Nov 02, 2021

Adding Fun to Holiday Gatherings

By Joyce Venezia Suss

Holiday gatherings often include family, friends and food, but adding a fun theme can make it extra memorable for everyone. Some of these creative ideas can also be hosted virtually. 

Wrap and “Wrum” – Invite friends over before the holidays to wrap their gifts, and serve a rum punch or other rum-based cocktail with snacks. Supply scissors, tape and gift wrap, or ask everyone to bring their own and encourage sharing! An alternative: Write and “Wrum” to address holiday cards together.

Storybook Social – Families with young children can gather for a memorable storybook social, with hot cocoa and cookies. Parents take turns reading “The Night Before Christmas” and/or other holiday classics. Encourage youngsters to act out fun parts like prancing reindeer or swirling snowflakes.

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire – Gather round your outdoor fire pit to roast chestnuts, toast marshmallows and drink hot cocoa. Hand out blankets for extra warmth.

The 12 Tastes of Christmas – Host a dress-up cocktail hour or dinner party with 12 different small plate specialties, and/or Make Spirits Bright with creative drinks.

Christmas Carol-oke – Organize a karaoke social where guests take turns singing holiday carols. This event works well for all ages. Be sure to decorate the microphone with ribbon or garland! This event can also be shared with neighbors if you feel like caroling through the neighborhood. 

Crafty Christmas – Set up supplies for an easy craft project that everyone can make together. Decorate an ornament, assemble a gingerbread house. Many easy and inexpensive craft ideas can be found online!

Scrooge Social – No decorations, no holiday food or Christmas cookies, and no discussion about holiday madness! Watch TV – sports or murder mysteries. Play board games. Eat pizza and ice cream. And everyone can shout “Bah humbug” to the first person who mentions anything related to the holidays! 

Ho-Ho-Hoedown – Bring a little country to Christmas. Encourage guests to wear jeans and flannel shirts, hand out red bandanas, and serve mugs of spiked coffee. Repurpose those Halloween hay bales to use as decorations. Try some line dancing, and check out ”Ho Ho Hoedown” on SpongeBob’s Christmas album.

White Christmas – Host a white-out themed event, with white decorations such as paper snowflakes, white garland, white dinnerware and more. Ask guests to wear white. Serve white foods such as clam chowder, white pizza, white frosted cake, popcorn balls or fruits dipped in white chocolate.

Easy (and no-cost) Secret Santa – Host a holiday mixer and ask guests to bring something they don’t want anymore, whether it’s regifting something they didn’t like, or a gently used gadget no longer needed. Every item must be wrapped, and numbers are drawn to determine the order of selection. Trading afterward is allowed!

Cookie Exchange – This classic holiday get-together can be for a small or large group. Each guest bakes their favorite cookie (typically bringing six cookies for each guest), and shares them during a social gathering, so each participant goes home with a wonderful assortment.

Dog Park Pals – If you are part of a regular dog park crowd, organize a holiday social with some treats for both humans and canines. Encourage both two- and four-legged guests to wear something festive, and perhaps collect donations for a local animal shelter.