Tips for Hosting a Great Christmas Party
Is it your turn to host the family Christmas party this year or plan a holiday get-together with all of your friends? Whether this is your first time hosting a holiday party or your 20th, it is easy to become stumped for ideas. Thankfully, there are a lot of simple things you can do to make your party a success. Here are a few tips for making your upcoming Christmas celebration a memorable and fun occasion.
Choose Your Party Date Wisely
Should you throw your Christmas party before, or after Christmas? The answer largely depends on preferences and schedules. Many people prefer to throw their holiday parties before Christmas, but that can sometimes be a challenge because the weeks leading up to the holidays are often chock full of parties, shopping and family activities. If you send your invitations out before your guests have a chance to fill up their pre-Christmas calendars, you will have an easier time getting a great party turnout before the holidays officially arrive.
If your guests already have full pre-Christmas calendars, throwing a party after Christmas may increase party attendance. Additionally, many people have work off starting from the week of Christmas through the New Year, and may welcome entertaining diversions to brighten up the days immediately after Christmas.
Another benefit to throwing your party after Christmas is that most department stores heavily discount their holiday items in order to clear off their shelves once Christmas is over. This could be a great opportunity for you to purchase small Christmas gifts for your party guests without spending too much money.
If you do decide to wait until after Christmas to throw your party, make sure you do it before New Year’s. Once everyone has counted down to a brand new year, the time for holiday parties has officially passed as people get back to the daily grind of regular life.
Send Invitations Early
Try to send your party invitations out about a month in advance. This will give your guests plenty of time to pencil it into their calendars before they are caught up in the business of the holidays. The very latest you should send out your invitations is two weeks before your party. You will have a better chance of getting a good turnout if you send your invitations before people have a chance to fill their schedules full of other holiday activities.
Simple Food Is Best
You may feel like you need to go all-out and cook up a wonderful 5-course dinner for your upcoming party. However, even the most ambitious host can quickly become overwhelmed and miss out on the fun if he or she is slaving over the stove while everyone else parties. Finger foods, potluck-style meals or catering can relieve some of your stress so you can sit back and enjoy the festivities, too! You can also ease some of your stress if you hold your party after dinner and only offer desserts and snacks to your guests.
Themes Can Liven up any Party
Party themes can bring fun and excitement to your party while encouraging guests to get involved. Fun party theme ideas include:
- White Elephant Gift Exchange: where the ugliest, most pointless gift wins!
- Ornament Exchange: these can be homemade or store-bought ornaments
- Nightmare Before Christmas: fill your home or party venue with Nightmare Before Christmas décor and treats
- Ugly Sweater Party: send out invites that encourage guests to wear their ugliest sweaters
- Service Party: donate canned goods to your local homeless shelter, take gifts to a children’s hospital, or perform random acts of kindness around town
- Holiday Card-Writing Party: Write Christmas cards to Veterans, nursing home residents or hospital patients
- Winter Beach Party: Bring a touch of summer back with tropical décor and treats
Encourage guests to participate in the party theme by offering a grand prize for the best ugly sweater or white elephant gift.
Keep the Kids Entertained
If kids are welcome at your party, be sure to specify in your invitations. Keep kids entertained with fun holiday-themed activities that will keep their hands busy. A party is no fun if adults are so busy tending to their children’s needs that they are unable to relax and have fun themselves.
Plan activities that are safe and fun for kids to do without constant supervision from adults. Christmas crafts can be a lot of fun for kids, but make sure you only provide safety scissors and other kid-friendly crafting supplies. You could also organize a kids’ corner, complete with kids’ Christmas movies, play mats, books and other activities.
While separating the adults and the kids can make your party more laid-back and fun, you might also want to plan at least one activity that involves both the adults and the kids. Ideas include pin the nose on Rudolph, snowman-building contests or holiday-themed relay races.
Plan Activities for the Adults, Too!
Although chatting with friends and family members can be a lot of fun, your party can quickly lose momentum if you don’t have entertaining activities planned for the adults as well. Here are a few simple and fun adult activity ideas:
- Holiday talent show
- Quilt tying/service project
- Holiday Movie-fest
- Christmas carol karaoke
- Holiday-themed bingo
Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money or effort planning activities for your party. Sometimes the simplest and least expensive activities turn out to be the most memorable and fun.
Set up a Picture Corner
When you’re having a great time with friends and family, you want a souvenir that will help you remember the occasion. Rather than renting a photo booth, why not set up your own picture corner where people can go to take their own photographs? Simply create a backdrop with a large piece of cardboard (a refrigerator box works nicely), and decorate it with colored paper, mistletoe, stockings, wreaths or anything else that will make the backdrop look festive and fun.
These simple tips will help you plan an entertaining, low-stress Christmas party that you and your guests will look back on with fondness for years to come.