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Ideas for Christmas Parties - Party Hosting Ideas for Holidays

Updated on November 3, 2020
Victoria Lynn profile image

Annual Christmas parties for over a decade gave me all kinds of ideas for hosting exciting and affordable Christmas parties in a small space

Welcome to my Christmas party!
Welcome to my Christmas party! | Source

Have an annual Christmas party!

Christmas parties can be really fun and really festive! But . . . beware, or having one may turn into a tradition that you keep doing every year. That happened to me in the late 90s when i had my brother and a handful of graduate school buddies over to the house after finals to enjoy the Christmas tree lights. The next year, I had a pretty big bash, and the event kept growing and going every year.

The group kept changing over the years, with grad friends, family, friends from other parts of my life, and, later, coworkers from my subsequent jobs. For over ten years, I held up this tradition. I'm missed a couple of years in the last several years but am tentatively planning to have one again this holiday season.

The great thing about putting together an annual party is looking forward to seeing certain people at least once a year--folks that you otherwise do not see.

Have a Christmas party theme!

Having a theme is just a suggestion. I have never had a major theme except for the dress code, which was dress-up attire. People have typically arrived dressed up in pants and dresses, even the children. My best friend from grad school was my co-host in the early party years. She and I opted for long velvet dresses one year, setting the tone.

I'm thinking of doing something different this year--maybe comfy clothes, even pajamas as the attire. Maybe we'll have an "I survived the end of the world on Dec 21st" party. I thought also about having a party in January and encouraging people to bring their rejected Christmas gifts to re-gift.

Have a theme or not. It might be fun!

Send invitations early

Send invitations early in order for those invited to have a heads up on when to clear their calendars. I usually send a "save the date" email right after Thanksgiving for a December party, earlier if the party is the first weekend in December.

And, yes, you can email invitations. In this electronic age, a mass email is entirely acceptable. Don't feel that you have to send written invitations. Facebook also has a feature in which you can "create an event." You just fill in the details, send it to your invitees, and wait for them to respond. There may be a few people who require a phone call if they don't check email or have Facebook. Sometimes I have sent out a text message to certain people to tell them, "Check your email!"

Follow up your "save the date" message with the official invitation (email or otherwise) with details between one and two weeks before the party.

Stockings hung by the chimney with care . . .
Stockings hung by the chimney with care . . . | Source

What to include on the invitations

What information should you include on your invitations? Here are the basics:

  • date and day of week (so people don't have to go to the calendar to see which day it is)
  • starting and end time. In grad school, sometimes we would go from 2:00 p.m. (after our last final) until 2:00 a.m. Woo hoo! Those hours definitely changed over the years. I usually put "6:00 p.m. until ?" to leave it open-ended. The late folks generally stay until about midnight.
  • address and directions
  • where to park
  • what to wear
  • what to bring--In the lean college years, everyone brought something. After I got a real job, I started providing most of the food myself, giving the option if people wanted to bring something. Let people know if there will be alcohol or if they should BYOB.
  • if children are welcome--My nieces grew up at my parties. The more the merrier, I say. I like to set up a room with toys for the kids--Barbies, books, cards, even Twister!
  • fun events to expect--Karaoke? Door prizes? Games? You might list some things to pique the interest of your guests.

Christmas party games and activities

Come up with a few fun activities for the night if you want to spice things up. I like to give out name tags with numbers on them. Every hour or so, we'll draw a door prize winner. Prizes are generally things I've picked up at the dollar store--singing Christmas ties, reindeer ears, Rudolph noses, to name a few. If you have an outgoing friend who will make guests feel welcome right away, ask them if they want to be the one to make sure everyone gets a name tag. One of my friends had that job one year; she was engaging, funny, and made everyone feel comfortable when as the hostess, I couldn't get to them right away.

I always set up Karaoke for the folks who want to participate This activity usually gets going later in the evening. Sometimes we start earlier, as this activity is something that kids also enjoy.

Another option is to exchange gifts. Since everyone probably won't bring a gift, the ones who do could exchange. You could also have some extra wrapped inexpensive things for those who don't bring anything.

An activity I may do this year is take a photo of everyone in a certain spot, perhaps even with a funny backdrop.

Decorated piano
Decorated piano | Source
Worn out after the party!
Worn out after the party! | Source

Christmas decorations

Put Christmas decorations EVERYWHERE--inside and outside. Get a friend to help if you can. Hold mini-preseason get-togethers with egg nog and snacks, and do some decorating!

Lights line my house and the sidewalk to the front door, where guests are greeted by a life-size Grinch! All the rooms the guests will visit are decorated. I have tubs of decorations in the shed that I've collected over the years, marked with what they contain and in what room the decorations go, which speeds up the decorating process a bit. Still, it's a job to create your fantasy winter wonderland!

Serve appetizers

Of course, you'll have lots of food available. I find finger foods to be the best--veggies and dip, fruit and dip, meatballs or little wienies on toothpicks, and deviled eggs. Christmas tortilla pinwheels with salsa are also always a hit with guests. I purchased a chocolate fountain several years ago, and that was a favorite attraction. See my Christmas party appetizers for all of these ideas and more

Have a variety of appetizers, and plenty of them. Chances are some of your guests will bring dishes to fill in the gaps, if there are any. I always have coffee, homemade egg nog, sometimes hot apple cider, and a few soft drinks available.

A lot of these items can be prepared the day before and kept in the refrigerator. That way, you can focus on last minute preparations the day of the party.

Christmas photo album

A new idea I've had but haven't yet started is to make a photo album of all the previous Christmas parties. Although I've taken pictures of the house and my guests every year, I have yet to organize these photos. Photo albums of previous Christmas gatherings are something I would love to have for guests to go through and reminisce if they have attended in the past.

Play Christmas music

Make sure you have Christmas music playing in the background. From Elvis to Jewel to various artists, have an assortment. I have my top twelve favorites, but I have many more in my collection.

And when the party's over . . . .

With all the cleaning, preparing, and partying, you are sure to be worn out after it's all over. I usually experience what I like to call "post-party depression." It came, it happened, but now it's over. Nothing's left but the memories and the mess in the kitchen.

Still, many will talk about your epic Christmas parties for years to come.

I'd better get started with my decorating!

Use plenty of outside lights.
Use plenty of outside lights. | Source

© 2012 Victoria Lynn


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    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      CloudE--Thanks for the awesome comments. That sounds really neat what you're doing at your brother's house. I'm thinking I might have a party this year--well, after the holidays when everything is a bit slower! Thanks for reading and commenting. Merry Christmas to you, too!

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 

      8 years ago from New York City

      Awesome hub Victoria, and its very useful for those looking to get their groove on during the Christmas holiday. I enjoyed the video of the Grinch and all, cool stuff.

      I think all of your ideas are very thoughtful and would work well for most people interested in making a cool party with a creative touch to it all.

      Me and my wife are going to my brothers home, he has a newborn baby, and so we wanted to bless his new family with our presence for Christmas this year and I know they will love it. You never know what to expect right when going to families house, and if I was family with you it would surely be super fun!

      Cool hub here thanks for sharing it, thumbs up and out! & Merry Christmas.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, teaches. It sure is a lot of work to throw a party, but it can be fun and well worth it!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Effer! LOL! You're the perfect age! I was two when my current boyfriend graduated from high school. LOL. And we get along great! 9 years strong!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      A party at your house must be exciting! I am ready for the season to begin and would love to host a party with the ideas you suggest. Love the photo displays of decor.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      8 years ago from Carson City

      Oh My God....I think I'm feeling faint! You were born the year I graduated High school!! s i g h .

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, Eddy. Much appreciated! :-)

    • Eiddwen profile image


      8 years ago from Wales

      A great read and full of useful tips;take care and enjoy your day.


    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Effer--I'm rusty on the piano. Have got out of practicing the past several years. I need to get back into it. I have more photos--need to find them! I love my house. It was built in 1967, the year after I was born! :-) Oops, I revealed my age. We would have so much fun at my Christmas party! :-)

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      mpropp--They are a lot of fun. I think I'll have one this year again! I love the Grinch, too! He sometimes scares people when he suddenly starts moving and singing!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      btrbell--That's good to know! Even not knowing folks at a well-planned party made a difference. Planning really is key. Thanks for the input!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, random! I appreciate the feedback!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      8 years ago from Carson City

      Vee.....You have to be the Christmas Party Hostess with the Mostest!! I love the way you've decorated your piano.... Obviously you play! Should have played us a Christmas carol on your piano....Your home looks beautiful.......I love brick houses.......Mr. Grinch is a riot!!!......make sure I get an invitation!...UP+++

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      Wow, I want to come to your Christmas party! Sounds like a lot of fun...I can't believe that it is already time to be sending out the invites. You have a lot of good ideas, thank you for sharing. And I really like your Christmas card! Mr. Grinch is my favorite!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, Vellur. I've had some fun Christmas parties over the years!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Mhatter--You are just too funny! You would be a hoot at any party!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      ComfortB--I love the Grinch, too! I got that guy on a mega-sale one year after Christmas. Yeah, the cats were wasted. hahaha. Thanks for the read and share!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      8 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great ideas! Just in time. This year I attended 2 Halloween parties. At the first party, I knew very few people besides the hostess. At the second one, they were all good friends. The first one was well planned out and so much fun and the second one fell flat! Thank you for these great ideas to make a fun party! Up and useful!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      8 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      You have covered so many important basics here! Thanks for the great resource.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Nellieanna--Sounds like you understand! So much goes into it the preparations! I love the look of the piano, too. I have a lot more photos, but I couldn't find them when I published this hub. I may add some more later. I'm so glad you enjoy my hubs. That makes my day! :-)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 years ago from Dubai

      WOW your party must be rocking and vibrating with Christmas celebrations. Great ideas for decorations and for holding a Christmas party. Enjoyed reading,

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for sharing this. We the a Christmas Swaray. A party to which everyone was welcome. I would shop for "finger food" for a week, for an unknown number of guests.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 

      8 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Victoria, Love the Grinch. Scary, I'll say. Did your cats have a hang-over? Ha ha.

      Nice hub. Voted up and useful. Will share.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      I love your decorations! Decorating a piano is something I love doing. The lights are so lovely, too.

      I empathize with the 'post--party-depression. It used to take me most of January to recover! haha. I hand-made all the gifts and wrapped each like a work of art, baked, made jellies and jams, fudge and cookies, cleaned the house as though for a white-glove test and decorated as well. And on and on. I confess I now keep my decorations simple and am invited for Christmases at family's houses or to go out together to celebrate. It suits me. I enjoyed 'doing my time' but it's time to enjoy being pampered. I look at the boxes of Christmas decorations on the shelf of my coat closet and enjoy not getting it all out and putting it all back. hehe.

      I always enjoy your wonderful, clever ideas, Victoria! I look forward to reading each one & enjoying the fun vicariously!


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