Holiday Party Ideas: 9 Alternatives to the Traditional Cocktail Party

As the holidays come around, there is inevitably a rush of cocktail party invitations filling your inbox. If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd when entertaining this year, try out one of these holiday party ideas that go way beyond a cocktail party! After all, hosting the ultimate in holiday parties just might be on your to-do list this year.

Holiday Movie Night

 

Holiday Movie Night Holiday Party Ideas: 9 Alternatives to the Traditional Cocktail Party

 

Invite your friends and family over for a fun holiday movie night. Pick your favorite Christmas movies and break out the pillows and blankets for a cozy night in. Add to the ambiance by stringing holiday lights up around the room and turning off overhead lights. Serve up a hot chocolate bar and candied popcorn for a fun night you won’t soon forget. Go upscale with this idea and roll out the red carpet for an Oscar-themed night complete with everyone’s best dress. Either way, holiday party ideas like these are sure to wow your guests.

White Elephant Gift Exchange

 

White Elephant Gift Exchange Holiday Parties

 

Everyone loves a secret gift exchange and there are so many variations on this classic to choose from! Set a price limit and theme and let your guests do the rest. Some popular versions suggest gag gifts but you can also have themes such as books or homemade gifts. A wine gift exchange would be the ultimate in luxury giving! Holiday parties that involve a special gift are often the talk of the office.

Holiday Brunch

 

Holiday Brunch Holiday Party Ideas: 9 Alternatives to the Traditional Cocktail Party

 

While evening calendars can fill up quickly around the holidays, your guests are likely to be open for brunch plans. Serve mimosas or Bloody Marys and prepare make-ahead dishes like cinnamon rolls or breakfast casseroles so you have time to mingle with your guests. Brunch is the latest craze so be sure to capitalize on that when considering holiday party ideas.

Cookie Decorating Party

 

Cookie Decorating Party Holiday Party Ideas: 9 Alternatives to the Traditional Cocktail Party

 

Break out the royal icing and have friends over for a fun cookie decorating party. Make batches of sugar cookies ahead of time and provide guests with icing, sprinkles, and candies to add their own flair. Provide boxes for guests to take home their handiwork — if the cookies don’t get eaten first! Don’t love the idea of making the cookies? Pick up some plain ones from your favorite gourmet bakery and let the decorating commence! Holiday party ideas like this one are as delicious as they are fun!

Hot Chocolate Party

 

Hot Chocolate Party Holiday Party Ideas: 9 Alternatives to the Traditional Cocktail Party

 

Nothing says holiday like a hot chocolate bar. Set out mugs, spoons, and hot chocolate and let guests customize their drinks. Provide various toppings such as marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, chocolate, caramel syrup, and candy canes. For grownup holiday parties adding liqueurs such as Bailey’s Irish Cream and Kahlua takes it up a notch.

Gift Wrapping Party

 

Gift Wrapping Party Holiday Party Ideas: 9 Alternatives to the Traditional Cocktail Party

 

Banish the dread of gift-wrapping by making it a festive affair. Invite friends to bring those last gifts that need wrapping plus bows, ribbon, and tags. You provide wrapping paper aplenty and let guests get to work. Serve up a party punch and light appetizers for an easy way to get your gift wrapping done while spending time with loved ones.

Christmas Caroling

 

Christmas Caroling Holiday Party Ideas: 9 Alternatives to the Traditional Cocktail Party

 

Take a step back in time by inviting guests to join in on some good old-fashioned Christmas caroling. Print off lyrics to classic Christmas songs and hit the streets to visit neighbors. Afterward, soothe those tired vocal cords with mulled wine and desserts while rehashing your favorite parts of the evening. Imagine the joy that holiday party ideas like this one can bring!

Wreath Decorating

 

Wreath Decorating Holiday Party Ideas: 9 Alternatives to the Traditional Cocktail Party

 

Nothing makes a crowd get crafting like Christmas! Invite friends to bring a plain wreath for a wreath decorating party. Provide guests with a variety of ribbon, floral sprays, and other wreath accessories and let the creative juices flow. Serve finger foods and wine along with the crafting and don’t forget to take a group photo at the end of the night with everyone showing off their finished wreaths! Holiday parties can be simple and fun!

Gingerbread House Decorating Party

 

Gingerbread House Decorating Party Holiday Parties

 

We can’t have a list of holiday party ideas without including gingerbread house decorating! Buy gingerbread house kits and lay out the tables with icing and candies. Allow guests to get as creative as they want to decorate the gingerbread houses-anything goes! When everyone is finished, vote on your favorite then toast the night by breaking out the bubbly and eating your hard work!

Just because you’re thinking beyond a standard cocktail party doesn’t mean you can’t include cocktails in the mix. Check out these Signature Holiday Cocktail Recipes to include at your holiday parties. Now all that is left is to consider these holiday party ideas and pick some dates!

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Holiday Party Ideas: 9 Alternatives to the Traditional Cocktail Party
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