Christmas Party Ideas
The best Christmas party ideas
‘Tis the season — to party! There’s something about the holidays that brings people together and gives you the perfect excuse to celebrate. Since social calendars fill up around Christmastime, you should start planning your party early. Whether you’re planning a get-together for friends, a gathering with your coworkers or a pajama party with the neighbors, tell them to save the date and start planning for your event. Take a look at these ideas for Christmas party themes, food and games to organize the event of the season.
Christmas Party Themes
A fun theme is the foundation that sets the stage for your guests and ties everything together, from invitations to music, food and decor. The options are endless, but these are some exciting ideas to get you started.
Ugly Christmas sweaters — While this idea has become more popular in recent years, it’s still entertaining for guests. Because most sweaters are second-hand, decorate in the same vein with an assortment of unique, vintage holiday items. Asks guests to wear their best (or worst, really) Christmas attire. You can even host a fashion show and declare the Ugliest Sweater at your party!
Winter wonderland — Use this theme for a little more of a fancy party with colors of ice blue, silver and winter white. Think all things snowy and icy to dream up a menu that might include a sweet blue punch, powdered donuts (call them sno-nuts!) and bottled water labeled as “melted snow.” While this works great for a Christmas party, it’s appropriate for the entire winter season, so you could celebrate with this theme well into January.
Favorite things party — The Rodgers and Hammerstein song “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music is often sung at Christmastime, and it makes a great party theme. Here’s how we recommend setting it up: Ask every guest to bring one of their favorite things that costs $10 or less wrapped and ready to give (you could request a specific category like kitchen items, beauty products, books or crafting items.) Serve food and enjoy each other’s company, and then do the swap: Guests will write their name on a piece of paper and place it in a cup, then each draws out a name to receive that guest’s favorite thing. It’s a unique way to do a gift exchange without playing Dirty Santa or White Elephant.
Grouchy Christmas — Throw a green grumpy party that is anti-festive in the spirit of the Grinch. You can serve green punch, sour treats, and “roast beast” sandwiches. Play “Pin the heart on the Grinch” and have guests come with crazy Who-inspired hair.
Cookie swap — Embrace one of the season’s sweetest treats with a cookie swap. Ask each guest to bring two dozen cookies in a travel container, and provide trays to set them out at the party. Serve savory foods and let guests take home dessert by swapping cookies. If guests brought two dozen cookies, then they can switch it up and sample two dozen to take home! It’s a great way to enjoy a variety of cookies without having to bake multiple times.
North Pole Party — This party is all about Santa! Of course, you’ll serve his favorite foods — milk and cookies. Invite guests to wear their pajamas and play The Polar Express in the background (or make a viewing part of your party.) This is the perfect opportunity for a “Reindeer Food” bar to make your own trail mix. Set out bowls of nuts, cereal, pretzels, chocolate chips and other snack foods, and guests can mix their own into jars. Kids can take it home and set it out for the reindeer with Santa’s cookies (and the adults can just snack on it.)
Christmas Party Food
Party-themed food is fun, but these foods are just as festive and delicious.
Soup spread — In the cold winter, few things are as comforting as soup. Make several offerings (cover all the bases — brothy, creamy, meaty, spicy) or ask guests to bring their favorite soups potluck. When it comes time to serve them all, ask guests to bring a small muffin tin (or buy several disposable muffin tins). Each section of the muffin pan holds a single serving of soup. Serve traditional toppings like shredded cheese, chopped onions and sour cream to top each soup and an assortment of crackers and breads to go along. Some of our favorite soups and snacks include:
- Tomato basil soup
- Slow cooker chicken noodle soup
- White chicken chili
- Texas-style chili
- Vegetable soup
- Seasoned soup crackers
- Parmesan ranch oyster crackers
12 days of Christmas menu —Based on the popular Christmas song, create your own menu based on these ideas — or just choose a few of the verses because you may not want to serve 12 dishes! You could serve:
- Pear cake (a partridge in a pear tree)
- Turtle candies (two turtledoves)
- Roast Chicken (three French hens)
- Chicken wings (four calling birds)
- Onion rings (five golden rings)
- Deviled eggs (six geese a-laying)
- Seven layer dip (seven swans a-swimming)
- Milk chocolate cake (eight maids a-milking)
- Spicy salsa (nine ladies dancing and ten lords a-leaping)
- Breadsticks (eleven pipers piping)
- Chicken drumsticks (twelve drummers drumming)
Fun shaped foods — With a little inspiration, you can make just about anything in the shape of Christmas trees, wreaths, snowmen or candy canes. Here are some fun ideas for party food that cover everything from appetizers to dessert:
- Christmas tree shaped fruit platter
- Christmas tree shaped vegetable tray
- Turkey cranberry pinwheels in the shape of a Christmas tree
- Holiday wreath salad
- Caprese salad wreath
- Holiday cheese wreath
- Snowman pizza
- Snowman cheese ball
- Candy cane shaped pizza
- Candy cane cherry Danish
Christmas party decoration ideas
If your home or office is decorated for Christmas already, you probably don’t need to do much more to make it party décor. Christmas lights, a tree, candles and wreaths are already very festive. If you feel like adding to the décor, consider creating a fun entrance space, like wrapping your front door to look like a gift. Or try adding lots of extra lights, either with candles (real or artificial) and bulbs. Twinkling lights bounce off mirrors and sparkly decorations, giving the appearance of even more illumination. Another fun Christmas party decoration idea is to have a photo booth area. Download a photo booth app and set up a tablet on a tripod, then make an easy backdrop using a white cloth and string lights, like this one from HappyWedd.
Christmas party games and activities
Keep it simple with just a few activities or games. A “decorate-your-own” gingerbread house bar is exciting, and so is a “guess the number of ornaments” container (with a prize for the winner, of course.) To get your guests laughing, check out these Christmas game ideas or this fun Christmas drawing game.
Even more Christmas party fun
Christmas Eve party
A Christmas Eve party is the ultimate pajama party! Bake cookies ahead of time and set out frosting and toppings for a cookie decorating party to take home and set out for Santa. The main event can be watching a classic holiday movie together.
Office holiday parties
The most exciting office parties are where everyone goes home with a gift. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but items like gift cards, candy and coffee mugs are great game prizes.
Two ideas for office holiday party games are this Poke-a-Tree game or the Saran Wrap game. Include one or two big-ticket items if you can (ask your boss to approve a certificate for a day off!) to get people interested in playing.
Other holiday parties
No matter the occasion, create a festive celebration with these two ideas that work for any holiday party.
A hot cocoa (or coffee, for adults) bar can be a big hit! Whipped topping, marshmallows, flavored syrups and other toppings allow guests to create their perfect cup. If you really want to make it special, use holiday mugs that your guests can take home as a party favor.
Another crowd pleaser is a breakfast party. Invite guests to wear their pajamas and serve popular breakfast foods like pancakes and chocolate milk. Serve donuts in a unique way with this DIY donut stacker or set up a pancake and waffle toppings buffet so everyone can make their favorite combination (think fruits, chocolate chips, different syrups, whipped topping and more).
Do you have other Christmas party ideas?
What traditions do you include at your holiday get-togethers? We’d love to hear your favorite party planning tips in the comments.