How To Throw a Fun, Festive Christmas Party

Plan and Host a Fabulous Fun Event

Christmas photography

Want to throw a fun and exciting party? Impress your friends and be the talk of the town? Or just enjoy the season with a warm reception?

Planning a party is simple; just follow the steps below.

  1. Theme. Decide on a theme -- it can be a cultural theme such as Italian, a religious theme like the Nativity Scene, or a period theme such as 40’s swing era. Of course, a theme is optional. Instead, you can choose a color combo like: red, green, and shiny gold; black, white, and red; or silver, green, and frost blue.

  2. Budget. Count the cost, probably somewhere between $200 for a low budget to $2,000 for a high budget. If several folks are putting on the party, you can split the cost. Remember, you will need to account for the rental hall, food, decorations, invitations, gifts and music. Included in the following are some great ideas to keep the costs down if you’re on a limited budget.

  3. Location. To keep the party personal and intimate, hold it at your home (or someone else’s). A home accommodates up to 100 guests, and remember, you’ll have to clean the house first. For more than 100 guests, consider renting a hall. The cost usually includes a rental fee, a deposit, plus insurance. Check your Chamber of Commerce or visitor bureau to find event facilities.

  4. Guests. Do you want to invite family? Friends and neighbors? The work crowd or your clients? Or maybe all of the above? Do you want to offer a kid-friendly environment or will it be adults only? Be sure to specify on the invitation. And remember that only about half or one-third of invitees will show up. They have many other holiday events vying for their attention around this time of year!

  5. Day&time. The best times for Christmas parties are weekday evenings after 6pm and weekends after 3pm. Don’t cut it too close to Christmas Day — and remember that many event facilities are booked months in advance.

  6. Invitations. Don’t depend on email, phone calls, or word of mouth. Send invitations in the mail, and use a Christmas stamp. You can send simple invitations or you can print on fancy holiday-themed paper, available from PaperDirect or your nearest office supply store. If you prefer personalized imprinted invitations, have them printed at your local stationery store or order online. Remember to order at least a month in advance, to allow for customized printing.

  7. Food. Everyone will be looking forward to the food! A low cost idea is to order appetizers from your local deli. And if you’re on a shoestring budget, ask guests to each bring a dish, “pot blessing” style. For maximum impact, hire a catering service. Find one at DirectCatering. Catered food is the biggest part of the budget, and they charge you per person. Will you serve alcohol or not? If so, what types and how much?

  8. Decorations&lights. If you have a theme, follow it. Otherwise, decorate with flowers, candles, a decorated tree, garland, branches, and a wreath on the door. The idea: glittery and glowing. Your local “dollar” store is a good source of many holiday items such as tablecloths and centerpieces. To go all-out, contact a professional event planner in your area (refer to your Chamber of Commerce for recommendations).

  9. Music. The easiest no-hassle music is to play Christmas Carol CDs on a continuous player. The type of music depends on your theme: Oldies, Jazz, Gospel, Blues, Traditional or Church Choir. Some great sources of music are listed in the links below. A fun idea is to have your kids or friends sing Christmas carols, accompanied by piano or guitar. Will guests be dancing? Live music from a local band is superb, if you can fit it in the budget — remember to book early. And there is always karaoke singing!

  10. Set-up & clean-up. You’ll need a set-up crew: get a few friends to help bring decorations and arrive 2-3 hours ahead. Arrange tables and chairs, then decorations, then food, then music. To begin, set up some seating at the tables, and some chairs around perimeter walls. You want to encourage mingling and activity, so have areas to stand up as well. Set up tables for food. If you’re serving appetizers, you’ll need high tables scattered around the sides of the room. If you’re serving a meal, set up one large serving table. If kids will be attending, set up a special kid area. You’ll also need a clean-up crew: Get a few more friends (different than the setup crew) to help out for 2-3 hours afterwards. If you rented a hall, make sure you clean it up to get your deposit back.

  11. Gift giving. If you’d like to include a gift exchange, ask each guest to bring a present (include instructions in the invitation). You can limit the dollar amount. One idea is to play a gift-exchange game, where you draw names for prizes and the winner can choose from a pile of gifts or “steal” a gift from another guest. Or if you prefer, you can provide simple take-home party favors as a thank-you gift.

  12. Community fundraising. Want to help a non-profit organization? Ask guests to bring money, toys or food as a donation. Or consider charging money for the Christmas party tickets.

Remember to take photos at this special event to remember! After your successful party, develop your photos and take a break. Take some time to appreciate how well everything went, and reflect on your special time with family and friends. And email a few nice photos to your guests, thanking them for being part of your festive Christmas.

To host a decadent Christmas party, the above steps can give you a tremendous head start on the festivities, whether you plan to spend a little or a lot. Here’s to a bright and glowing Christmas everyone will remember!


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fun tips, and i like your fundraising idea, brings out the real spirit of Christmas. thank you!

By Anonymous

once Christmas comes around we can try out a lot more ideas. Cool!!

By James Goetz

Lots of good ideas - thanks!

By Marion Cornett