Want to host the best Christmas party ever? Use these tips and tricks to make your Christmas party this year the one that everyone is talking about from now until next year’s party!
Tips for the Best Christmas Party Ever
I absolutely love Christmas because of all of the holiday parties! Ugly sweater parties, white elephant gift exchanges, cookie exchanges, breakfast with Santa, and the list goes on and on. I’ve hosted quite a few Christmas parties over the past few years and learned a lot doing so. Today instead of giving you a specific Christmas party idea, I’m sharing my tips and tricks to host the best Christmas party ever! Doesn’t matter what the theme is or who’s coming to the party, these holiday entertaining tips are sure to make your party the one people are still talking about on Christmas morning!
Christmas Party Food Tips & Tricks
#1 – Have enough food but don’t go overboard
You definitely need to have enough food for everyone coming, but don’t feel the need to serve six million different things. For our last party, we just did a couple of appetizers, desserts, and drinks for everyone. The key is to be selective about the time of the party AND to make it clear on the invitation whether you’re serving a full meal or not. Here’s a good rule of thumb for party times and meals. If your party falls within these hours (even if it starts or ends earlier or later):
- 10AM or earlier start time should serve enough food to count as breakfast or brunch
- 11AM-1PM serve enough food to count as lunch
- 5PM-7PM should serve enough food to count as dinner
Be smart about it, and you should be able to get away with just serving finger food and not a full meal. But again, make it clear on the invite what will be served or you could end up with way too much food or way too little! And I’m always a fan of having candy out for people to grab, for some reason people who don’t normally love treats will eat all the candy at a Christmas party!
#2 – Mix and match homemade with store-bought
Figure out the things you make well and the things that are just easier (and taste better) to buy at the store. For example, for our last Christmas party – I made my family’s famous pizza loaf and paired it with my favorite Heluva Good Buttermilk Ranch Dip (and pizza sauce) for dipping! I did the same thing with these buffalo chicken stuffed potato skins. Make one part of the meal yourself and leave the rest to the pros.
This tips works really well with things like dips, sauces, and dressings. I mean it’s much easier to just head to your local grocery store (find out which one here) to pick up one or more of the 7+ flavors of Heluva Good Dip in the dairy aisle instead of trying to make a bunch. And then you can provide your guests with a variety without spending hours making different dips. I combined mine with the pizza loaf, but you could easily do cut veggies, chips, jalapeno poppers, tater tot skewers, or even these grilled chicken wings! So many options.
#3 – Make your favorites even if they’re not holiday recipes
Nobody said that every dish on a Christmas party table has to be a holiday recipe. One of our most popular New Year’s Eve parties was filled with people’s favorite foods and guess what – all of the food was gone by the end of the night. Don’t serve holiday items just because they fit the holiday, serve whatever you love and whatever you think the most people will enjoy.
Keep the table Christmas focused by adding in colors, patterns, and even jars full of candy that do fit the holiday theme. For example, I simply added fresh basil leaves and Christmas themed napkins under the pizza loaf + ranch dip combination, and voila, it fit the table even though pizza loaf is definitely not what you would call a traditional holiday appetizer. Do more mixing and matching – serve one favorite and one holiday special like these ever popular funfetti Christmas cookies!
Christmas Party Games Tips & Tricks
#4 – Plan a variety of games based on your guests
If there’s anything I’ve learned from having this gift exchange game post be super popular this year, it’s that people like their Christmas party games! One of my favorite tricks for parties is to play 2-3 different party games, all different kinds. And plan those games based on the people attending. So for instance, if you know the group really well and think they’d be up for it, try these Christmas minute to win it games! If you want do a gift exchange but are worried about people’s feelings getting hurt, try this heads or tails gift exchange that leaves the decisions up to the flip of a coin.
#5 – Try something new each year
There are SO many Christmas party games out there on Pinterest these days. Heck, I have over 50 different Christmas party games on my website alone. Maybe play one game year after year that becomes a tradition and try a new one like this Christmas Carol Chaos game I created for this year’s Christmas party! Simply print out the free printable cards and have guests try to guess the names of popular Christmas songs based on the mixed up versions! It’s super fun and simple, probably good to balance something like these crazier Christmas games. Click the big pink button below for the printable version.
Christmas Party – Other Tips & Tricks
#6 – Use your five senses when planning details
I read an article once about using your five senses when you’re planning a party, and this is especially true for Christmas. I like to come up with a theme then start planning details based on my five senses. These are just some guidelines to get you started!
- Hear – Pick the perfect Christmas playlist full of traditional and more modern Christmas songs.
- Smell – Make fresh wassail or this mulled apple cider that just smells like Christmas, use fresh pine or rosemary trees to decorate and add a holiday smell to the air, light candles with holiday scents.
- Taste – Serve traditional holiday flavors and combinations like this cranberry orange bread, these molasses cookies, and this cranberry raspberry holiday punch. Combine the holiday flavors with your non-holiday favorites for the best Christmas party ever!
- Touch – Create an atmosphere that feels warm and cozy like Christmas morning by putting out plush pillows and soft throws, lightning a safe fireplace, having people wear pajamas or whatever they feel most comfortable in, and using fabrics like flannel for napkins and table runners.
- See – This one is the easiest but just remember that it’s in the details. It’s in the use of Christmas party printables, in serving candy canes from a wooden sleigh, in adding of tiny ornaments to that rosemary tree, in putting together Christmas favors for everyone to take home. No need to go overboard but try to keep things put together, tied to the theme, and colorful (unless you’re going with an all white winter wonderland of course!).
#7 – Enlist help
I really should’ve made this #1 because in my opinion it’s probably the most important. I always recommend enlisting help no matter how big or small the party is. Why? Because if you don’t, you’re not going to have any time to enjoy the party yourself. And isn’t the point of hosting parties to spend time with other people? I know that’s why I do it! Ask friends to bring certain dishes, have your best friend come help setup beforehand, put someone else in charge of making sure food is constantly stocked. Or even hire help out. It doesn’t really matter how you do it as long as you do it. Don’t host a party that you’re not going to be able to enjoy.
And that’s it. Those are my best tips for holiday entertaining. What are yours? Leave me a comment with your tips for the best Christmas party ever and who knows, maybe they’ll make it into an updated version of this post!