Planning a Christmas party can be a lot of fun if you're organized. There are many details to keep in mind--everything from food and drinks to party games.
Here are some tips on how to throw a great Christmas party:
- Send out festive invitations. Start your party out on the right foot with great invitations. You can buy Christmas-themed party invitations at card stores and party shops--or make your own by using old Christmas cards or printable templates and clip art from the Internet. If your party will be a casual affair, it is even acceptable to send out email invitations--just make sure that you include all of the pertinent party details.
- Plan the menu. Whether it's a casual cocktail party or a fancy dinner party, the menu is one of the most important things that you should focus on. For a party where you will serve only appetizers and drinks, serve simple fare like a cheese and fruit tray, mini quiches and crackers and breadsticks with dip. If you're planning to serve a meal, go for buffet style make-ahead dishes like baked lasagna or ziti, a crock pot of meatballs and a big green salad. A desserts-only party should include decadent desserts and tarts--and don't forget the Christmas cookies!
- Serve festive drinks. If you plan to serve cocktails at your party, look for some festive drink recipes. If bartending isn't your thing, have a self-serve bar available or mix up a big bowl of holiday punch. Peppermint-flavored martinis or a batch of spiked eggnog are always delicious options as well. Discount stores and supermarkets often sell tubs of mixable cocktails--you just add a bottle of spirits and put it in the freezer until party time. You can also keep it simple and just offer some red or white wine to your party guests.
- Decorations. No Christmas party would be complete without party decorations. String blinking lights across the room and decorate with tinsel, garland and mistletoe. A clear vase filed with multicolored Christmas ornaments makes a great centerpiece. Make sure that you have a decorated Christmas tree--or make the tree decorating part of the party festivities!
- Party music. Be sure to fill the party room with the sounds of Christmas music. You can create your own party music mix by downloading Christmas tunes onto your computer and then creating your own play list. Classic Christmas CDs, by artists like Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby, are always in favor-or go for an all -instrumental route. If there will be a lot of kids at your party, look for fun holiday tunes like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman." You can also print out song lyric sheets and have a Christmas caroling session.
- Party games. A Pollyanna gift swap is a great addition to any Christmas party. Have guests draw names beforehand or have them draw numbers at the party--the person with the lowest number starts first by picking any of the gifts and then continue until everyone gets a gift. Christmas trivia games or a Christmas-themed bingo game are also good party games. You can even do a Christmas-themed charades game, where players "act out" their favorite Christmas characters or movies. It's also always fun to do something unexpected, like filling a piñata with Christmas candies and trinkets and letting the kids at the party go to town!
- Have a surprise guest. If you have a willing adult--with a jolly personality--that is available to help out, have him or her don a Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus suit and surprise the kids with a visit from St. Nick. Take a Polaroid picture of each child sitting on Santa's lap and give them to your guests as party favors.
- One final thing to remember. The holiday season is a very busy time--many people get swamped with invitations to family parties, work-related functions and neighborhood open houses. Try to choose a party date that will work for the majority of your family and friends (Hint: Christmas Day is not the best day to throw a Christmas party, unless it is a family party).