25 Christmas Party Ideas Guaranteed To Inspire A Festive Celebration

christmas party crop
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Page Mullins

As the holiday season gets underway, so do our cherished seasonal traditions. Some traditions are as old as time, and other practices are just beginning to take shape. No matter if your cherished holiday memory starts with a carriage ride through a quintessential small Southern town or an annual girlfriend getaway, holiday happenings are exciting whatever the occasion.

Traditions aside, another perk of the holiday season is attending (and hosting) Christmas parties. Each year is a shiny opportunity to throw the most memorable Christmas party yet. In fact, opting for a fresh Christmas party theme can add a seasonal twinkle of excitement, not only for your guests but for you the host.

Need some inspiration? There is no need to look as far as the North Pole for unique holiday party ideas, as we have curated a festive list of 25 Christmas party ideas to inspire your own.

01 of 25

Cookie Exchange Party

Christmas Bulb Sugar Cookies
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Aren't Christmas cookies the best? Possibly better than Christmas cookies is attending a cookie exchange party. When prepping for a Christmas cookie exchange party, remember to provide your guests with all of the details. Important cookie exchange instructions to include are, cookies must be homemade, bake at least two dozen, present bakes in a creative fashion, and include the holiday recipe alongside the cookie platter. Bonus points if your Christmas cookie pick has sentimental value or is a personal favorite.

02 of 25

Ornament Exchange Party

Ornament Storage

Organizing a simple ornament exchange party can become one of those ideas that turns into a yearly anticipated tradition. When planning an ornament exchange celebration, be sure to curate a guest list, with an RSVP date along with including details about the party's guidelines such as the ornament price budget and how many ornaments to bring per person.

03 of 25

Multi-Theme Party

Christmas Table Decorations: Make a champagne bar
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

If you're one of those who like a bit of everything, why choose one party theme? Deciding on a multi-theme concept may suit your style—and Courtney Zentner, founder and designer of The Drifter and Carroll & Ashe in Charleston, knows just how to make this work. "We threw an amazing party for one of our clients where each room in her home was a different theme," she explains. "The kid's room was inspired by Santa's workshop with everything made of paper—garlands, tassels, thematic hats, and fun paper bento boxes with miniature kid-friendly bites."

When throwing a multi-theme party, don't overlook the entertaining outdoor space. Zentner reminds us: "Outside was nostalgic, with every tree covered in silver tinsel, a snow machine overhead, and everything from champagne in coupes to prime rib sliders."

04 of 25

Mother-Daughter Gift Wrap Party

Pile of Gift Wrap Presents
Courtesy of Dogwood Hill

Not every holiday hop has to have a heavy guest list. You can keep things intimate by inviting the woman in your family (moms, aunts, sisters, and grandmothers) over to have a mother-daughter gift wrap party.

When hosting a holiday hen wrapping party, be sure to have large flat stations where the wrappers can easily wrap their gifts. Opting to have deep bowls filled with ribbons, double-sided tape, scissors, and name tags can double as decoration. Be sure to have wrapping paper rolls readily available at each station. For a Southern touch, consider making each station themed such as coastal, berry surprised, tartan, and garden-inspired.

05 of 25

Camellia Christmas Party

Camellia Flower Cake Topper
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas: Food Styling: Torie Cox

The East Coast may love their poinsettia plants (okay, so do we) but during the merry season, we have Yuletide Camellias in the South. Allow the flower's holiday red bloom and vibrant green foliage to inspire your next party. While you are at it, incorporate Yuletide Camillia flowers in your Christmas bouquets as they bloom from late November through January.

06 of 25

A Holly Dolly Christmas Party

A Holly Dolly Christmas Album Cover

Who doesn't love (and adore) Dolly Parton? Dolly fans already know that she loves Christmas, with the 2020 release of her holiday album, A Holly Dolly Christmas. For your truly unique holly Dolly Christmas party, play on the theme of holly berries and a bit of razzle-dazzle. This bold berry patch cocktail will dazzle party-goers while displaying these sparkling cranberries for guests to eat will surely razzle.

07 of 25

Christmas Craft Party

foyer decor christmas
Photo: Marta Xochilt Perez; Styling: Jenny O'Connor

Christmas is one of the most popular holidays to craft. Opting to host a Christmas craft gathering is a creative way to get into the holiday spirit. Entertaining guests with a lesson on how to make fresh-cut Christmas wreaths, with an expert's lead is just what the season calls for.

08 of 25

Nostalgic Christmas Party

Vintage Christmas Ornaments
Hector Sanchez

There is something magical about vintage Christmas lights as well as trees drenched in tinsel. Hosting a nostalgic Christmas party concept calls for curating the ultimate classic holiday playlist (Dean Martin and Nat King Cole), vintage holiday decorations, Yule Log lighting, citrus treats, and old-timey seasonal bakes such as homemade candy.

09 of 25

Gingerbread House Decorating Party

Gingerbread House Village

We have all seen holiday baking shows where bakers attempt to make the ultimate edible architecture out of gingerbread and icing. Attempt to do the same by hosting a Christmas gingerbread decorating party.

Zentner comments about one of her past parties, sharing how she displayed the treats, "The dining room was a gingerbread house with dozens of tiers of cookies and candies and sweets—we even found peppermint-scented pillar candles for the perfectly sweet glow!"

10 of 25

Ice Skating Party

Ice Skating
Hero Images/Getty Images

No matter if you (are lucky enough) have a frozen pond out back or know of an epic ice rink in town, planning an ice skating party with friends works in the holiday spirit as well as exercise.

11 of 25

Gingham Christmas Party

er Knapp Colorful Breakfast Nook
Marta Xochilt Perez; Styling: Jenny O’Connor

In the South, gingham is a neutral, right? Take inspiration from this year-round design for your next holiday heyday. Whether you opt for a modest touch, adding gingham napkins in your seasonal color of choice to the Christmas table, or style a green gingham check tablecloth, like in this Texas blogger's home, you can't go wrong.

12 of 25

Christmas Caroling Party

Carolers in Dahlonega, GA
Robbie Caponetto

Caroling with a group of friends and family as the season gets underway is an ideal way to spread good cheer and spend time with loved ones. Pro-tip, pre-plan (and rehearse) a list of carols you wish to cycle through at each doorstep.

13 of 25

Holiday Cocktail Party

Hot Bourbon-Orange Tea Toddy
Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Whether you decide to incorporate a curated holiday cocktail list with guided demonstrations or employ a bartending expert to share with your Christmas chaps how to make a seasonal spirit, it is up to you. Yummy drink ideas are the classic Moscow Mule and a Hot Toddy.

14 of 25

Coastal Christmas Party

Coastal Mantel for Christmas
Laurey W. Glenn

Sure, a white Christmas is a classic, but a coastal Christmas is magical too. For this holiday party concept, dive deep into the coastal design. Let the ocean be your color inspiration when decorating the cookies in this year's cookie exchange. For your decorations, use seashells in creative ways, such as trimming Christmas trees and wreath embellishments.

15 of 25

Monogram Christmas Party

Top with a Monogram
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Hosting a monogram holiday party adds a personal touch. Welcome guests with a monogram-fixed wreath. Add personalization for your guests by monogramming their initials on cocktail napkins that double as party favors.

16 of 25

Christmas Character Party

Christmas fun with friends
Courtesy of Getty

With so many Christmas movies as well as holiday Hallmark shows, there are endless Christmas characters to know and love. Have guests come dressed as their favorite Christmas characters and have prizes on hand for the most creative and the most festive.

17 of 25

Christmas Tree Decorating Party

Madcap Cottage Design Flocked Christmas Tree
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Design: John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon; Styling: Kendra Surface

Let your fresh-cut Balsam Fir tree be the conversation point of your holiday party. Whether you decide to invite friends over or only the people who live in your house, make hot chocolate and play all the Christmas carols while you decorate the tree.

18 of 25

Boat Parade Party

1612_Southern Christmas Happenings Winter on the Water
Richard Ellis / Contributor / GETTY

Holiday boat parades are unique to coastal towns. Incorporating attending a local boat parade, like the annual St. Augustine Regatta of Lights is a merry way to spend time with family. After the parade, invite everyone back to your patio for warm cups of hot chocolate and bourbon apple cider.

19 of 25

Surf with Santa Party

Raw & Juicy
Rush Jagoe

If you're lucky to reside in a Southern state that is on the coast, like Cocoa Beach, Florida, you can attend (or throw) your own surf with Santa party. The party attire? Simple either your most tropical swimsuit or Santa suit. And yes, prizes for the best party costume will be awarded.

20 of 25

Ceramic Christmas Party

White Christmas Tree with colorful lights!
Courtesy of Amazon

Planning a holiday party at your local ceramic studio is another festive fête. Here, your RSVP'd guests can take their pick from the planned menu of ceramic holiday options. Many places offer ceramic snowmen, Santa statues, as well as the classic ceramic-lighted Christmas tree. The hard part will be deciding on the glaze color scheme.

21 of 25

Christmas Card Party

Christmas Card Garland Display
Laurey W. Glenn

Each year, doesn't it feel like you send out more Christmas cards than the year prior? Pass the time penning cards and addressing envelopes by hosting a Christmas card party. For an adult-only party, you can serve Christmas martinis and play all the modern pop carols.

22 of 25

A Modern-Day Dance Party


Curating a festive background for you and your guests to create holiday TikToks is a trend that surely will go viral (and the kids will enjoy). Set the scene with a DIY backdrop made using whimsical gift wrap and plenty of tinsel streamers. Props—think reindeer antlers and Santa hats— will make it double the fun.

Pro tip: Don't forget to set up the ring light stand as well as phone charging stations to make sure that bad lighting and low batteries aren't an issue! You'll also want to have a non-alcoholic seasonal punch bowl ready to quench the thirst of your active guests.

23 of 25

Citrus Party

Orange Citrus Wreath
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas and Buffy Hargett Miller

Those who aren't native to the South may associate citrus with summer, but down here, citrus is very festive. Partake in hosting a citrus Christmas party. Allow citrus hues (bright oranges, yellows, and greens) to be your decor guide as well as incorporate those cheery fruits into your actual decor. On the food front, fixing a turkey roasted with orange and lemon along with adding freshly squeezed orange juice to your cranberry sauce are just a few menu ideas.

24 of 25

Cookie Decorating Party

Picnic Cafe and Dessertery Christmas Tree Cookies in Dahlonega, GA
Robbie Caponetto

How do you decorate sugar cookies like a professional? The answer, invite friends over for a holiday cookie decorating party. For this party theme, have your sugar cookies baked and ready for decorations. Set up stations featuring different colors of icing and complementing sprinkle colors. Have cookie tins pre-lined with wax paper ready for guests to fill and take home to enjoy.

25 of 25

Countdown to Christmas Party

2020 Countdown to Christmas Preview Special Ornament On Tree
©2020 Crown Media United States LLC/Kim Nunneley/Alexx Henry Studios, LLC

Fans of Hallmark movies know there's no time more festive than the network's annual Countdown to Christmas programming. As a party host, take advantage of the pre-released schedule and invite friends over for a casual, cozy night in with a holiday love story. Popcorn and hot cocoa encouraged, but not required.

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