Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fun Christmas Parties

How I started with this -
and ended with this!

I have been to several fun Christmas parties in the past few years. In the last few weeks I have heard of and been to even more. So here is my list of my top 10 festive holiday celebrations.

1. Cookie Decorating
You can decorate gingerbread men or sugar cookies. If everyone brings a few decorating supplies you can decorate beautiful (or hilarious) creations for a low cost. It's also fun to see (or steal) other people's ideas, and sit around and talk while decorating. You could also make gingerbread houses. You can split into teams and have house building competitions. I recently saw pictures of a spectacular gingerbread space camp.

2. Cookie Exchange
This is a fun way to get a cookie spread (as seen above) Everyone bakes at least one type of cookie. The idea is to bring 6 or more cookies for each person. If there are 7 people you need at least 36 cookies to give (more if you want to keep some for yourself). At the party everyone snacks on appetizers and exchanges their cookies and recipes. You can have people bring theirs in bags, or divvy them out at the party (but let people know what to expect). Cookie Exchanges are also great opportunities to let the kids have a play date, or play silly games for yourself.

3. Gift Wrapping Party
Do you need an opportunity to wrap presents where your spouse and your kids are not looking over your shoulder? Why not have a gift wrapping party with friends. This also makes it easy to add variety to your wrapping style, and you can help your friends get their wrapping done too (or if they finish first maybe they'll help you.) All you need to host this bash are scissors, tape, wrapping paper, a big open space, and of course some fun Christmas music or a classic Christmas movie. You can even extend the festivities by making it a fun day of shopping with friends.

4. White Elephant Gift Exchange
Everyone brings a silly wrapped gift (you can either re-gift, or set a $5-10 dollar limit on purchases, you can also do a theme). All the guests are given numbers. The first person chooses a gift to open. The next person can either steal or open a new gift. It continues until all gifts have been opened. We usually set rules like a gift can only be stolen 3 times, and only once per turn, or after 3 steals in one turn a new gift has to be opened.

5. Christmas CD exchange
I did this once in my college bible study, everyone brought a mix CD of some of their favorite songs. I ended up with one of my favorite mixes that I still enjoy listening to today. The same idea can be applied to Christmas music. Everyone make a mix CD of their favorite Christmas songs, the CDs are then redistributed over hot chocolate.

6. Holiday Festivus
Take a hint from Seinfeld and celebrate a "festivus for the rest of us." complete with festivus pole and the airing of grievances. (The Festivus party I attended had a gift exchange and we decorated white trash gingerbread houses)

7. Themed Parties
Christmas is an excellent time to go in costume. You can dress up for a cocktail party, go bowling in tacky Christmas gear, watch movies or sit by the fire in your favorite pajamas, or pull out your boots and cowboy hats for a ho,ho,ho ho-down.

8. Make Christmas Cards and Christmas Ornaments
Get together with friends and share craft supplies to make your own Christmas cards. You can also decorate some ornaments as a money saving gift, or just to top off your wrapped packages. There are tons of other DIY gifts you can make with friends. Who says you're husband can't use another bookmark.

9. Make Shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child
OK so you have to plan early for this one, but it's a great way to give back over the holidays. Get together with your church small group, or just a small group of friends and give to someone who won't be getting much this holiday season. I love putting together boxes for Samaritan's Purse. You can go shopping as a group, or have everyone bring different types of items. (This also works really well for a school or classroom activity).
Other ides for parties that keep on giving are to have everyone bring a gift for toys for tots, sponsor a child through angel tree or a local children's home, or collect dry goods to donate to a shelter.

10. Knitting party
If you enjoy knitting or crocheting you can get together and do it with friends. Sit and chat while making hats and scarves. They make excellent Christmas presents, or you can make them for the homeless or for babies in the NICU. A group at my church does Knots for LOT (Least of These- a ministry to the homeless that makes breakfast and passes out food) all winter long. I have another friend who often hosts a gathering of friends called stitch and bitch. So this can be a one time thing or an ongoing way to get together with friends and create toasty clothes while you talk.

My Cookie decorating loot!

I would love to hear your ideas for other fun Christmas parties. or how you've jazzed up some of these ideas for yourselves.

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