Menus & Entertaining

10 Christmas party ideas full of holiday cheer

By: Linda Cotrina

Getty Images Author: Canadian Living Credits: Getty Images

Menus & Entertaining

10 Christmas party ideas full of holiday cheer

By: Linda Cotrina
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'Tis the season to begin planning your Christmas party. Before you get started, Jordan Maxey and Devon Dunn of Vancouver-based event company Smitten Events, suggest that you finalize the guest count–it's going to determine food and beverage quantities (and costs). From there, determine if guests have any dietary restrictions and create a menu accordingly. Once that's out of the way, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty (possibly glittery!) details of party planning. Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with these ten cheerful Christmas party ideas.

1. Ugly Christmas sweater

What's a holiday party without the good old Ugly Christmas sweater? Guaranteed to have you and your guests laughing (likely at each other), this holiday staple is perfect for a lighthearted evening with friends and family. To ensure guests show up in their "finest" ugliest sweater, host a competition for the most outrageous outfit and award the winner with a gift certificate to a stylish clothing store. Most importantly, be sure to have fun–the possibilities are endless with this humorous theme!

Christmas Karaoke
Sing your heart out to classic yuletide jingles with a Karaoke Christmas carol party. Write out the names of popular Christmas carols and have each guest pull one out of a hat when it's their turn. Warm up those vocal chords (and break the ice) with a group singalong to a popular song, and then proceed to the solo performances. You'll need a karaoke machine, but if neither you nor your party guests own one, hit up your local karaoke bar. Or better yet, have everyone pitch in to rent a karaoke machine for the evening.

3. Nutcracker cocktail party

Going to a performance of The Nutcracker is a special holiday tradition for many families, so why not design a cocktail party around this classic ballet? Jordan & Devon suggest using the Sugar Plum Fairy as your inspiration. Incorporate white, blush and gold elements into your decor, and place oversized nutcrackers in the foyer to create a dramatic first impression as guests enter the party. And what would you expect the Sugar Plum Fairy to eat? Sweets, of course! "We love the idea of an over-the-top dessert table: Painted sugar cookies, mini cupcakes, beautiful vessels of bon bons and even cotton candy arranged on cake stands of all sizes with a ribbon backdrop to complete the look," says Jordan. Guests can also create their own sparkling cocktails with rock sugar stir sticks, cassis liqueur and pretty paper straws as Tchaikovsky's famous score plays in the background.

4. Christmas around the world
This is a creative (and delicious!) way to expose guests to some of the wonderful Christmas traditions celebrated around the world. Host a potluck-style dinner and ask each guest to bring a dish that is typically served in his or her culture during the holidays. Guests can also share the story behind the meaning of celebrating the holidays in their culture, or simply share some of the traditions celebrated within their family. This party theme makes for a fun, intimate evening learning about your loved ones' various cultural or familial traditions.

5. Casino night

Gamble a little cash for a good cause at your next Christmas party by throwing a Casino themed night. Let guests know that you plan to donate the proceeds to a charitable organization or use the money to purchase gifts for a local toy drive. Choose casino games that most of your guests will know (blackjack, bingo and roulette to name a few) and ones that are quick and easy for them to learn. In terms of food, keep it simple with finger foods that can be enjoyed with cocktails. Take a cue from Casino Royale and invite guests to dress in semi-formal attire.

6. Christmas cookie swap

Don't have time to bake? Why not host a Christmas cookie exchange to simplify your holiday baking? Ask each guest (including yourself) to bake one kind of cookie for the occasion and then sample, trade and package them in festive gift boxes. Create display cards to help identify each type of cookie and ask guests to bring wrapping supplies to create a variety of packaging options. Be sure to have plenty of coffee and tea on hand to help wash down those delicious cookies! Check out our Great Canadian Cookie Exchange for recipe inspiration, packaging ideas and more.

7. Winter wonderland

Paint the town–or your home–white this year with a classic Winter Wonderland party. Add some sparkle to your home with silver decor accents, wrap old shoeboxes with silver wrapping paper and wow guests with a self-serve bar decked out with white-based cocktail ingredients. Invite your guests to wear all white, but be mindful of the food you're serving–keep the messy finger foods to a minimum. For entertainment, you can never go wrong with some impromptu holiday singing. Add "Winter Wonderland" and "White Christmas" to your playlist to keep in tune with the theme!

8. An improvisational Christmas
Who says improv is just for the stage? Have your eggnog and a couple of laughs, too, by acting out some of your favourite Christmas movies improv-style. To execute this, write down a list of Christmas movies on pieces of paper and have each team pull one out of a hat when it's their turn. Improv is all about being spontaneous, so don't stress about acting silly–you won't be alone! This is a casual theme, so keep the decor simple with a few traditional holiday decorations. Fuss-free, snack-sized treats are perfect for breaks in between sets. Any of these irresistible appetizers will keep your guests fueled for the night. Once everyone's stomachs are cramped from laughing so hard, end off the night by watching one of the movies you acted out.

9. "Baby it's Cold Outside" Christmas
Use this classic Christmas tune as inspiration for a comfy, cozy party. Jordan and Devon suggest starting with the Christmas tree. Decorate your tree with white lights and treasured family ornaments to enhance the coziness and traditional feel of the holiday. For your colour scheme, "think red and cream with natural touches like pine cones and greenery on mantles and bannisters," says Jordan. Of course you can't forget jingle bells on every door handle! Serve comfort-food appetizers, such as devilled eggs, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and cheese balls, along with spiked eggnog or classic punch served straight from grandma's punch bowl. Light candles throughout your home and build a fire in the fireplace or woodstove (or turn on the electric fireplace!) for an extra dose of warmth.

10. A Halloween Christmas
Who says costumes are only for Halloween? For something completely different, host a Christmas party based on Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Bring this gothic holiday theme to life with a black-and-white décor scheme accented with red and orange details to create a moody atmosphere. Serve up "spooky" Halloween-inspired appetizers such as our Steamed "Brains" with Cocktail Sauce with an Eyeball Splash martini to wash it down. There's no doubt your guests will be talking about your party for weeks to come.

For more Christmas inspiration, visit our ultimate holiday hosting guide.
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Menus & Entertaining

10 Christmas party ideas full of holiday cheer