The Ultimate Guide to Throwing a Christmas Party

Hosting a Christmas party can be a daunting task for anyone, especially for first-timers and people who do not regularly host parties. Planning, organizing, and even the execution can be difficult if not properly thought out. If you need some holiday planning tips, read here  

Here is a guide that can help make the celebrations during the holidays easy.

Christmas Party Themes

If you’re planning a holiday party, having a theme makes it easier for you to plan and more fun for the guests to attend. Being focused on a theme can streamline all your party details – from the decorations, food, activities, costumes (if needed), and more. Here are some great party themes you may want to consider:

1. Traditional Christmas

You can never go wrong with the traditional Christmas theme. It’s a classic Christmas party to host for your family and friends to get them in the holiday spirit! Pull your tree out of your EZ Roller tree storage bag and find red and green Christmas decorations, Christmas treats, and everything cheerful and jolly. Decorate a big Christmas tree or put out mini Christmas trees. Use oversized ornaments, stockings, and Christmas lights to give it a warm and traditional feel. Serve a Christmas feast that can make everyone feel at home.

2. Santa Claus Party

Use anything and everything Santa-inspired for this theme. You can get creative with this theme by incorporating Santa throughout your decorations, tablescapes, desserts, and holiday outfits. Have someone dress up as Santa to surprise the kids with gifts and cheer.

3. Winter Wonderland

Whether you live in a snowy part of the world or in a warmer climate, a winter wonderland-themed party is always a great idea. Decorate your space in all white, and don’t forget the white Christmas tree and snowmen. Decorations for this theme can include everything from lilies to paper origami to anything dusted with spray snow. Ask guests to come dressed in white, too, to match your aesthetics. Use your neutral, white china for the luncheon or dinner, and let the feast take center stage at your table, along with your all-white dessert bar. This is an elegant theme that’s perfect for those who would like to do something different from the common colorful celebrations.

4. Ugly Sweater Party

If you’re having some trouble coming up with a theme, you can always throw an ugly sweater party. This tried and tested idea is popular for a reason: it’s hilarious and gives you a perfect opportunity to wear that horrible sweater from Grandma that you threw in the darkest depths of the closet. It’s also a great theme because it’s hilarious to see people dressed in their holiday worst. Make sure you get a prize such as a gift card to the most ho-ho-horrifically dressed guest. Prepare some reindeer ears headband or some other kind of props, and decorate the room with fun decorations.

5. Christmas Movie Night

Gather everyone together to binge-watch classic holiday moves. Matching Christmas PJ’s is optional, but festive popcorn snacks and cookies are a must! Pack holiday-themed socks in vintage Christmas candy boxes as a party favor, or simply make more of your homemade popcorn and pack them in give-away boxes for them to enjoy.

6. Cookie Exchange

If you’re looking for a great holiday party idea, host a Christmas cookie exchange. The scent of freshly baked cookies in the air will entice guests to dig in and participate in your planned party activities! Have each of your guests bring their favorite cookie. Make it exciting by having everybody vote on their favorite cookie recipe. Decorate with cookie-themed decorations, play games involving cookies (cookie scavenger hunt, cookie relay race, etc.), and have cookie tasting with criteria! This is the classic party theme where you go to it with a batch of one type of cookies, and you go home with a delicious variety to share with holiday guests and family.

7. Potluck Party

Nothing is easier to coordinate than a potluck since everyone pitches in and brings a dish. Coordinate who’s bringing what, or go with the flow and let everyone bring what they feel like bringing. Make sure to coordinate what everyone will bring so that you have a variety of dishes. You don’t want to have five Christmas hams, three fruitcakes, and no mashed potatoes or vegetable dishes.

8. Brunch Christmas

Set up a Christmas-themed brunch together with your BFFs! Set out platters of dishes such as pancakes, waffles, egg bakes, bread puddings, gingerbread rolls, fresh fruits, and of course, bacon! Don’t forget to mix up some mimosas for everyone to enjoy! Add some Christmas-themed sugar cookies and Christmas desserts like a yule log cake, Christmas trifle, or anything topped with crushed candy canes to suit the occasion.

9. Christmas Masquerade Ball

Looking for the perfect theme for grown-ups and large groups? Host a Christmas masquerade ball. Encourage everyone to come dressed to the nines with their matching mask. In the invite, make it is clear that your theme is a masquerade ball to get their pizzazz on. For decorations, think about harlequin patterns, theatre masks, peacock feathers, and anything decadent. Serve visually appealing finger foods, funky cocktails, and keep the music pumping all night. This theme is made for dancing, so make sure you have enough space and fantastic holiday music (you may want to hire a band!) to get everyone up and on the dance floor.  

10. Candy Cane Party

If you like a theme that’s sweet, host a candy cane-themed party. Red and white will be the day’s color scheme, with a touch of silver and greens to create the perfect atmosphere. Decorate with balloons, and of course, candy canes of all sizes. Serve hot cocoa and use candy canes as stirrers. You can also turn mini candy canes into place card holders or labels for food by tying them up like a tripod. Don’t forget the chocolate bark topped with crushed candy canes!

11. Wine and Cheese Christmas

Looking for a party theme that’s easy but elegant? Host a wine and cheese party. Just pick a few whites and reds, then a couple of salty things (nuts, cold cuts like salami, mixed olives, crackers), and a couple of sweet flavors (honey, jams, dried fruits). Finish it off with fresh berries, grapes, and more cheese and crackers! To up the ante, you can host a wine tasting party to stir up conversation and add a little bit of competition to the party.

12. Christmas Luau

Who says you can’t host a luau party during Christmas? Take a break from all the holly and the ivy and bring out grass skirts, coconuts, pineapples, and rum for this unexpected holiday theme. Serve yummy, tropical food plus a few of your classic holiday dishes. Prepare awesome luau games and cocktails like piña colada, Hawaiian cocktails, and tropical punches!

13. Christmas Around the World Party

Celebrate Christmas with various traditions from around the world. Festivities vary greatly across the globe, so you can incorporate them. For a fun twist on the traditional potluck, ask each guest to choose a Christmas dish from a different country and cook one of the dishes for your holiday party. Decorate the area with mini flags, ornaments, and other Christmas decorations from countries you want represented.

14. Santa’s Ho-ho-hoedown

Throw a country-themed Christmas party with a Santa’s Hoedown. Picture Christmas on the farm, with natural, country-style décor and bales of hay. Get your guests on the dance floor and consider hiring a line-dancing caller. Encourage your guests to wear their favorite country outfit or gear for some added fun.

15. Santa’s Workshop

What is Santa making in the North Pole? Why don’t you find out! Set up your party area to look like Santa’s workshop, with piles of presents ready to go and different workstations for fun activities guests can do. Each workstation can include different activities that either build team-building talents and creativity. You can set up a face painting station, building sleighs using popsicle sticks station, color Santa’s workbook – anything you think may help your guests enjoy. Get someone who can wear a Santa suit, and let everyone take turns getting their pictures with Santa.

This theme can also be used for a worthy cause by having guests bring along food, supplies, and gifts for charity and gather together to help one another wrap presents and prepare food.

16. Christmas Pajama Party

Holiday parties can be so formal. Take a break from the glitz and glamour and elaborate feasts by inviting a group of friends to come over for casual snacks and drinks in their pajamas. You may keep the group small and make it a slumber party. Watch movies, do karaoke, play board games, have makeovers – do whatever your group may enjoy. This party is especially great for kids, but it’s also fun for adult gal pals too!

17. Deck the Halls Christmas Theme

Haven’t decorated yet? No problem, let others help you! Pull out the ornaments, lights and set up the Christmas tree, and once your guests arrive, let them all get down to business. It’s a super casual theme, so serve foods like chips and dips, fruit skewers, mini sandwich platters, and other easy-to-make foods. Give everyone an ornament as a party favor they can take home.

18. Christmas Carols

Besides the food, prepare songbooks or lyrics of Christmas songs and carols and guitars or tambourines if you like. Channel Charles Dickens and get some of your family and friends to go door to door in your neighborhood to sing Christmas carols. You don’t have to be good – just loud and full of holiday spirit. Yes, this Christmas party theme is old-fashioned and cheesy, but that’s part of the charm. Finish the party off with hot cocoa, Irish coffee, tea, or any hot drink to soothe your vocal cords, and of course, some freshly baked cookies at your house.

19. Gingerbread House Decorating Theme

If you have lots of kids in your family, it’s great to treat them to a decorating party for the holiday. Divide guests into teams, set a timer, and create categories, like “most creative, “best in the show,” and others. But pre-made ready-to-decorate gingerbread house kits to save yourself some time and so you can focus on prepping for other aspects of the party. You may opt to provide the undecorated gingerbread houses and frosting and ask guests to bring candies for decorating! Have an unbiased judge give a verdict to everyone’s creations, or leave it up to an Instagram voting! Send the winner home with gifts or sweet treats. While the party’s ongoing, serve light appetizers, Christmas cocktails – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic so everyone can enjoy. Don’t forget the Christmas cookies and treats!

20. Open House

If you want to invite lots of people but cannot entertain them all at once in your home, you can have an open house party. This drop-in style of party allows guests to come and go as they please, so if other guests have another party to go to that day, they can still pop up at your place and mingle there. It’s a very casual and relaxed way to see friends and entertain them over the holidays. For an open house party, a buffet-style of serving food is the best option. Decorate your home as you would for the holidays, and serve some filling dishes.

Christmas Party Foods

Christmas is an excuse to let go of the diet for a few days or weeks and enjoy the rich tastes of good food with good company. Here are some ideas on what to serve, in case you need some ideas:

1. Appetizers and finger foods

Always start your party right with sumptuous appetizers that will make guests wanting for more. Here are some tasty appetizers to serve at your Christmas shindig:

  • Bruschetta
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • Hummus and Pita
  • Assorted cheese and crackers
  • Roasted meats, cured meats, or cold cuts
  • Meatball skewers
  • Vegetable skewers
  • Spring rolls with dipping sauce
  • Baked Brie
  • Shrimp cocktails
  • Focaccia bread
  • Empanadas
  • Mini quiches
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Tortilla chips and guacamole
  • Nachos and salsa
  • Deviled eggs
  • Crostini
  • Nut mix

2. Salads

Salads are technically appetizers, but it deserves its own category because of the various options you can offer. For vegetarians, salads can serve as the main course.

  • Greek salad
  • Caesar salad
  • Caprese salad
  • Mixed salad
  • Pasta salad
  • Waldorf salad
  • Tuscan salad
  • Fruit salad
  • Coleslaw

3. Main Course

While appetizers and desserts are important, it’s the main course that you must get right. Here’s a traditional Christmas main course for a Christmas party:

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Veggies like carrots, Brussel sprouts, turnips, green beans

If you don’t want to serve turkey, you can serve other kinds of poultry or consider Christmas ham and roast beef instead. If it’s a super casual affair, you can serve a party-sized platter of chicken wings and pizza. You may also want to set up a BBQ sandwich buffet with bread, meat, a side of slaw, mac n’ cheese, and beans for your main course.

4. Dessert

No Christmas feast is complete without a tasty selection of sweets.

  • Cake
  • Yule log
  • Cookies, especially gingerbread men cookies and Christmas sugar cookies
  • Cupcakes
  • Christmas trifle
  • Doughnuts
  • Macarons
  • Chocolate, especially chocolate bark
  • Pie, especially pumpkin pie and pecan pie
  • Brownies
  • Cake pops
  • Tiramisu
  • Fudge
  • Cheesecake
  • Truffles
  • Tartlets
  • Christmas gelatin
  • Crème brûlée
  • Scones
  • Pudding

5. Non-alcoholic drinks

Drinks are an essential part of any successful Christmas party menu. Make sure you got non-alcoholic drinks covered for anyone, especially for children.

  • Water
  • Assorted sodas
  • Juices
  • Hot cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Non-alcoholic punch
  • Non-alcoholic eggnog
  • Smoothies
  • Milkshakes

6. Alcoholic drinks

Christmas is the time to enjoy holiday spirits, so offer up an array of alcoholic drinks for the grown-ups to enjoy.

  • Eggnog
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Champagne
  • Champagne punch
  • Mimosas
  • Baileys or other decadent liqueur

Christmas Party Activities

Activities for the Christmas party are a must! Besides making sure your party is stacked with sumptuous dishes, delicious food and drinks, and holiday sweets – you need to plan and set out activities to keep your guests entertained. Besides the usual giving of gifts at Christmas, here are some of the things you can do at your party:

1. White Elephant

This is a fun, classic gift exchange game that works with small to large groups and is usually played during the holidays. Each one must give a generic, wrapped gift that anybody may use. You can set a theme for the gifts, like gag gifts, books, kitchen items, beauty products, etc. Each guest must put it in a pile anonymously, so you don’t know who brought what. Then, everyone draws a number. The person who picks number one starts the game by choosing a present to unwrap. The person who picked number two then has a choice: they can open a new present or steal the unwrapped gift from the first person. When the second person picks option two, the first person chooses another present to unwrap. From there on, the game continues – often with lots of villainous stealing and lots of laughs. The person to pick the last number is the luckiest – he or she gets to choose from the entire pool of unwrapped presents.

2. Christmas Charades

Organize a game of charades for your guests and act out some of your favorite holiday activities without saying a word. Popular items on your list of charades include ice skating, decorating a tree, caroling, having snowball fights, and more. You can find different Christmas charade printables online that you can use as a reference. You can also set a theme or category beyond Christmas stuff.

3. Christmas Bingo

If you like, you can play a game of bingo with your loved ones and swap the numbers for a card with popular Christmas symbols. You can buy or print out Christmas bingo cards to keep things simple.

4. Christmas Cookie Decorating

Set up a cookie decorating table for your guests. Prepare different-shaped sugar cookies shaped into Christmas elements, like Christmas trees, Santa hats, gingerbread men, angels, candy canes, stars, reindeers, and more. Then, prepare plenty of colored icings and fun toppings for guests to have fun with. It’s a great activity for kids, but it’s delightful for adults as well! Let them take home their creations as a party favor.

5. Christmas Karaoke

Gather all your guests for a few rounds of karaoke, featuring some of your favorite Christmas tunes! It’s an easy and entertaining activity for everyone to have fun. You can choose to ask everyone to sing their favorite holiday songs to spread the Christmas cheer, but you can sing any song you want to! You may want to turn it into a competition and give out awards for different singing categories.

6. Christmas Photo Booth

Photo booths are popular at themed parties so party guests can document all the fun that you’re working so hard to orchestrate. Rent or build your own photo booth and provide Christmas props to capture the holiday spirit. Encourage guests to take family photos and send them to them as a remembrance of the holidays they spent at your party.

7. Christmas Crafts

If you’re hosting a party with lots of kids coming in, it’s always a good idea to set up a table for Christmas arts and crafts. Set up a table for making fun crafts like Christmas ornaments, wreaths, paper snowflakes, angels, stocking decorations, or crafty Christmas cards.  

8. Stocking Guessing Game

Get loads of Christmas stockings and load them up with odd objects. Surprise your guests and have them guess what’s inside the stocking. Players can feel the stocking but cannot look inside. When the game is over, the winner with the correct guesses wins.

9. Christmas Mad Libs

Mad libs are a classic storytelling activity, and you can play it on Christmas by providing Christmas mad lib printables to participants. Don’t forget to prepare prizes for the individual or team with the most interesting story!

10. Gift Wrap Relay

This game is all about gifts and speed. To play the gift wrap relay, divide your guests into two teams, then set them aside at opposite ends of the room with unwrapped gifts and wrapping supplies. Let guests race one by one to their respective tables and wrap a gift as fast as possible. The game ends when the winning team finishes with wrapping all their gifts.