How to Host a Christmas Party

Four Parts:Planning AheadDecorating for the PartyMaking Festive Holiday FoodHosting Games and Activities

Throwing a holiday party is a great way to gather all of your favorite people together for a fun evening. A great holiday party includes festive decorations, tasty holiday food, and an assortment of fun activities for your guests. Holiday parties take a little planning and preparation, but if you consider all these factors your guests will have a lovely time.

Part 1
Planning Ahead

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    Start planning one month in advance. Plan the Christmas party up to five weeks ahead, if possible. But be sure to plan ahead and notify guests by at least a week or two to give your guests ample time to make their plans. You don’t want to throw a party that no one is able to attend simply because you didn’t give them enough advanced notice.
  2. 2
    Choose the date. Try to check with your friends ahead of time to see what existing obligations everyone already has. This way, you can get an idea about what date is best for the largest number of people.[1]
    • But remember that no matter how well you plan, not everyone will be able to attend your party. The holidays are filled with travel, family, and work obligations, so most people are very busy.
    • Since the holidays can be such a busy time of the year, you might consider throwing the party a few days after Christmas so more people can come. That way, it’ll still take place during the holiday season, but more of your guests may be available.
  3. 3
    Choose a venue. Having your holiday party at home is an easier (and cheaper!) option, but if you are inviting too many people to fit in your home you might want to consider reserving a venue for the event.[2]
    • Consider how many people you will invite and how much space you’ll need.
    • Keep your budget in mind when evaluating locations. Remember that you will have to spend more money on food and decorations too, so don’t spend your whole party budget on the venue.
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    Invite people. Decide who you want to invite and make a list so you can keep track of how many people are planning to attend. Consider if you want children to come or not. Invite friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, or whoever else you want to celebrate the holidays with.
    • Consider creating an event on a social media platform (like Facebook) and invite most of your guests that way. It’s an easy and effective way to get the word out about your party.
    • You can call the people you are inviting, and if they are not there, leave a message.
    • Try making invitations you can send to the people you will invite. Make sure to mail them well in advance of the party, as mail is often slow during the holidays.
    • You can also choose to order professional holiday invitations if your budget will allow.[3]
    • An alternative to snail-mail is email. Although this isn't very professional or official, it is quick if you know the recipients check their email a lot. Many teens and young adults might choose this option over calling and snail-mail.

Part 2
Decorating for the Party

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    Pick a color scheme. One thing to remember about decorating for a party is not to overdo it. Choose one main color and have it carry through all of your decorations.[4]
    • For a Christmas party, good colors to choose would be green, red, gold, or purple.
    • You can pair your chosen color with white accents to really bring the color scheme together for your Christmas party.
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    Hang a wreath on the door. This will be the first party-related item your guests see when they arrive at your house, so it will effectively set the mood for the entire party. Make sure it matches with your color scheme and is appropriately festive.
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    Create focal points. Instead of strewing decorations all over the room, try to create several focal points instead. This will give the party a much more put-together look rather than just haphazard decorations. It will also help you draw attention to the parts of the party that you want your guests to notice.[6]
    • Some good ideas for focal points at a Christmas party are a decorated Christmas tree, a fireplace, and the refreshments table.
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    Decorate your Christmas tree. Decorate a Christmas Tree by putting garland, lights, and ornaments on it. Be creative; there are many DIY ornaments on the internet that you can make and that are very easy. You can also easily buy decorations at any craft store, superstore, and even most grocery stores.[7]
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    Add some festive touches. Small decorative touches can really add a lot to the ambiance of a Christmas party. Decorate the dinner table with some small festive accents like Christmas tree ornaments or pinecones. Add some decorative pillows with holiday themes to your furniture.
    • Try to also include some Christmas knick-knacks around your home. They are a nice detail to a decorative Christmas home.
    • You can also add some stockings, mistletoe, wreathes, banners, pictures, or candles.

Part 3
Making Festive Holiday Food

  1. 1
    Prepare some food in advance. When you are hosting a holiday party, preparing all the food might seem a little overwhelming. In order to overcome this obstacle, you should try to cook some of the dishes ahead of time.
    • For example, if you are making a fresh salad for your guests, you could prepare it the day before and refrigerate it until the party the next day. Just don’t make it too far in advance or the vegetables might get a bit soggy by the time he party rolls around.
    • Things that can be refrigerated until the party or reheated right before the party are perfect for making ahead of time. This will save you a lot of stress on the day of the party.
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    Provide an assortment of food for your guests. Include a variety of items like a meat dish, some sides (vegetables and starches), and some desert. Try to consider if any of the people that will be attending the party have allergies, and plan accordingly.[8]
    • At your holiday party, you could serve a turkey or ham for the main meat dish, along with several sides like peas, corn, potatoes, rolls, and pie.
    • If your party is more casual, or you don't want to make a turkey, that's perfectly fine. You could tell your guests to bring a dish, or during the party you could have a buffet. There are many Christmas recipes available online.
    • Be sure to be considerate of any special dietary needs of your guests. Try to include one gluten-free option and one vegetarian/vegan option.
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    Make festive appetizers. Everyone loves appetizers at a party. Give your guests a little holiday cheer with some festive holiday appetizers. Try to include some little touches that make the tray more festive – like adding some holiday berries or festive garnishes.[9]
    • You could make a nice cheese platter with pine cones for garnishes or crab salad canapes on a platter of evergreen twigs.
  4. 4
    Decide what drinks to serve. Consider whether or not you want to serve alcohol at your party. You’ll need to provide a variety of drinks, even if you do not serve alcohol. A good rule of thumb is that the average guest will drink four glasses during the course of the party. Make sure you plan accordingly.[10]
    • If you’re serving alcohol, consider wine, champagne, and/or cocktails.
    • Whether or not you serve alcohol at your party, you’ll need to serve some nonalcoholic drinks too. Consider sparkling water (fancied up with cranberry juice), nonalcoholic punch, or soda.
    • Hot chocolate and eggnog are very festive drinks for the holiday season.
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    Include a variety of Christmas cookies. Christmas cookies are a staple of any holiday party. They are tasty and festive, adding to the holiday cheer. You can purchase them in a store or make some yourself.[11]
    • Whether store bought or homemade, display your cookies on a plate or decorative Christmas platter.[12]

Part 4
Hosting Games and Activities

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    Make a holiday playlist. Every good Christmas party needs a well-selected Christmas soundtrack. Include songs from different genres to make sure all of your guests are satisfied. Add classic versions of Christmas songs as well as some contemporary covers. Consider including these songs:[13]
    • “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby
    • “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley
    • “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey
    • “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney
    • “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Frank Sinatra
    • “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Bruce Springsteen
    • “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues
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    Have a gingerbread house station. Making gingerbread houses is a fun activity for people of all ages during the Christmas season. Children and adults alike will enjoy getting their fingers covered in frosting and sneaking pieces of candy while making their house.[14]
    • Make sure you buy all of the necessary supplies such as gingerbread pieces (or graham crackers), frosting, and assorted colorful candies.
    • Set everything up at its own table so that the mess is contained.
    • You can even turn it into a competition with a prize for the best gingerbread house.[15]
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    Sing Christmas carols together. Singing Christmas carols is a wonderful, time honored activity to incorporate into your Christmas party. You can sing along with the stereo versions or have someone play an instrument (if they’re able).
    • You can even download the lyrics and/or sheet music from online sources if you want to print copies for your guests.[16]
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    Organize a White Elephant Gift Exchange. This can be a lot of fun for all age groups. The premise of this activity is that everyone brings a silly gift to the party and anonymously selects a gift from the lot. As the game goes on, people can exchange gifts, take gifts from others, or keep their own.[17]
    • For this to work, you’ll have to notify your guests ahead of time so that they can bring a gift and participate.
    • This is a fun way to get to know new people. But make sure you introduce people to get conversations between your guests going.


  • Dress up a bit. Wear nice clothes in holiday colors.
  • If there are kids present, take them to a separate room, like a basement, and have them play a game together. Know what age groups the kids are in, as teens won't like playing hide and seek or other children’s games.


  • Do not serve alcohol or drink alcohol unless you are of legal drinking age in your country. If there are underage people at your party, try to monitor them to make sure they don’t consume any alcohol.

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Categories: Christmas Parties