4 Christmas Party Ideas and Tips on How to Plan Them

The holiday season is fully upon us! I’m sharing four Christmas party ideas, with simple steps you can take make them happen, including food & beverage recommendations! Some are them are more involved than others — but there’s an option for everyone (and a kid friendly one too!). 

1  Gingerbread Decorating Party

How cute are some of these gingerbread houses? 

I recently attended a gingerbread decorating event held at the Chicago Women’s Athletic Club. I can’t remember the last time I decorated a gingerbread house — so I wasn’t sure what I was in for…but it was an absolute hoot and there was some serious gingerbread decorating game brought by many. It didn’t occur to me until I attended this event that it would be a great one to host for close friends – and everyone gets to take home a cute gingerbread house as a result!

How to make it happen: 

  1. Order your gingerbread houses in advance. I recommend looking up a nearby bakery or shop where you can pick them up!
  2. Get enough pastry bags & disposable aluminum trays for each guest. I also recommend getting a set of napkins you feel comfortable having guests wipe their hands on!  
  3. Buy several varieties of candy and set them out in bowls down the middle of your table. 
  4. Prior to guests arriving, add royal icing to each pastry bag. Then place each bag in the metal tins you purchased, as well as a cloth or napkin and place at each seat, along with a gingerbread house. Guests can then easily select the candies they would like, place them in their tray, and add the candies to their house! Have a couple of backup pastry bags filled with icing in case additional is needed. 
  5. Bonus tip: Add a little plastic bib for your friends to wear — this saved me from getting royal icing on my top! 
  • Recommended food to serve: Tea sandwiches, such as cucumber and egg or chicken salad. 
  • Recommended drink: Champagne!

2  Ornament Exchange 

Everyone could use another ornament! An ornament exchange is a fun event to host for friends that requires little work in advance, other than prepping some apps and cocktails! 

How to make it happen: 

  1. Have everyone bring one wrapped ornament to the party within a certain budget. 
  2. When everyone arrives, have each guest set their wrapped ornament in the middle of the table. 
  3. Draw numbers out of a hat – so if there are 8 guests – numbers 1-8 should be included in the hat. 
  4. The person who gets number one goes first by selecting one of the gifts from the table and unwraps it. Then, person #2 can either take that ornament from person #1, or choose to select a different ornament from the table.
  5. Bonus tip: You may want to limit the number of times an ornament can be taken, depending on the number of guests you’re hosting! 
  • Recommended food to serve: Charcuterie board with plenty of cheese, crackers and cured meats.
  • Recommended drink: Red wine.

3  DIY Wreath Gathering 

Photo by Team Flower

This is a great idea if you’re hosting a more intimate group! I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re having more than a handful of people over (unless you plan on renting a space) as it could end up being quite the undertaking! But if you and your friends are in need of wreaths for your front door, there’s nothing better than kicking off the season with some fresh evergreens which will make your house smell like a dream!

How to make it happen: 

  1. Each guest will need the following materials: sturdy hand shears, a roll of paddle wire (22-26 gauge), wire snips, and a wire wreath frame. You should supply the wire wreath frames and paddles of wire, but can ask guests to bring their own sheers & wire snips if they have them.
  2. You will also need to stock up on lots of greens, branches and berries so you have enough to go around for everyone to fill their wreaths. Noble fir is recommended as a solid filler, along with pine. I recommend reading  Team Flower’s instructions on how to make a wreath in advance of purchasing your supplies, and printing out a few copies to have on hand for your guests. They’re super helpful! 
  3. Prep your space before guests arrive. Cover the table where you’ll be creating your wreaths with brown paper and place the buckets of greenery & decorating elements in the middle, with the wreath wires at each setting. 
  4. Start decorating your wreaths! YouTube and Google also have tons of inspiration and more detailed instructions if needed. 
  5. Bonus tip: If you want to add some extra fun to your wreaths, ask each guest to bring a decorative element that could be attached to the wreaths – whether it be dried fruit, pine cones, or anything in between!
  • Recommended food to serve: A holiday cheese ball wreath to go with your theme and bite sized meatballs for easy eating.
  • Recommended drink: A pomegranate punch or citrus sangria – whatever gets the creative juices flowing!

4  Cookie Exchange

This party is great for all ages, and even works well with little ones! Each guest gets to have fun baking their own homemade treats beforehand, and gets to go home with a mix of delicious baked goods!

How to make it happen:

  1. Ask each guests to bake & bring their favorite cookies. Depending the number attending – each person should plan to bring enough for each guest take 3-6 cookies! For example, if you’re hosting 8 guests, each person should make 24-48 cookies total. 
  2. Pickup boxes or containers so that each guest has one to bring home their cookies in! 
  3. Prep the dessert table. Set out plenty of platters so that when guests arrive, they can easily transfer their cookies onto the table. This will make for a beautiful display of baked goods! 
  4. If you’re hosting kids, a fun activity (that will also allow more time for you to mingle) is to have them decorate their to-go-boxes prior to selecting their cookies! Have markers, stickers, and arts & crafts supplies set up at a different table for them to use. 
  5. Bonus tip: Have guests print out the recipe for their cookies so everyone can bring home new recipes! 
  • Recommended food to serve: Savory items to compliment the sweet, like mini pigs-in-a-blanket or flatbread triangles (also kid friendly!). 
  • Recommended drink: Coffee, tea, and spiced hot chocolate.

I hope these ideas & tips are helpful, and inspire you to have a little holiday fun this season! 

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