When the weather starts to get colder, the holiday season starts to come around again. If you like to entertain, this may be the busiest time of the year. Christmas parties are the mother of all holiday parties, and often require a ton of planning and preparation. So, I researched how to throw the best Christmas party you’ve ever had.
How can you throw an epic Christmas party? The best way to have an epic Christmas party is a high level of preparation and creativity. No matter what you choose to do at your event, you should put your all into it for the best results.
Christmas parties are a great way to have an unforgettable experience with family and friends. Lots of Christmas movie portray crazy parties where adults get together once a year, and kids open presents from their relatives. It can also be very stressful, so having a plan is smart to avoid a Christmas party disaster.
How to Throw an Epic Christmas Party
So, you’ve decided to host an annual event at your house for the holidays. There are many things to consider when planning your Christmas party. If you’re not good a hosting parties, your party is not doomed to fail.
Here are the factors that go into throwing an epic Christmas party:
- Invitation list
- Theme and decor
All it takes is some determination and creativity and your party can be one that’s talked about for years to come.
The very first thing you should do is create a budget. Your Christmas party should never break the bank. The holidays are already and expensive time of year, so you need to be sure to leave enough money for presents, fun activities and of course, your bills.
Depending on your invitation list, you can break up expenses for your party to see if you need to cut back or spend ample time saving to get what you want. A great way to do this is to create an Excel spreadsheet and put the items you need to buy next to cost.
Never feel like you are limited to having a Christmas party at your own home. However, having a Christmas party is more intimate if your guests are friends and family. If it’s a larger party, or a corporate party, you may consider picking renting out a venue.
The only problem with venues is that they obviously cost extra money. Additionally, it requires more planning, and there may be extra rules that the owners of the venue have that can constrict what your vision is for the party.
You need to consider your venue capacity and the number of guests you want to accommodate. A fatal mistake for your Christmas party is over inviting and not having enough resources or space to tend to everyone. This is especially important if you are inviting people into your home.
You also need to decide if you want your Christmas party to be kid-friendly. If some of your adult friends have tons of children, it may be in your best interest to consider making the party adult only, especially if you are serving lots of alcohol beverages, or if it is a corporate Christmas party.
However, if your Christmas party is more intimate and family geared, the more children the merrier. If the number of children is seemingly unbearable, if you have the extra funds you can hire an entertainer to engage the children in various activities to let everyone have a stress-free, good time.
You should also pick a theme and select your decor. This may be the most important part to create an eye-catching space, and one that will make your guests feel comfortable and relaxed.
Almost any big store or craft store will sell a wide variety of Christmas decorations for you to choose from. You can choose traditional decor for a classier feel, or if your goal is to create a fun atmosphere, you may consider choosing more unorthodox and nontraditional decorations.
Additionally, if you have the money, and if the Christmas party is super extravagant, you can always hire a decorator to decorate your space for you.
If you are not naturally gifted with creativity and don’t have an eye for home decorations, there are tons of ideas you can find in seasonal magazines or online. Some good sources for inspiration include Better Homes and Gardens, Pinterest, Country Living and party specific blogs.
The interior of your house doesn’t have to be the only things your decorations find themselves on. Decorations the outside of your house with lights and wreaths can make your guests feel welcome and at home before they even walk in the door.
Decorating the exterior of your house can be more challenging that decorating the inside of your house, so be sure to take the necessary safety precautions if you plan on hanging string lights from high points on your home. If you feel uncomfortable getting on a ladder, this may be a good area to phone a friend with experience or hire someone.
Before your guests arrive, make sure that everything is complete the day before as far as decorations are concerned. Even setting your table with a table cloth the day before can decrease stress and allow you to focus on other tasks that need to be completed the day of.
However, don’t let your glassware sit out for too long in advance, as it may collect small amounts of lint that could take away from the class of your party.
This may go without saying, but make sure your house is clean before your guests arrive. Additionally, spray your house with cleaner and disinfectant and the colder months are also notorious for being the time of year where many people get sick. Germs are going around, so make sure no one leaves your house sick!
Think of cool games you and your guests could play together, create a menu of food and decided the overall feel you want your party to have. Christmas parties come in all shapes and sizes, so decided what you want your party to be.
Christmas Party Theme Ideas
Contrary to popular belief, just because a party is a Christmas party, doesn’t mean they all have to follow the same rules. Picking a theme can be a fun way to personalize your party and make it fun for your guests to experience something different than they may be used to.
Some great theme ideas:
- Elf themed
- Cookies for Santa
- Pancakes and Pajamas
- Reindeer themed
- The Nutcracker
- Winter Wonderland
- Ugly Sweater
- Christmas Movie Night
Choosing a fun theme can arguably be the best part in planning a Christmas party. Especially if your guests involve children, the more whimsical and creative the theme, the more fun it is.
You can endless ideas online, but I picked some of my favorites.
For an elf themed Christmas party, you can go as crazy as you want. Maybe you want to wear an actual elf costume, but you can also incorporate green more into your decorations.
A good idea for this theme is to have game where children pretend they are in Santa’s workshop and make crafts that would be the presents on Santa’s sleigh. The more creative the better.
Cookies for Santa is a theme that doesn’t require a ton of extra decorations. You can keep your regular decorations up and add a few more Santa themed ones.
A great idea for this theme is to have a cookie bake-off, with judges declaring a winner on the best tasting cookie, most creative cookie or most Christmassy cookie. You can encourage your guests to bring cookies that they make at their own homes to take some stress off yourself in making the extra cookies by yourself.
Pancakes and Pajamas is a theme that some people may have never heard of. If you want to ditch the traditional Christmas dinner at your Christmas party, you can opt for breakfast. After all, most adults and children love breakfast food.
Encourage your guests to wear their pajamas for a fun, laid back feel. You can even have a dress code of Christmas themed pajamas or if you want to take it a step further, onesies.
For the pancake part of this theme, you can run with a log cabin idea, or you can attempt to create your pancakes into Christmas themed shapes for the kids. To make your pancakes even more whimsical, you can add food coloring.
A winter wonderland themed party can be done by hanging snowflakes up in your house and even serving ice cream as dessert. If you keep your decor focused around the color blue, you can give off a wintery vibe, rather than a cozy Christmas vibe.
If you want to take this theme a step further, you can have fake snow in your front yard, or hang up fake icicles outside your home to let people feel as if they are living in an actual winter wonderland. Another decor idea for this them is the use of penguins, snowmen and pictures of sleds around your house.
An ugly sweater themed party is a timeless tradition that many families participate in annually. You can dig in your grandparents closet or go to your local thrift store to find outrageous sweaters for this theme.
A good idea is to have an ugly sweater contest. Plan a small prize for the guest that shows up wearing the craziest Christmas sweater.
Planning a Christmas Party: Step by Step
There are a few main factors and steps that go into planning a Christmas party, which were briefly mentioned previously. In this section, we will be going over this topic in more detail.
Steps in planning a Christmas party:
- Make a guest list
- Pick a theme/decor
- Prepare food
The first step in planning your Christmas party is creating a budget, and the second step is making your guest list keeping your budget in mind. Keeping money in mind will help you stay organized and fiscally responsible during this expensive time of year.
Picking your guest list can be done by determining what type of Christmas party you are hosting. If it is more intimate, you may want to only invite close friends and family. However, if it is a neighborhood Christmas party, invited your community is a great way to get to know people better than you may not have been close with before.
The third step is picking your theme, if none of the themes mentioned in the previous section appeal to you, there are tons of ideas you can research on your computer from many different websites. A great place to start is the social media website Pinterest, that have links to hundreds of blogs and DIY ideas for any occasion.
Another step you can add in is deciding how traditional your Christmas party is going to be. Many families have a strict way Christmas parties are set up and run, that many times stretch back from several generations. There may be some activities that you do year after year that people continuously look forward to.
On the other hand, if you want to do something that you’ve never done before, getting creative can make your Christmas party stand out from the others. Whether this fun element takes place in your decor or your activities, getting creative is never a bad option.
Once you pick out your theme, you can start picking out your decor. You can save time by ordering this online. However, if you like the experience of hand picking your decorations, head to your local craft store or Walmart.
The next step is preparing your food menu. If you don’t want to spend a ton of time and energy cooking, you may consider getting your food catered. However, if your party depends on grandma’s recipes, plan out your time so you can get everything done before your guests arrive.
The final step is to plan your activities. If you like games, brainstorm fun games that everyone can participate in. If it’s something that not everyone can participate in or enjoy, you might want to reconsider incorporating it in your event.
The last piece of advice is to relax and have fun. The point of a Christmas party is making memories with people you care about, and when the host is relaxed, the guests will be relaxed and have fun as well.
The key to being relaxed always goes back to planning. If you are prepared and plan, stress won’t come your way. In order to make memories, try to enjoy yourself and your company.
Ideas for Christmas Party Activities
Your Christmas party activities largely depend on your Christmas theme. However, there are some time timeless Christmas themed games that everyone can enjoy year after year.
Christmas party activities:
- Ugly sweater contest
- Cookie contest
- White elephant gift exchange
- Christmas caroling
- Watching a Christmas movie
Ugly sweater contests have been around for quite some time. It’s a great way to step out of your comfort zone and laugh at who has the most obnoxious Christmas themed outfit. Cookie contests are also another great way to involve everyone in a fun competition and can be incorporated with a cookie themed party.
If you haven’t participated in a white elephant gift exchange, you may be the minority. This is a fun way for everyone at the party to receive a present without having to personalize them to the recipient.
To play this game, everyone participating will need to bring a gift. A good way to make it fair is to have a price limit on the amount that people can spend on the item they choose in the store. Before you begin the game, make slips of paper number from one up to the number of people playing.
Have everyone draw a number, and the person with the number one will pick a wrapped gift first. As the numbers get higher, the people can either choose to pick a new gift or steal from a person who already opened a gift.
An even better way to make this game fun is to allow people to buy gag gifts. It can be enjoyable to see people open crazy and random things.
Christmas caroling is a more traditional activity you and your guests can participate in. If you go this route, you may consider have pre-selected songs with printed out lyrics for everyone to look at when you get to the houses you are singing at.
Some popular Christmas caroling songs include, O Holy Night, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and so many more. If people have the lyrics in front of them and the Christmas spirit inside their hearts, you can bring joy to your neighbors and your local community.
This is a great way to also introduce a timeless Christmas addition to children. Many times, the activities children experience growing up at Christmas parties turn into the stories and traditions they pass on to the next generation.
If you and your guests are the time to get under warm blankets and chill, watching a good Christmas movie together may be the route to go. Some families have traditions of watching the same movie at their Christmas parties, or you can have some options for people to vote on and choose from.