It’s that time of year when everyone is scrambling to find the perfect white elephant gift, the best Christmas cookie recipe and, of course, standout Christmas tree decorations or a fake Christmas tree. But in the midst of all of this holiday planning, chances are you probably haven’t given much thought to Christmas party themes. Christmas calls for a celebration, and choosing a practical theme that will put guests into the holiday spirit is far from easy.
This year, make your Christmas party as exciting and interesting as possible with a unique theme that’s easy enough to pull off. You can organize a party to showcase your friends’ holiday cocktail-making skills, gather your besties for a festive brunch or keep it simple with a relaxing evening of s’mores by the fireplace. There’s also a ton of creative ideas to delight the kids in your life — think gingerbread house decorating, Christmas storybook time or a fondue-making bash. And don’t forget about an elegant but fun get together for your work buddies at the office.
Now that the holiday season is in full swing, think about how you can take your Christmas party to the next level this time around. Even if you’re not celebrating with people in person at your home, the right theme can work just as well for a a virtual zoom party.
Ready to start party planning? Click through for our editors’ favorite Christmas party themes that are guaranteed to be way better than yet another ugly holiday sweater party.
Party Theme: Holiday Card Party
It’s pretty easy to find some creative store-bought cards these days, but there’s still room to take things up a notch for Christmas. Invite your besties to make their own set of holiday cards with an assortment of festive embellishments — washi tape, colorful yarn, buttons, you name it.
Party Theme: Mini Tree Decorating Bash
Round up all of your extra Christmas ornaments, ribbon and garland for a fun-filled afternoon of decorating mini Christmas trees.
Party Themes: Toy Shopping
Remember how much fun you had as a kid shopping for toys during the holiday season? Tap into that same level of excitement to organize a toy shopping day with friends. Then, decide on a local charity to gift your haul to.
Party Theme: Letter Writing Party
There’s nothing like opening a handwritten letter from someone you love, especially during the holidays. You and a few friends can set aside time to write letters to special people in your lives. Just don’t miss the opportunity to decorate the mailing envelopes while you’re at it!
Party Theme: Dinner Recipe Showdown
Party Theme: Donut Decorating
Since you can never have too many sweets, invite friends over for a donut decorating session. They won’t even think about their favorite holiday cookie recipe.
Party Theme: Candle-Making Session
Gather your decor-obsessed friends to take part in a holiday candle-making lesson. Be sure to have holiday-appropriate essential oils, like peppermint and cinnamon, on hand to stay on theme.
Party Theme: Christmas Tea Party
A dinner party isn’t the only way to celebrate the holiday season. A holiday tea gathering with loved ones can be just as fun too. Invite guests to come in their favorite holiday ensembles to enjoy cups of seasonal tea and small bites.
Party Theme: Brunch-mas
Party Theme: Wreath Making Party
Have a crafty crew? Get together to make decorated wreaths for your front doors.
Party Theme: Fireside Hangout
S’mores aren’t just for summer campfires! Get a nice toasty fire in your fireplace, and enjoy some indoor s’mores.
Party Theme: Fondue for a Few
Is there any better way to warm up on a cold day than by enjoying dipping your favorite foods in hot cheese and chocolate? We think not. Have a little DIY fondue action by using a fondue pot (you can also do mini individual fondue pots).
Party Theme: Christmas Gift Cast-Off
Every year you’re bound to be given a gift that, well, you wouldn’t have bought for yourself. However, one of your friends just may love it! Set up a White Elephant exchange were everyone proudly re-gifts one present they received this year (just make sure the original gifter doesn’t know anyone in the group!).
Party Theme: Holiday Talent Show
Have a secret talent? Show it off with an impromptu talent show — with Christmas carols aplenty. Don’t forget the Santa hats and reindeer headbands.
Party Theme: Ladies Night
Party Theme: Reverse Christmas in July
The beachgoers among us are familiar with Christmas in July, a midsummer excuse to celebrate with some yuletide cheer. Bring that summer vacation vibe to the holiday vacation by firing up the hot tub and playing The Beach Boys’ Christmas album. Party guests should bring their most festive swimsuits!
Party Theme: Characters of Christmas
Costume parties aren’t just for Halloween. There are plenty of recognizable and easy-to-recreate characters to choose from, like Santa, Santa’s elves, Scrooge or even a busy working woman who winds up falling in love with a town obsessed with Christmas (hello, Hallmark Christmas movies!).
Party Theme: 12 Days of Dip
Party Theme: Christmas Pajama Party
Party Theme: Ho Ho Ho-down
Party Theme: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
Nat King Cole was right about one thing, there is something magical about roasted chestnuts around Christmas. Packed with Vitamin C, they’re also a healthy treat. Try roasting your own with friends these holiday season (though they’re equally delicious pre-roasted).
Party Theme: DIY Christmas Ornaments
Party Theme: Christmas Cookie Swap
Party Theme: Gingerbread House Contest
Show off your gum drop decorating skills with a friendly gingerbread house-making competition. If you’re looking for inspiration, some of these houses take it to the next level.
Party Theme: Pet Party
Why should our furry friends miss out on all of the fun? You and your pet-parent friends can dress up your pooch for what might be the most adorable party of all time.
All the fun of caroling without annoying your neighbors. Rent a room at your local karaoke bar, and sing along to these Christmas songs all night.
Party Theme: Worst Present Party
You won’t be jealous of anyone’s presents at this gift swap. Make your friends laugh with a hilariously bad gift exchange. Who can come up with the weirdest pick?
Party Theme: Cocktails for Christmas
Party Theme: Reindeer Games
Party Theme: Hot Cocoa Exchange
Everyone makes hot chocolate a little differently, so try out your friends’ recipes with a hot chocolate potluck. Besides the traditional just “add water” kind, there are plenty of fun flavors that might surprise you.
Party Theme: A Christmas Story
After all, Christmas is a time for giving back. Invite guests to bring their favorite Christmas themed story book, and then donate them to a local school, daycare or library.
Party Theme: Christmas Movie Marathon
Party Theme: That’s a Wrap!
Wrapping Christmas presents is one of those annoying but unavoidable seasonal chores. Make it fun by inviting some friends over so you can hang out and gab while you all wrap together.
Party Theme: Christmas in Vegas
If your friends like to try their luck, host a Las Vegas themed party with card games and prizes. Just don’t bet any Christmas presents.
Party Theme: Holiday Trivia
Test your pals’ Christmas knowledge by breaking them up into teams and seeing who can name all of Santa’s reindeer (or determine what “Jingle Bells” was first written about).
Party Theme: Ice Skating Adventure
You don’t have to be Adam Rippon to enjoy this one. Lace up your skates and book some time at your local ice rink for you and your friends.
Party Theme: Beers and Cheers
If you don’t have the space to host, or you just don’t want to clean up afterwards, try organizing a local bar crawl for your friend group.
Party Theme: Favorite Things
Ask your friends to figure out what a few of their favorite things are, and then get together to have a pollyanna swap. You’ll walk away with something amazing and learn more about your friends’ interests in the process.
Party Theme: Après-Ski Party
So you couldn’t make it to the Alps this year. That’s okay — with a couple of touches like faux-fur rugs and blankets, rustic wooden serving dishes and a roaring fireplace, you and your Fair Isle sweater-wearing guests will feel like you’ve just gotten off the slopes.
Party Theme: Christmas Lights Tour
There’s always that neighbor who puts everyone else’s Christmas lights to shame. Take your friends on a tour of your area’s most magnificently over-the-top Christmas lights. If you really want to make it special, consider renting a car or a limo.
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