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Tips for throwing a magical Christmas party

Last Updated December 2018

'Tis the season, so it's time to deck your halls and get in the Christmas spirit. The festive season is wonderful for a whole range of reasons, but we want to talk about Christmas parties. From boozy adults-only affairs to jolly family gatherings, Christmas parties are an awesome way for the important people in your life to join together and celebrate.

But when you're the one hosting, it can seem overwhelming. A holiday gathering can be as lavish or as simple as you want, but it can be a fantastic event whatever your budget or time constraints. These are some of our top tips for throwing a magical Christmas party.

Decorate your home

It doesn't take much to transform a home into a winter wonderland. Sure, you can go all out on decorating if you choose, but a little goes a long way. You'll probably have a tree up already, which sets the festive scene. Natural trimmings, such as spruce and holly, give a magical Christmas feeling while still being understated. For atmosphere, keep the overhead lights low and instead use lamps and Christmas lights to illuminate the place.

Work on your guest list

Think about who you want to invite to your Christmas party. Is it going to be small and intimate with just close friends and/or family members, or will it be a huge blowout with practically everyone you know invited, from your mom to your mailman? At this point, you can decide whether you're having a family gathering with guests of all ages or a strictly adults-only bash. If your family or friendship group is rife with drama, don't invite people who can't be in the same room together without causing trouble. For smaller gatherings and dinner parties, you might also consider how well people will jell with one another, if they're not already acquainted. A modest group of people with little in common can lead to some stilted conversation.

Consider a dress code

While not everybody likes to suggest a dress code, it can be a nice touch at Christmas time. If you're going for a fun, silly vibe to your party, you could tell your guests to wear ugly Christmas sweaters. If you'd prefer a more elegant tone, guests could wear something red, green, silver, or gold. Even if you don't have a dress code as such, you might want to mention on your invitations whether you expect people to turn out in evening wear, casual clothes, or smart-casual dress. This way it's easier for guests to decide what to wear and avoid the potential embarrassment of coming overdressed or underdressed.

Singing carols is a wholesome and magical activity for a family Christmas party.

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Decide on a menu

Depending on your thoughts about cooking, this is either the enjoyable part or one of the most arduous tasks. Fans of cooking can have fun here, making beautifully decorated Christmas cookies or cupcakes, festive foods from around the world, a stunning centerpiece such as a Yule log, or other wintery favorites. Your menu will depend on whether you're planning a dinner party with a full sit-down meal, large buffet, or simply some light nibbles. If you're pressed for time or cooking isn't your forte but you have the budget, consider hiring a caterer.

Consider some festive brew

Once you've got the food decided, you'll need some drinks, too. Mulled wine, eggnog, spiked hot chocolate, and Christmas cocktails all go down well. You'll also want some nonalcoholic options for kids, designated drivers, and anyone else who chooses not to partake. Spiced apple cider is a delicious choice, as are hot cocoa with all the trimmings and booze-free 'nog.

Plan some activities

Only you know your friends and whether they would enjoy taking part in some organized activities or would rather simply mingle. Don't feel pressured to come up with activities if you'd prefer to just drink and be merry! However, if you and your social circle love group games or other activities, you'll find plenty of festive options. You could set up a karaoke area (with only Christmas songs available) or play a game of holiday pictionary or charades (again, only Christmas-related clues allowed). A Christmas cookie-decorating station is a fun idea for family parties because both kids and grown-ups can enjoy taking part.

Don't be afraid to delegate

Yes, it's your party, but that doesn't mean you must do everything yourself. If you're too busy with planning, preparing, cooking, serving, and other duties, you won't have time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Delegate a few tasks to family members or close friends so you can relax and enjoy your party. You might be surprised by how willing your loved ones are to bring a dish, string some lights, or put together a Christmas playlist. Ask and ye shall receive! Then all that's left for you to do is have fun.

Written by:
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer