You started the ugly sweater party trend and you championed the first ever Santa Claus pub crawl. Now you’re ready to do something new. These 13 ideas will inspire you to get planning so you can throw a party that will keep them talking all year.
Show off those home improvements you worked so hard on this year. Set a four-hour drop in time for guests to come by, have a holiday cocktail, and see the new changes in your place. Pro tip: Have your house professionally cleaned before the event. All you have to do is look good.
Ornament Making Mixer
Invite each guest to bring a specific item (Ella—bulbs, Annie—pretty paints, Claire—adhesive glitter ribbons, etc.) Provide a tray of finger food appetizers (or hire a chef to deliver some) and pour a holiday-inspired libation. Pop on the holiday tunes and let the creativity flow. Everyone goes home with a dozen homemade ornaments and great memories.
Photo: Ornament via Papierarre on Etsy
Paparazzi Holiday Photo Booth Party
Finally! An excuse to have a photo booth. Each friend brings a surprise prop to make the pictures really pop. Photo booths have unlimited pictures per rental, so all you need are refreshments, music, and snacks for the party to live on in history. Make a custom hashtag for the event so friends live post action as it’s happening.
Photo: Taylor Swift Tumblr
Christmas Song Karaoke
Nothing says holiday spirit like pop covers of classic Christmas songs after three pints of eggnog. Rent a karaoke service and tell your guests to come prepared to sing their hearts out. Make a pseudo stage by hanging a tinsel curtain behind the karaoke machine and microphone stand. Bonus points to friends who come in celebrity costume.
Gift Cookie Exchange
Love giving cookies to neighbors and co-workers but don’t have time to bake an appealing assortment? Mix efficiency and festivity by inviting 15-20 friends to bring six dozen cookies each. Set up an exchanging table, a slew of cookie tongs, and let guests mix and match to their hearts’ content. Everyone goes home with a beautiful mix of homemade goodness. As host, you can cheat and hire a caterer to make your six dozen perfectly iced gingerbread men and provide some additional extras for the guests.
Day After Christmas Brunch
Think of it as post-holiday decompression. You survived Thanksgiving, shopping, Christmas Eve, and holiday travel. It’s time to sit back and eat deliciously rich brunch food and enjoy a mimosa or two. Hire a babysitter, have the food catered, and steal some adult time to relax.
Pre-Holiday Santa Claus Photo Party
What sane parent wants to wait in line at the mall for photos with Santa? Hire a professional Santa to come to your house instead. Your friends will love you forever and perhaps chip in on a professional photographer to capture the perfect holiday portrait. Kiddos can go crazy telling Santa their wish list while big kids sip spiked cider and enjoy your awesome holiday decor.
Provide several types of prepared hot chocolate and a classic topping or two. Work with a party rental company—or scour second hand shops—for old-school glassware, candy dishes, and vintage decor. Guests bring their favorite add-ins and the fun begins. Inspiration could include gourmet marshmallows, imported cocoa powders, special spices, flavored whipped cream, and—of course—liqueurs for the big kids to enjoy.
Talent Show Time
If friends are tired of the ugly sweater theme, ramp it up with a talent show. Everyone prepares something (anything) to perform in front of the group. Hire an MC via a party planner to keep the show running smooth, and to offset any stage jitters. Have an in-house karaoke bar complete with hired bartender!
Christmas Day Movie Marathon
Mount up that flat screen, reserve every holiday-themed movie known to man, show off a gorgeous party platter of the best movie snacks around, and lay out the cushions. Bonus points to everyone wearing onesie pajamas.
Apres Ski Party
Turn on the retro charm! An event decorator will transform your boho loft into a European chalet with skis in the corner, ice skates over the mantle, and antlers on the wall. Friends dress as their snow bunny or ‘70s ski hunk alter egos. Host a buffet of hot comfort food, hot spiced cider, and have the hottest holiday party in town.
Find a local shelter or foster care service that needs support. Instead of a gift exchange in the group, friends bring an unwrapped gift for a child that might not otherwise get a present this year. Provide laminated information on the organization receiving the gifts alongside a tasty catered spread. Toast to the spirit of giving!
Got a fun holiday party idea we missed? Share it in the comments!