I just saw my first Christmas commercial on TV yesterday, and it made me panic! I felt better when I realized that, yes, we are still in the month of October. We say it every year, that the stores seem to get earlier with their Christmas decorations all the time. This year feels different, though, doesn’t it? After having to cancel most celebrations during the holidays of 2020, maybe we have a new appreciation for what it means to be able to celebrate with family and friends. Maybe some of us are a bit more anxious to extend the holiday season this year and celebrate as big and as often as we can.
As of the date of this posting, there are still 27 days left until Thanksgiving, 31 days until the beginning of Hannukah and 57 days left until Christmas, so we have plenty of time for celebrating and making the most of the holidays this year! I want to help you plan ahead so you won’t feel too overwhelmed by the time December hits.
I’m all about family traditions! I almost feel guilty because I’ve created so many that now my grown sons are kind of regimented when it comes to what can or can’t be done around the holidays. My hope is that they will take some of their favorite childhood traditions and incorporate them with new traditions they make with their own wives and kids. I think that’s the way that traditions should work.
This blog post will give you some ideas for celebrations and parties that you and your families might like to plan during the holidays this year. And from these suggestions, maybe some new traditions will be created!
#1 Winter Wonderland Party
Make all of your decorations white and have your guests dressed to match the theme. You could have white tablecloths, napkins, plates. Anything snow-related, white and/or sparkling. This would be nice for a dinner party or cocktail party. Lots of white candles and string lights.
#2 Ugly Sweater Party
I’ll admit I’ve never hosted one of these, but I did help my son make an ugly sweater for a party one year. I had a lot of fun with that. If you’re not crafty, it’s not a problem because ugly sweaters are not difficult to find over the holidays. Some are made that way on purpose, and some are just ugly sweaters! The food and drinks for this party could be very casual. You could order in pizza, give out prizes for “Most Creative Sweater”, “Prettiest Ugly Sweater”, “Funniest Ugly Sweater” and “Ugliest Sweater” (obviously!). This would be a fun party to play some party games, like Scattergories, Jenga, Taboo.
#3 Cookie Exchange Party
I remember my mom participating in these parties, so they go back a long time! This is a party you could host in the evening or in the afternoon. The holiday season gets so busy that it might be nice to have a daytime party for a change. If you don’t know how this one works, here are some basic rules. Ask your guests to each bring 7-8 dozen cookies. You can have them write up and print out enough recipes to give one to each guest, or you can have them give you the recipe and you take care of making copies for all of the recipes for each guest. Provide a box for each guest and after all of the guests arrive and cookies are set out on a table, ask your guests to go around the table, taking a few of each kind of cookie. You will have to figure out how many of each cookie your guests should take, and everyone goes home with a box of assorted cookies and recipes to match. For this party, you really only need to take care of drinks because the cookies provide the food! You could have hot cocoa, hot apple cider, mulled wine and some cold drinks, as well.
#4 White Elephant Gift Exchange
An oldy, but a goody. The rules are fairly simple. Bring a wrapped, anonymous gift to the party (and give a price range for the gifts). Draw numbers to determine who gets to unwrap a present in what order. Sit in a circle and place the gifts in the center, preferably under a festive tree. The person who drew #1 selects a gift from the pile, opens it, and holds it up for all to see. The person who drew #2 decides whether to steal that gift or unwrap a mystery present from the pile. The game continues in such a fashion, with each person getting the chance to steal someone’s gift or unwrap their own surprise. When there are no more unwrapped gifts, the person who drew #1 gets one last turn. If they decide not to steal a gift, keeping the one they have, the game is over. If they do steal a gift, the game continues until someone decides to keep their gift, rather than steal.
#5 Christmas Ornament Swap
I think this party always gets people in the mood for Christmas. For this party, set a price limit and ask each guest to bring a new wrapped ornament for approximately the same price. Put all of the ornaments on the table and have each person pick a number out of a hat. Going in order, have each person choose an ornament from the table. It can be as simple as this or you can choose to treat this as you would a White Elephant Gift Exchange (see rules above). This party can be as simple or elaborate as you would like, serving just some appetizers or desserts or you can make a full dinner out of it, depending on the amount of guests.
#6 Cookie Decorating Party
Invite friends over and ask each guest to bring a dozen plain sugar cookies. Provide some icing and cookie decorations, put on some Christmas music, serve some wine and/or hot cocoa and call it a party! This is a fun, casual way to catch up with your friends during the busy holiday season.
#7 gingerbread house competition party
If you want to combine your love for Christmas with your competitive side, this might be the party for you. The easiest way to host this is to provide pre-made gingerbread houses and royal icing, and invite your guests to bring various candies for decorating. Have an impartial judge inspect the final products at the end and give a little award to the “best decorated” house. Of course, this party absolutely doesn’t have to be a competition. Your friends will enjoy just getting together to have some fun being creative and decorating with candy!
The greatest thing about the list above is that you can have a variant on any of these themes. For instance, instead of a Cookie Decorating Party, make it an ornament making party, a wreath making party, a Christmas card making party, etc. You can also decide what you want to provide for each of these parties and what you ask your guests to bring, as far as supplies or even food. For the White Elephant Gift Exchange, you could assign a theme to the gifts (Christmas decorations, beauty products, cooking gadgets) or even have the gifts be items that are things that have been laying around your house that you want to get rid of. The odd looking yard ornament you got from your cousin, the hideous tie you got from Grandma or the 10 year old bath bomb set you never opened. Instead of the Winter Wonderland Party, you can have a simple holiday dinner party or have friends come for dinner and help decorate your Christmas tree. In place of the Ugly Sweater Party, you could make it a Christmas costume party, where guests dress as a character from a Christmas movie.
Obviously, I could list about 50 more parties that I think would be fun to host! In fact, in writing this post, my mind is going crazy with ideas for each of the parties above, but I’m not sure my husband has recovered enough from our Halloween Party to approach the subject yet. Maybe I’ll wait a week or two.
The point of this post is to help you remember some of the many ways you can celebrate the season with friends and family this year. I will be giving more ideas and tips in the coming weeks. I hope this helped inspire you to start planning some gatherings of your own!
Thanks for stopping by to read this post and I hope you find something to celebrate this week!