My family is a family of Christmas Party Hostesses. We love getting together for the holidays with family and friends. So you’ll likely see quite a few ideas of how to have great Christmas parties. The reality of it all is that if you’re going to have a Christmas party, you need to send out the invitations…today. Everyone’s schedules get so packed the closer you get to Christmas, so having your holiday parties during the first two weeks of December is the best way to get the most guests available to come.
Still, for those of us on a budget, we can’t host a full dinner for everyone we’d want to celebrate with. Plus, with all the other events and pressures that come with the holidays, do we really want to host a stressful party? Maybe it would just be a better idea to pass this year as the host and just be a guest at someone else’s party.
Not so! This year, you can have an easy, fun AND inexpensive Christmas party that isn’t going to take all month to plan. In fact, you could have the invitations sent out tonight. Here are a few tips:
INVITATIONS: Use evite.com to send out your invitations (see Janae’s recent post about the Great Christmas Exchange). They have a TON of beautiful electronic invitation templates to choose from that you can personalize for your specific party. You can add guests’ emails (as many as you want) and send them messages, reminders, and updates as often as you need to. Plus, they have a great new feature that allows you to list what guests can bring to the party. As they choose what they’d like to bring, the options disappear until everything has been chosen. It is a great way to stay organized. Plus, it’s FREE!
FOOD: Ask your guests to bring a dessert or appetizer to share. All you will be in charge of is the location, drinks, and paper goods. Since we don’t drink alcohol, our drinks are typically a delicious apple cider and a Christmas punch, plus water for those who don’t want the other. So our contribution usually costs about $10-$15. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have enough food brought by everyone else to keep everyone satisfied. We’ve done it with just desserts and then with both desserts and appetizers and everyone agreed: do both.
GUESTS: You can usually assume that 30% of your guests will not be able to come. So invite as many as you can accomodate plus some. We usually do it adults only and in couples, so we usually invite 30-45 couples.
GAMES: We have used a couple different Christmas Games with prizes. The first, we print pictures of scenes from various Christmas movies and hang them all over the walls and play “Who’s Who?”
How you play is everyone is given a sheet with blank spaces corresponding to each picture. The goal is for them to identify a) all actors shown in the picture, b) all character names shown in the picture, and c) the name of the movie. They get points for as many components as they get correct. For example, a picture from The Santa Clause would require me to identify Tim Allen, Scott Campbell/Santa Claus, and “The Santa Clause”. Get it? The prize could be a plate of cookies, or a Christmas gift, or a small gift card, or whatever you want.
The second game is the traditional “Guess How Many Candies are the in Jar” game. It is simple and easy to do and easy for people to guess while mingling. The prize is the jar of candies.
You could do just these things, or you could expand your party to include caroling (door to door or in your home) or even Janae’s Great Christmas Exchange. We’ve done both and it’s a success any way you do it. Just make sure you have food, candles burning, music playing, games to play, and people to enjoy the evening with. You can’t go wrong.
So what are you waiting for? Get your invitations emailed out and start counting down the days until your party.