15 Festive Christmas Party Themes
Looking to get holly and jolly? Our favorite Christmas party themes (plus some great recipes) are sure to get your guests in the spirit of the season.
December schedules fill up pretty quickly between holiday cocktail parties, visits to family and prepping your own home for guests. Instead of marking off your calendar with one more evening event, why not plan a holiday brunch? Be sure to pull out your seasonal table linens, prep a few festive brunch recipes and even consider a specialty drink like a mimosa.
If sit-down dinners and formal entertaining aren’t for you, try a holiday open house. An open house theme gives neighbors and loved ones a chance to swing by and visit without the pressure of a set time table or the fuss of a big meal. To host an open house, let guests know that you’ll be ready for company on a certain afternoon or evening. Then lay out a spread of tasty cold appetizers and nibbles and have cold drinks ready to keep you and your guests happy as the day goes on. Keep the Christmas tunes going and enjoy catching up with the people you care about.
Ugly Sweater Party
Inject humor into the holidays by hosting an ugly sweater party. That’s right—encourage all your friends to don their most ridiculous holiday apparel and invite them over for a celebration. These parties are a great way to lighten up a stressful season. To make this party simple, serve up our easiest Christmas appetizers and save your prep time for decorating these silly ugly sweater cookies.
Retro Christmas Cocktail Party
Something about Christmastime has us nostalgic for all things ’50s and ’60s. Embrace that feeling and host a retro Christmas cocktail party. Break out those vintage glasses and serve up eggnog, brandy slushes and other retro cocktails. Pair them with some old-school dishes for a true throwback feel.
Christmas Movie Viewing Party
During the holidays, there’s nothing better than spending a night in with a cup of cocoa (or a glass of wine) and curling up with a Christmas movie. Invite your pals over for snacks—like these inspired by Hallmark movies—and a few laughs.
Cookie Decorating Party
Children love to decorate Christmas cutouts. Turn this activity into a party for your kiddos. Fill muffin tins with all the sprinkles they could want, mix up an easy icing (or even used the canned stuff) and let them go to work decorating. When it’s all done, serve up a few healthy, kid-approved snacks to balance out the sugar rush.
Christmas Craft Party
Folks love to make (and receive) handcrafted gifts. This winter, gather your friends together to make some holiday crafts. Try a few simple craft ideas, like these using last year’s Christmas cards, and have plenty of appetizers to snack on while the glue dries.
Christmas Around the World
Celebrate Christmas dozens of ways with traditions from around the world. A great way to start is with this tour of Christmas cookies, but also include dishes that speak to your heritage and destinations you love. For example, you might want to prep a few of these recipes to give a nod to Italy’s Feast of the Seven Fishes, make traditional Mexican tamales or serve up mulled wine, a take on traditional German glühwein.
Deck the Halls Party
Need a little help decorating? Turn trimming the tree and putting up your decorations into a party. This is a great party to kick off the holiday season and it gets everyone in the spirit. Have some cocktails and mocktails at the ready and reward everyone with a cozy slow cooker meal when all the work is through. Remember: Don’t work your guests too hard—it’s supposed to be a party!
White Christmas Party
What is a white Christmas party if not an excuse to go all-out with an elegant color scheme (and maybe the holiday movie classic streaming in the background)? To throw a white Christmas party, opt for dishes, beverages and decor that look like they’ve been frosted in snow.
Cookie swaps are a great way to get together with friends and neighbors and try out a huge variety of amazing cookies (now, that’s a win-win!). For a cookie exchange, encourage participants to bring a few dozen of their favorite cookies to share. Then provide everyone with a cute Christmas tin to take home their goodies. As for the party, stick to appetizers and small bites so you have room to sample all those cookies! Get a complete guide to Christmas cookies here.
Secret Santa Exchange
Whether you prefer Secret Santa, White Elephant or Yankee Swap, a gift exchange among friends is always fun around the holidays. Be the envy of the swap with creative packaging. And keep everyone happy—no matter what silly gift they end up with—with these fuss-free Christmas finger foods.
If overly-formal, super-fancy Christmas parties aren’t your thing, try another theme on for size, like a country Christmas. This cozy Christmas party theme is great for folks that prefer flannel shirts and listening to classic Christmas tunes around the fire. To host one of these parties, try making some comforting farmhouse-style dishes and keep guests busy by stringing popcorn.
Gingerbread Village Decorating Party
Let your friends and loved ones show off their creative side with a gingerbread house decorating party. If you want to up the ante like we do at Taste of Home HQ, turn this into a competition and hand out prizes in all kinds of categories: Most Wintry, Santa-Approved, Gingerbread House We’d Love to Hang Out In, Most Festive and more. Need a few ideas? We’ve got plenty! And don’t forget to have snacks and sips on hand to keep everyone energized.
Planning an outdoor activity like ice skating, sledding or just braving the cold to cut down your own Christmas tree? Turn coming in from the cold into a celebration of its own. We recommend all kinds of hot chocolate, eggnog and a slow cooker soup that’s been simmering all afternoon. A get-together like this can be that simple (and that cozy).