During this time of year, holiday parties are a dime a dozen. While they’re always a good time, slogging through the same old get-together, small talk, and gift exchange over and over gets old quickly. Needless to say, shaking things up is the perfect way to break up this monotony, and since we’re in the business of helping you live your best life and have a magical holiday season, we set out to find the best original holiday party ideas for adults. If you’re ready to switch up your usual gift exchange, these holiday party ideas will make for an extra special get-together—and might just turn into a new holiday tradition.
1. DIY Wreath Party
Does the holiday season bring out your crafty side? Throw on a festive playlist and get out the hot glue gun for a DIY wreath party. Have each guest bring their own wreath form and swing by your local craft store to pick up some affordable trinkets to adorn them with. Pinecones, ribbon, mini ornaments, and sprigs of faux greenery or berries are all great to have on hand. Make it extra festive by asking everyone to wear their favorite ugly sweater, and set out some wine or a festive batched cocktail to sip on while you work.
2. Hot Chocolate Bar
If your holiday vibe is more low-key, a cozy night in with a hot chocolate bar is the perfect way to celebrate this season. Mix up a big batch of hot cocoa and keep it warm on the stove or in your slow cooker, then set out a bunch of toppings and mix-ins so each person can customize their cup. Mini marshmallows, peppermint sticks, and whipped cream are obvious musts, and don’t forget to include some boozy options like amaretto, peppermint schnapps, or whiskey. As soon as everyone has a drink, break out the board games for some friendly competition, or settle in on the couch for a classic holiday movie.
3. Holiday Pajama Party
Nothing’s better than throwing on a pair of cozy PJs when it’s below-freezing outside. Instead of making your guests change out of their loungewear, invite them over for a holiday pajama party complete with popcorn, a candy bar, and a beverage station. In lieu of exchanging gifts, ask each guest to contribute a snack or drink item of choice. For the night’s entertainment, have everyone vote on a favorite holiday movie to watch, or haul out the karaoke machine for a Christmas music sing-along.
4. Holiday Cookie Swap
Almost every family has at least one special cookie recipe they break out every holiday season. This holiday party idea encourages you to share it with friends—and maybe find a new recipe to try next year! Find out if anyone has any allergies or dietary restrictions ahead of time, and send out a list of guidelines with your invites so no one feels left out. Have each guest show up with a batch of cookies, then spend the evening taste-testing and voting on accolades like “most unique” and “best decorated.” At the end of the night, everyone gets to fill up a to-go container with their favorites.
5. A Cocktail Affair
The holidays are prime time for glitz and glam, and what better way to celebrate than with a cocktail-themed party? This will give you and your guests an excuse to dress up for the evening without feeling the pressure of a formal affair. Send out your invites ahead of time with the dress code and set your home up accordingly with a glittering backdrop for photos, a spread of hors d’oeuvres, and all the fixings for some festive cocktails. For a fun finish, stock up on sparklers, and before the evening concludes, go outside with your guests to light them and end the evening in sparkling style.
6. “The Spirit of Giving” Party
This time of year reminds us how fortunate we truly are, and it’s always nice to pay it forward. Instead of swapping gifts with each other, look into holiday party ideas that give back to your community. For example, you could contact a local family shelter and volunteer to wrap gifts that have been donated for children in need, or spend the evening writing holiday cards for nursing home residents or military service members overseas. You could even host your own silent auction by asking each guest to bring a gift basket, then donate the proceeds to a charitable organization, like Toys for Tots or a homeless shelter. Helping those in need is one of the best ways to spread some joy this season and make your own holiday party even more special.