, or set one up yourself by mounting your camera to a tripod and turning on the flash. Rather than shooting against a bare wall, pick up an extra holiday-patterned tablecloth to hang as a cheery backdrop, and add a few fun props too—giant candy canes, Santa hats and beards are sure to spark extra merriment. If you use a camera and a tripod, include a remote or a delay timer so everyone can get into the frame.

Make The Bar Self-Service

Spend more of your party time mingling with your guests by setting up a self-serve beverage station. Provide pre-made signature cocktails or holiday punch in elegant beverage dispensers. Include glassware and a small card telling guests what they’re drinking. Additionally, save a spot for wine and add stemware and corkscrews. If you like, set up a similar station for beer. Consider offering one non-alcoholic specialty drink, such as peppermint iced tea, for guests who don’t drink or who are underage. The more self-serve options you offer, the more you’ll be able to relax and enjoy yourself. Remember to replenish your glassware collection before the Christmas party. Don’t worry about finding drinkware that perfectly matches your existing pieces. A mix of vintage and new makes a house party feel cozy and casual.

Offer Snacks Instead Of A Sit-Down Dinner

Small bites and finger foods are easy and fun to make in advance. For a fast and universally-appealing array, set out a fruit and cheese platter, an antipasto plate, a decorative bowl filled with roasted or mixed nuts, and a dip—such as hummus drizzled with olive oil—served with crackers or toasted pita. If you have guests with dietary restrictions, provide one or two options that they can enjoy as well.

Create a Playlist

No holiday party is complete without music, and you have endless options at your fingertips. Choose Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and other classic artists for vintage elegance. Look for holiday albums from your favorite contemporary singers, and create a mix-and-match music list that pairs upbeat selections with more mellow tunes. Want something different? Ask each of your guests to share their own tunes.

Play Reindeer Games

Everyone loves to play, so consider incorporating a game or two into your party plans. Set out materials for gingerbread houses and challenge your guests to a decorating contest. Provide classic board and card games on coffee tables and side tables for partygoers to play throughout the evening. For crafty groups, turn the party into an ornament-making bash. Invite your guests to bring their favorite ornament materials for everyone to share, and set up a craft table with extra tools and supplies, such as felt, glitter, ribbons, bows and hot glue guns.

Designate A Dessert Table

Let’s face it, the holidays just aren’t the same without sweets—Christmas cookies, candy canes, pies, gingerbread and so much more. Whether you bake or buy your treats for your Christmas party, elegant trays and platters instantly elevate any offering. Plan your party space to allow for last-minute additions from friends bearing homemade appetizers or desserts. Place pastries or candies inside paper muffin cups—your sweets will look fancier, and guests can easily swoop them up when passing by.

Party For A Good Cause

The holidays are all about giving, so keep the Christmas spirit front and center by turning your gathering into a donation event. Instead of doing a gift exchange, one of our favorite Christmas party ideas is to have your guests bring in an item for a local charity, animal shelter, food pantry or a local family in need. It’s a wonderful way to add to the warmth and joy of the season.

For a unique morning fête, check out our Christmas brunch ideas. Looking ahead to December 31st? Check out our New Year's Eve party ideas for inspiration.

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