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Celebrations

How to Plan a Christmas Party

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2018

Get into the holiday spirit this year by hosting an unforgettable Christmas party for your family and friends. Holiday celebrations are a cheerful way to bring everyone together and share your Christmas wishes in person. If you’re thinking about throwing a holiday party but don’t know where to begin, we have you covered with the perfect game plan. Plan a stress-free Christmas party for your loved ones using creative Christmas party ideas and inspiration below.

christmas party table spread and decorations

How to Plan a Christmas Party

Plan your Christmas party using these five steps for a seamless party planning experience.

  1. Choose a date. Find a date in December to host your Christmas party. You can plan a Christmas party for early December to avoid schedule conflicts or plan an intimate party for Christmas Eve.
  2. Choose a location. Decide if you want to throw your party at home or rent a space. Celebrations at home are more cost-effective and ideal for 35-40 guests or less, while renting a space works better for a larger group of party goers.
  3. Choose a Christmas party theme. Save yourself some time by choosing a Christmas party theme to set the tone for your decorations, food, and invites.
  4. Choose Christmas party invitations. Create your guest list and find Christmas party invitations that match your theme. Include all relevant information on your invitation such as the dress code or Christmas party game details so guests are prepared. You can also include a festive holiday sticker on your invitation to get everyone in the spirit.
  5. Set a budget for food and decorations. Once you’ve decided how many people you’re inviting, set a budget for food that reflects how many people you expect to attend. Choose appetizers, desserts, and cocktails that are easy to prepare so you can enjoy the party with your guests.
  6. Prepare in advance. Start preparing for your party as soon as you set a date, especially if you’re ordering decorations, party favors, or materials from online. You should also confirm in advance if a friend or family member can help you set-up.

cute christmas party glasses

Christmas Party Themes

Choosing a Christmas party theme is important if you want all of your party components to be on the same page. You can reduce the amount of work needed to throw a Christmas party by sticking with one party theme. Whether you’re thinking of hosting a classic Christmas party or a Winter Wonderland extravaganza, your theme will help tie together your food, decor, and Christmas party invites.

  • Traditional Christmas: Host a classic Christmas party to get your family and friends in the holiday spirit! Find red and green decorations, Christmas treats, and designs for your party that are cheerful and jolly. You can gather stockings, mini-Christmas trees, wreaths, over-sized ornaments, and Christmas lights to give your party a warm and traditional feel. And don’t forget to send out your matching elegant Christmas cards to cap off the theme.
  • We Three Kings: A ‘We Three Kings’ party is an elegant and religious party theme consisting of a white, black, and gold color palette. Inspired by the three Wise Men who traveled to Bethlehem for the birth of baby Jesus, you can decorate your party with small treasures, regal designs, and jewels to stay true to this story.
  • Santa Claus Soiree: Deck your party out with anything and everything Santa-inspired for this theme. You can get creative with this Saint Nicholas theme by incorporating Santa throughout your decorations, desserts, and tablescapes. Don’t forget to have a friend or family member dress up as Santa to surprise your guests to make your Santa Claus party memorable.
  • Peppermint Party: A peppermint or candy cane party is all about the food and treats! You can serve everything from peppermint hot chocolate and peppermint cocktails (or mocktails) to peppermint fudge and homemade peppermint bark. When it comes to decorations, you can go with a classic red and white striped theme or base your party decor on multi-colored candy canes.
  • Winter Wonderland: Turn your home or space into a beautiful Winter Wonderland party full of snowflakes, white decor, and snowmen. This is an elegant and grand theme characterized by plenty of white and silver decorations throughout your entire party set-up, along with an all-white dessert bar. Find more inspiration for a Winter Wonderland holiday party here.
  • Reindeer Party: Plan a charismatic reindeer themed Christmas party this year! Although this theme includes a red and green color palette, you can get creative with log centerpieces, reindeer treats, and sleigh bells. Don’t forget to pass out antlers and red noses to all of your guests as they walk in.
  • Elf Party: Who says Santa Claus has to be the star of the show? Switch gears and throw a party dedicated to Santa’s little helpers instead. An elf party is exciting and fun with plenty of opportunity for props and elf-inspired decorations.
  • Nutcracker Ballet Party: If you loved the Nutcracker ballet, turn this celebrated play into a full fledged holiday party. This delightful party is characterized by decor based on angels, ballet dancers, Winter-inspired decorations, and toy soldiers. If you’re looking to avoid red and green this season, a Nutcracker ballet party is perfect for you. Find more inspiration for a Nutcracker Ballet party here.
  • Cookie Exchange: Host a cookie swap party that’s kid-friendly for a sweet holiday gathering. Have each attendee bake and bring one type of cookie along with the recipe so the cookie exchange is a success. You can set up a packaging station for guests to decorate their boxes before picking out their cookies.
  • Ugly Christmas Sweater Party: You can never go wrong with an Ugly Christmas Sweater party theme. This theme is highly popular and loved ones look forward to finding their ugly Christmas sweater every year. Make sure to check out our funny Christmas party invitations if you pick this theme. You can pair this theme with classic Christmas colors since the focus of the party is on the guests instead. Don’t forget to offer a prize for the guest with the most hideous Christmas sweater!
  • Christmas Costume Party: Host a costume party this year and encourage guests to dress up. You can have guests wear Christmas colors or come as their favorite Christmas movie character. Either way, costume parties are always creative and allow guests to play a larger role in making your party a success. You can also pair this theme with classic Christmas decorations.
  • Christmas Movie Night: Grab the popcorn and host a fun Christmas movie night with your loved ones. This an easy theme that doesn’t require a lot of decorations. Spend your time planning out movie-oriented bites and treats that are easy to grab. You can also let guests know which Christmas movies you’ll be screening on your invitation to build excitement.

traditional christmas party invitation

Christmas Party Game Ideas

Create some laughter and holiday cheer by organizing games at your Christmas party to up the fun factor. Christmas party games keep the energy high at your party and encourage guests to easily interact with one another. You can ask a friend to lead the games so you can take a quick break from hosting and relax.

  • Gingerbread House Decorating Competition: Who doesn’t love a good gingerbread house? This tasty decorating activity can turn into an exciting competition if you have a couple hours to spare at your party. Divide your guests into small pairs and supply them with a gingerbread house, frosting, and decorations to see who can come up with the most creative house design.
  • White Elephant: White Elephant is a classic Christmas game that many families love to play. This gift exchange game consists of participants opening a gift from a communal table and having the option to keep their gift or steal another participant’s gift during their turn. Once all of the gifts on the table are gone, the game has ended and everyone is stuck with what they have.
  • Christmas Gift Wrap Relay: Arrange a gift wrap relay race for your guests by challenging them to relay across a room and wrap oddly shaped gifts. The first team to have all of their members wrap a gift and return to one side of the room wins the game.
  • Christmas Stocking Relay: This game is all about patience. Host a Christmas stocking relay in which teams are challenged to fill their stocking up with jelly beans or Christmas candies. There’s only one catch – each member has to use a spoon when dashing across the room to fill their stocking.

Christmas Party Activities

Activities for your Christmas party are a must! In addition to making sure your party is stacked with delicious food and holiday sweets, you can set aside Christmas party activities to keep your guests entertained. In contrast with Christmas games, these activities are non-competitive and don’t involve any prizes.

  • Christmas Karaoke: Gather all of your attendees for a few rounds of karaoke featuring some of your favorite Christmas tunes. This is an easy and entertaining activity that spreads the holiday spirit and reminds everyone of their favorite holiday songs.
  • Christmas Crafts: If you’re hosting a kid-friendly party, it’s always a good idea to set up a table for Christmas arts and crafts. Consider setting up supplies for fun crafts such as homemade ornaments, stocking decorations, paper snowflakes, and angels.
  • Cookie Decorating: Set up a cookie decorating table for your guests and offer different Christmas-shaped sugar cookies to get this activity started. Besides the cookies, all you need are plenty of colored icings and fun toppings to satisfy your guests.
  • Photobooth with Christmas Props: Rent or build your own photobooth with plenty of funny Christmas props to capture the holiday spirit of your guests. Photobooths are increasingly popular at themed parties and help document all of the fun that you’re working so hard to orchestrate. Encourage guests to take a family Christmas photo and send it to them after the holidays as a memento.
  • Secret Santa Exchange: Plan a traditional Secret Santa activity and assign guests an attendee in advance! This party activity works best for smaller Christmas parties in which you can keep track of RSVPs easier to compile your Secret Santa list.
  • Christmas Card Tree Making: Have all of your guests bring their photo Christmas cards for this fun and crafty activity. Instead of letting Christmas cards collect dust, encourage your guests to exchange family Christmas cards at your party and attach them to mini-Christmas trees made of metal or wood. Provide guests with small clips and ornaments to complete their card tree.

Planning a Christmas party isn’t as bad as you think! If you love the Christmas season, your planning process will be cheerful as you get creative and find spirited ways to make your party enjoyable for everyone. Remember to plan your party in advance so you can share this special day with your loved ones and partake in the fun. After the party, be sure to send a christmas card to all of the party guests afterwards as a nice memento for attending. If you aren’t sure what to write on a christmas card or how to address a christmas cards, please take a look at our linked step-by-step guides.