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December 2010
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New ideas for holiday parties.

This is the time of year when festive music fills the air and holiday parties fill our calendars. While it may be simple to put out a platter of nuts and crudités and invite your friends over, it is just as easy to try a new creative holiday theme party that will have your friends talking for weeks.


Hosting a card-decorating party will not only keep your guests entertained, but also help them with their holiday to-do lists. To keep things simple, ask each of your guests to bring the card stock, construction paper or blank stationary that they would like to use for the base of their cards and tell them that you will provide the decorations and tools. Make sure to have tape, glue, ribbon, stickers, markers, glitter, decorative hole-punches (snowflake shaped for example) and scalloped-edged scissors on hand. Play holiday music or your favorite festive movie in the background, and let your friends decorate at his or her own pace.


Throwing a party to decorate a gingerbread house will bring joy to guests of all ages. You will need to construct the house ahead of time, so that it will be ready for decorating on the day of the party. Baking the structure for the walls and roof is difficult for novices, but undecorated gingerbread house kits are available at most grocery stores or online at this time of year. You’ll also need icing (for decorating and for use as construction glue) and plenty of candy decorations (gumdrops, M&Ms, candy canes, round peppermint candies, etc.). Expert party planner Jeanne Benedict, who brings her ideas to DIY TV and celebrations.com, suggests giving out gingerbread men as invitations to this festive party.


We all have our favorite holiday traditions and foods that we look forward to each year, but we may not be familiar with the abundance of different traditions from around the world. This year, broaden your horizons and get your guests in on the discovery process by hosting a “holidays around the world” party. Planning ahead is key to the success of this event. Let your guests choose a culture or a country that they would like to research for this celebration ahead of time. On the day of the party, they will bring one or two dishes and a short fact sheet about the unique traditions of the culture they chose to share with the other guests. The beauty of this party is that it is inclusive to all cultures and religions. Everyone can share something from their own culture, or research one they find interesting.


Who doesn’t love having a variety of holiday cookies on hand to serve to surprise guests or to give as gifts? Unfortunately, most of us barely have enough time to make one type of cookie, let alone several. Cookie swap parties are a lot of fun and easily solve this dilemma. Instruct each invitee to make enough of one type of cookie to give four away to each of the other guests. Prepare for the event by heading to your local cooking supply or craft store to buy colorful food bags or boxes and ribbons, so that your guests can take their cookies home in style.  When guests arrive, lay out all the cookies and let each person take four of each type. The week before the party, ask everyone who is attending to e-mail you the recipe they want to bake. You can print out the recipes and bind them together with string or ribbon to make a special cookbook for a party favor. 


Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of throwing a holiday party this year. Use one of these party ideas to entertain your friends with ease. They will appreciate the time spent together and the fun ideas for new crafts and foods.


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