7 Holiday Party Ideas

by Shea Homes Arizona on December 14, 2011

One of the best parts of this time of the year is spending time with those you love. We got together and came up with a few of our favorite ways to spice up an annual holiday party. We hope these get the juices flowing if you’re planning a get together this season. (Or maybe inspire you to start new tradition!) 

1)      Support a local charity: St. Mary’s Food Bank, Toys for Tots
If you have a favorite charity you want to support this year, try hosting a Spirit of the Season party. Get your guests into the spirit of giving by asking each one to bring a donation to your charity of choice. Here are few great ones to choose from: Toys for Tots, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Operation Ensuring Christmas, and St. Vincent de Paul’s “Adopt a Family” Program

2)      Gingerbread house decorating contest
This is a great one for kids and adults alike. Break the party up into groups by family, favorite color, age groups, or however you like, and give them all of the materials they need to create their very best gingerbread house. Then judge each house and give prizes in a few different creative categories. We like: Best Kids’ House and Best Grown-ups’ House, Unique Use of Gum-Drops, and Best Landscaping. 

3)      White Elephant Gift Exchange
White Elephant, Dirty Santa, Yankee Swap, Parcel Pass… whatever you call this game, it’s a classic. Have each guest bring a wrapped gift (set a limit of $10 or $20) and place each gift under the tree. After drawing numbers, have the first person select a gift and unwrap it. For the second person’s turn he or she can choose a gift from under the tree or “steal” the first person’s gift. If a gift is stolen, the person stolen from can choose another gift from under the tree or to steal an unwrapped gift from someone else. Traditionally, a gift can only be stolen two times and is locked down after that. 

4)      Tacky Sweater Contest
This makes for a great party theme too! Invite guests to wear their best (a.k.a. worst) holiday sweater and accessories they can find. Give out prizes for the most outrageous and creative holiday garb. Bonus points if any of it came from their own closet! (Special tip: If you plan to borrow a sweater for this occasion, be sure not to mention it’s for a “tacky sweater contest.”) 

5)      Secret Santa
Great for an office or a group of friends, Secret Santa is a fun way to draw names for gift giving. Draw names one week before the party and tell everyone to keep who they drew a secret. There are two ways to play: The group can agree to give a small gift once a day and a medium gift at the party, or each person can bring a single but more substantial gift to the party. Either way, set a price limit to maintain fairness. At the party place all of the gifts under the tree without revealing who they are from. As each person unwraps their gift, have them guess who their Secret Santa was. 

6)      The Clumsy Un-wrapper
This game is a fun one for a smaller group. Before the party, wrap a prize in a small box, then in a slightly larger box, and so on until you have a good sized box with several boxes inside. You’ll also need some oven mitts, a scarf, big snow jacket and a set of two dice. During the party, choose who will start the game and ask them to put on the oven mitts, scarf and jacket. Bring out the large box and tell them to start unwrapping it. While this is going on, have the other guests take turns rolling the dice. Whenever someone rolls doubles, they sub in, put on the outfit and start unwrapping. In the end, whoever unwraps the last box gets to keep the prize! 

7)      Cookie Exchange
A cookie exchange is a fun way to host an open house style party with a twist! Ask guests to bring two dozen of their favorite holiday cookies whenever they stop by. Before each guest leaves, give them a decorated paper bag to select two dozen cookies from the table. As the night goes on, there will be more and more kinds of cookies to choose from. 

Do you have any fun traditions or quirky competitions you like to put on at your holiday party? Leave a comment to share with everyone!

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