20 Christmas Party Theme Ideas to Make Your Holiday Merry and Bright

Christmas appetizers

Whether you’re planning a family gathering or an office Christmas party, there’s a lot of pressure around the holidays to throw an unforgettable celebration.

If you want to impress your guests, choosing a theme can work wonders for your party. Not only will a theme make planning easier, but it can also add more personality to the festivities.

Do you need help planning your holiday party? Keep reading for 20 Christmas party theme ideas that can take your party to the next level.

1. Deck the Halls with Arts and Crafts

With so many fun Christmas arts and crafts ideas for adults out there, it’s easy to plan an entire party around making beautiful holiday decorations. Another reason why this party theme is great is that your guests can take all of their creations with them to display in their home or give away as homemade gifts.

Since working with your hands for a long time can be tiring, don’t forget to set up other activities that will allow your guests to relax in between crafts. Taking a break to watch a movie or listen to some Christmas music while you chat can help you bond more with your loved ones.

2. Pajama Party

What was the best part about Christmas when you were a kid? For many people, it was waking up early to spend the whole day in their pajamas opening and playing with their new toys. If you want to celebrate the nostalgia of childhood, a pajama party theme can get every guest excited no matter how old they may be.

Not only will your guests feel cozy, but this theme can also lead to some silly photo ops. Lighting a fire and setting up a hot chocolate bar is a great way to make your guests feel warm and fuzzy from the inside out.

3. The Great Christmas Bake Off

Are you and your loved ones fans of cooking shows like The Great British Bake Off? If so, you can create some friendly competition by hosting your own baking challenge at home. One cute idea to help you get started is to give everyone special Christmas aprons that can also double as party favors.

Gingerbread cookies recipe

Depending on how large your party will be, you may not have the right resources to let everyone cook at the same time. If this is the case, you could always split people into different teams or hold multiple rounds to give everyone a chance to participate. You could also skip baking altogether and turn your party into a cookie decorating competition instead.

4. Ugly Christmas Sweater

Although this may not be the most original Christmas party theme, it’s a classic for good reasons. Ugly Christmas sweater parties are laid-back, lighthearted, and versatile. Since the only rule is that guests have to arrive wearing an ugly holiday sweater, you have room to get creative with the rest of your party planning.

If you turn this party into a competition, you’ll motivate your guests to find the most ridiculous sweaters on the market. Offering a grand prize to the person who gets the most votes will get everyone into the spirit. This theme is perfect for hosts who want to blend guests from different groups because the sweaters can serve as ice breakers.

5. Christmas Around the World

If you want your party to stand out from all of the other holiday bashes this season, choosing an alternative Christmas theme can do the trick. Christmas around the world is the perfect theme because it expands the standard idea of Christmas to include unique traditions your guests may have never known about.

Christmas around the world party can be as simple or extravagant as you’d like. You could focus on one element, such as food, activities, gifts, or outfits, or you could try to plan a party that incorporates all of these different elements. If the whole world is too big for you, feel free to choose one exciting country and learn everything you can about their holiday traditions.

6. Game Night

No party is complete without entertaining games. If you want to make the planning process easy, you can host an entire party that revolves around playing games all night. Options could include board games, card games, trivia games, drinking games, video games, and any other type of game you think your guests would enjoy.

If you need some inspiration, you can check out these 50 Christmas party games that will get everyone in a jolly mood. The best part is that these games are easy to play and they don’t require many materials.

7. Movie Marathon

Do you love watching Christmas movies during the holiday season? If you want to get all of your loved ones into the Christmas spirit, then you could plan an epic movie marathon complete with snacks, drinks, and blankets.

If you want to get your friends involved in the planning process, you could send out an online poll that can help you narrow down which movies everyone wants to see the most. You could even choose a specific genre of Christmas movies, such as rom-com or animated.

8. Potluck

Buying and preparing enough food for all of your guests can get expensive and time-consuming. If you’re hosting a large holiday gathering, choosing a potluck theme can help everyone enjoy a gourmet feast. Since everyone can focus on perfecting one dish instead of having the host scramble to make everything, all of the food is bound to turn out delicious.

Christmas cooking

If you and your friends have a sweet tooth, you could also host a cookie swap party instead. Take some time to consider which type of food your guests would enjoy most, then plan your entire party around it. After you figure out your food theme, be sure to create a sign-up sheet to ensure there’s enough variety for everyone to enjoy.

9. Santa Sports

Are you and your friends an athletic or goofy bunch? If so, you can throw the silliest Christmas party by choosing a Santa sports theme.

To pull this party off, every guest will need to dress up in a Santa costume. Your job as the host will be to plan different physical activities everyone can do while dressed up as Santa. Since Santa costumes are large and heavy, everyone will have a harder time moving around, which can lead to some hilarious competitions. Don’t forget to take tons of photos and videos throughout the entire party.

To reward yourselves after a long day of running around, you can celebrate with plenty of Christmas cookies and milk while you relax around a fire.

10. Gift Rush

Shopping for gifts can be stressful for many reasons. Some people don’t want to spend too much, some struggle to brainstorm gifts that the recipient can actually use, and others want the gift to feel personalized. Instead of worrying about finding the perfect gifts this year, you can turn shopping into a party experience.

As the host, you can invite all of your guests to the mall or a specific store and draw names out of a hat to figure out who’s shopping for who. If you set a time limit and a budget, everyone can race around to find a gift that stays within the price range. Not only is this challenge exciting, but the whacky rules take away all of the high expectations of exchanging gifts.

Once everyone buys their gifts, you can head back to your place, put on some Christmas tunes, break out the holiday cookies, and open your gifts. Everyone will be surprised by the range of gag gifts and sentimental gifts everyone managed to find in such a short amount of time. This party is the best way to remind everyone that Christmas is all about sharing time with your loved ones instead of focusing on what you receive.

11. Christmas Bonfire

Thanks to the song “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire),” all people want to do during the winter is get cozy around the fireplace. If you want to plan an intimate, low-key Christmas party, why not invite some friends over to roast some treats and sip on some hot chocolate around a bonfire? As long as everyone dresses in warm clothes and you can build a big fire, you should be able to sit outside comfortably for a couple of hours.

If you don’t have the right permits or outdoor space to accommodate a bonfire party, you can still host a comfy gathering by the fireplace. Make sure you stock up on plenty of chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers so your guests can make their own smores.

12. Wellness Wonderland

The holidays are meant to be a joyous time, but most people are relieved once the season is over because that means they can finally relax. With so much shopping and socializing to do in such a short amount of time, it’s no wonder why Christmas can cause people to burn out. If you want to host a unique Christmas party that can be an oasis among all of the other social obligations on peoples’ calendars, you should plan a wellness wonderland.

Ask your guests to arrive in loungewear so you can treat them to a day of pampering. All of you can enjoy each others’ company while you do spa treatments, such as face masks, manicures, foot baths, and aromatherapy. If you really want to spoil everyone, you could even hire some professionals to come to your house to give your friends massages and other high-quality treatments.

13. Wine or Craft Beer and Fun Food Pairings

Do you want to host an elegant Christmas party that’s a lot easier to plan than it looks? If so, you can wow all of your guests by creating your own food and wine or craft beer pairings. As you sip and sample, you can take everyone’s taste buds on an exciting culinary tour of unlikely but stunning combinations.

If you’ve never experimented with these flavors before, you can check out this food and wine pairing guide so you can ensure you have a cohesive, gourmet menu. To make everything easier on yourself and your guests, you could also suggest ditching gifts and have everyone bring one type of wine to the party instead.

14. Snow Sports and Games

Are you still a kid at heart? If you want to celebrate the little joys in life, you should throw on some of your warmest snow gear and head out for an afternoon of playing with your friends.

Taking a trip to a mountain will allow you to participate in more intense snow sports like skiing and snowboarding. However, you can still do a lot of activities in your own backyard or a local park. You could start a snowball fight, build a snowman or fort, or go sledding if there are any hills nearby. 

To make the most out of your party photos, you should consider giving your guests matching clothes like hats or socks. After you’ve enjoyed some antics in the snow, everyone can head inside and get cozy by the fireplace with some warm drinks and snacks.

15. Paint the Town Red

House parties can be amazing, but they put a lot of stress on the host. If you love planning parties but hate the prep and cleanup work, you can still spread some holiday cheer by organizing a party that takes your guests all across town. You can take the expression painting the town red figuratively, or you could tell everyone to dress up in red like Santa.

Some stops on your itinerary could include bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes, parks, and any other entertaining local attraction. Aside from eating, drinking, and dancing, you could also plan some more unique activities like ax throwing or trying an escape room. Be sure to take pictures at each stop so you can create a photo journal of the entire party.

16. Gag Gift Swap

Have you ever received a thoughtful gift but knew immediately after opening it that you’d never be able to use it? As it turns out, there are so many people who exchange or return Christmas gifts that there’s an official event called National Returns Day. According to various postal services, this day, which takes place during the first week of January, is the busiest time of the year for return shipments.

Christmas gift swap

Instead of investing a lot of time and money buying gifts for your loved ones and hoping they’ll like them, you can all relax and laugh together as you exchange silly gifts. Since everyone knows the gifts aren’t serious, no one will have to worry about disappointing their friends. Another activity you can do at your gag gift swap party is go around the room and share some of the worst gifts people have ever gotten for you unironically.

17. Merry Beachmas

Some people live in areas where it feels like winter lasts the entire year. If that’s the case for you, then you could be sick of the snow before Christmas even rolls around. Instead of highlighting the fact that everyone is freezing by throwing an ugly Christmas sweater party or serving hot chocolate, why not transport your guests to a tropical paradise with a Beachmas party?

Instead of loading up on heavy comfort foods, you can keep the menu light and refreshing. Fruit platters, salads, and some lighter main dishes like teriyaki chicken, ahi tuna, or veggie burgers can remind everyone of summertime. Since you’re still celebrating Christmas, you can find clever ways to combine summer and winter, like by listening to Christmas with the Beach Boys instead of other classic Christmas tunes.

18. Tea Party

Since the holidays are a cozy time, what could be more intimate than throwing a tea party to celebrate Christmas? One benefit of hosting an afternoon tea party is that you can save time and money on preparing food for your guests. Instead of spending hours or even days in the kitchen cooking a big traditional Christmas feast, you can keep things light and simple with some finger foods and sweets.

Mini quiche tarts, finger sandwiches, savory pastries, scones, cupcakes, and cookies are all great choices for an elegant tea party menu. The best part is that you could even buy most of these items at your local bakery or grocery store. For drinks, you can stay classic by offering a few types of tea, coffee, and water, or you can also stock up on some warm winter beverages like cider and hot chocolate.

19. Christmas in Vegas

Lots of Christmas party themes focus on the nice side of the spectrum. Adding a dose of naughty to your party can make the festivities more exciting. One simple way you can shake things up is to transform your home into a Vegas scene for an evening of dancing, playing casino games, and drinking cocktails.

Since money can be tight around the holidays, you don’t have to use real cash while you place your bets. Instead, you can use other types of festive currency, such as cookies, peppermints, or gumdrops. To get everyone excited to play, you can offer a few fun prizes for people to win.

20. Brunchmas

The holiday season is all about gathering to share comfort foods at the dinner table, but how many people are lucky enough to also enjoy other meals with their loved ones? If you want to spread the holiday cheer to all hours of the day, you can cover your bases by throwing a brunch party.

Although a standard brunch menu is sure to please any crowd, you can get adventurous by infusing holiday flavors into classic breakfast and lunch dishes. Instead of cinnamon rolls, you could bake gingerbread rolls. Instead of buttermilk pancakes, you can whip up some eggnog pancakes.

Christmas waffles

These Christmas Party Theme Ideas Are Sure to Impress

No matter which one of these Christmas party theme ideas you choose, your guests will appreciate all of the time and love you put into planning this gathering.

Are you ready to get your loved ones excited for your party? If so, Greetings Island has an impressive collection of Christmas party invitations to choose from. Check out our free invitation templates to start customizing yours.