29 Holiday Party Theme Ideas


It’s past November 1, so it’s *officially* holiday season, people. Thanksgiving? We don’t know her. ’Tis the season for Elf, eggnog, and, of course, getting lit up like a Christmas tree (see what we did there?).

Wanna celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with a massive bash? I feel you, 2020 has been le worst and I could use a few cups of cheer, if ya know what I mean. Buuut unfortunately, we’re still in Pandemic Times. So any huge ragers are going to have to wait. Sorry! I don’t make the rules.

That said, you can still throw a killer party this year. It’s just gonna require a ‘lil creativity and CDC guideline research. Right now, the experts recommend outdoor gatherings, small guests lists and, of course, practicing social distancing (ya know, staying 6 feet apart and keeping masks on). Make sure to check your state’s health department website too for info on how many people you can invite safely.

When in doubt, take your party to old faithful: Zoom. Most of the ideas below can absolutely happen over the interweb and be just as fun. If you’re going virtual, you can invite up to 100 people to your ~event~ without any concerns about catching COVID-19. Yay! Pro tip: buy a month of Zoom Pro for $15 so you don’t have to deal with your free account’s annoying 40 minute meeting time limit.

Now that we’ve talked logistics, let’s get to the fun stuff. Here are 29 holiday party theme ideas to help you throw the non-boring holiday celebration of your dreams, 2020 style.

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1. Secret Santa, but make it wine.

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That’s right. Same rules as regular Secret Santa—but make it boozy. Draw names out of a hat before the party (or via Elfster) and have everyone bring their person a bottle of vino when you celebrate. Getting together virtually? Drizly was practically made for this: just put in your recipients address and have the Pinot Grigio delivered straight to their door before your Zoom call. Très easy.

Shop Now Good Clean Spumante Rosé, Good Clean Wine, $20

2. Go full Grinch with your theme.

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Lean into the whole Grinch thing by encouraging your attendees to wear all green (yup, that includes green face masks) and serving green food and drinks. Keep How the Grinch Stole Christmas on the TV on mute in the background. Sure, everyone will look silly, but…so cute, right?

3. Have an après-ski party.

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Yup, here’s a get together that you can most definitely have outside. Who doesn’t want to pretend like they’re at a fancy ski resort in Aspen? Tell your guests to show up in their flashiest ski and snowboarding gear—bonus points if it’s retro—and convene in the backyard. Serve spiked hot chocolate, warm spiked cider, you get the idea.

4. Host a white elephant gift exchange.

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Basic? Yes. Super fun? Also yes. Ask everyone to bring a $5 to $10 gift (wrapped, plz) and give each guest a number. Call out the numbers in order, and when it’s your turn, you can choose to open a new gift or steal the good shit from someone who’s already opened theirs. Perf for if your crew is ballin’ on a budget. Need gifting inspo? Check out these amazing (but inexpensive) gift ideas.

5. …But make it dirty.

Finger, Hand,

Lelo

Tell everyone to bring ~adult~ gifts like flavored condoms, inappropriate mugs, or even some sex toys. Save this idea for your closest BFFs, though, as not to make others feel uncomfy (and def ask your pals if they’re cool with this before forcing everyone to participate!).

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6. Host a movie marathon using Teleparty.

Green, Fictional character,

Universal Pictures

Don’t let December 26 roll around without seeing all the classic holiday movies. Download the Teleparty Chrome extension so you can share a screen and watch Netflix, Hulu or Disney Plus with up to 50 friends. It even lets you chat while you watch so you don’t have to take your commentary to the group text. Play The Year Without a Santa Claus, then The Santa Claus, then Home Alone, then…you get the idea. Keep ’em coming until everyone’s eyeballs hurt.

7. BYOC (cookies, duh).

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It’s like a cookie potluck, says chef Stephanie Nass, who runs the blog and catering company Chefanie. Tell your frands to bring a batch of cookies (as Ina says, “store-bought is fine”) and then swap so you can try ’em all. This way, everyone goes home with a shitload of treats and a major sugar high.

9. Go nuts with gingerbread houses.

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You already know you’re the Martha Stewart of your friend group. Accept it and host a gingerbread house decorating party. Split people into teams of two or three and give ’em 30 minutes to create their masterpiece using a premade kit. Then let the judges (aka lame ppl who didn’t want to decorate) deliberate on whose is the best. Same deal if you’re having this party over Zoom, just have each person construct their own gingerbread house and show it off to the camera.

Shop Now Mini Gingerbread House Decorating Kit, $33, amazon.com

10. Be bougie and throw a caviar party.

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Okay, this is def not your average throw-down, but Nass makes it sound fun AF—especially for an NYE celebration. Grab a bunch of potato chips and blinis (they’re basically small pancakes) and ask your friends to bring one small tin of caviar each (you should provide some too, of course). Then set them all out together and sip on some champs while you feel so freakin’ fancy.

Shop Now 30-Pack of Blinis, $6, markys.com

Shop Now American Hackleback Sturgeon Caviar, $60, amazon.com

11. Make decorating your tree a full-blown occasion.

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With hibernation szn in full swing, you’re probs feeling lazy. A tree-decorating party can help with that, says Nass. So grab a tree, crank up the Christmas Hits playlist on Spotify and summon your roommates to the living room to decorate. Chef up some cookies and boozy hot chocolate to have while you work. Grab one of these DIY kits to make ornaments if your collection is looking a little sad.

Shop Now Christmas Tree Ornament Decorating Kit, $17, amazon.com

12. Have a Bublé and bubbly bash.

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Okay, hear me out: Michael Bublé’s Christmas album low-key slaps, and you already listen to it on repeat 24/7. So why not invite a few friends over, drink some bubbles, and call it a party? Hang up a few pics of Mike’s beautiful face on the wall and you’re good to go.

13. Fire up the fire pit.

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Good news: hosting an outdoor event in December doesn’t have to involve freezing your ass off. Just stock up wood and get a fire going to keep yourself (and your guests) nice n’ toasty. Oh, and the whole ‘beer blanket’ phenomenon is definitely a thing, so make sure your guests have enough booze to distract them from the cold.

Shop Now Yaheetech Fire Pit, $99, amazon.com

14. It’s cozy szn—so wear your Christmas pj’s.

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Ok, so wearing your pj’s all day isn’t exactly a rare occurrence at this point. But at least in this case you can use the excuse that you’re just being ~festive~. Tell guests to show up in their Christmas morning ’fits (on-theme onesies and pajamas are most welcome) and serve hot chocolate, warm cookies, and alllll the comfort foods. Cozy vibes? 11/10.

Shop Now Sleepytimes Women’s Fleece Onesie Pajama Set, $35, amazon.com

15. Host a virtual wrap and rap.

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Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Pick a time the week before Christmas and send everyone a Zoom link you can all wrap your prezzies together. Throw on some rap music to really get into the spirit.

Shop Now Hallmark Wrapping Paper Set of 3, $14, amazon.com

16. Have a carol-oke party.

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Everyone has a great voice after a few glasses of eggnog, so throw some YT vids up on the TV, grab a cheapo karaoke mic, and play the Christmas carol hits. Your IG Stories will be hilar (sound on, duh).

Shop Now Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone, $34, amazon.com

17. Recreate a Kardashian family Christmas card.

People, Social group, Fun, Jeans, Family taking photos together, Friendship, Youth, Denim, Family pictures, Gesture,

Instagram​/Eli Russell Linnetz

Celebrate the holidays like America’s royal family. Have everyone show up in their most Kardashian-esque gown (and flashy mask, of course) and werk for the camera. We know Mama Kris would approve.

18. Hold your own remote SantaCon.

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Set a firm dress code for this virtual event: Santa outfits only. Okay, fine, elves can come too.

Shop Now Santa Costume, $41, amazon.com

19. Make a big batch of holiday punch.

food, cinnamon, star anise, rosemary, garnish, mulled wine, drink, ingredient, anise, herb,

Courtesy

Fulfill your mixologist dreams by mixing up a signature cocktail to be served at your soirée. Any of these holiday recipes are sure to be a hit (even if the guest list only includes you and your bf this year).

20. Go full ugly sweater.

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Just dying to show off your latest ugly sweater find from Amazon? Same. Throw an ugly-sweater-themed bash and have everyone vote on the worst one. Winner gets bragging rights till next year. Yup, you can 100 percent host this one over Zoom too. Just make sure everyone has good lighting so you can see the hideous sweaters in all their glory.

Shop Now Women’s Christmas Sweater, $23, amazon.com

21. Plan a tailgate.

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You can totally have a tailgate party even if there’s not a football game on, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Have your BFFs stock their cars with holiday treats and cozy blankets and meet you to park in a field or parking lot. Make sure everyone parks so their trunks are facing one another. Then pop open your trunks, sit in the back of your cars and there you have it: a social-distanced tailgate.

22. Make all the latkes.

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Shred the taters and onions, and get to frying to celebrate Hanukkah with your crew. Light the candles, play dreidel, and eat your bodyweight in gelt to really get in the mood.

Shop Now Potato Pancake Mix, $18, amazon.com

23. Decorate all the cookies.

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Bake a bunch of gingerbread men–, tree-, and star-shaped cookies (how domestic), then invite your squad over to help you decorate ’em. Be sure to eat some (or all) as you go, because that’s kinda the whole point.

Shop Now Cookie Decorating Kit, $26, amazon.com

24. Party like its The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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Prefer a spooky Halloween vibe to a merry and bright Christmas one? Fair enough. Go with an orange and black color scheme and resurrect your decorations from October 31st. Both Halloween costume and over-the-top holiday outfits are welcome. And The Nightmare Before Christmas playing on loop in the living room is a must.

25. Make candy dreidels.

candy dreidels

Martha Stewart

Grab some marshmallows, pretzel sticks, and Hershey’s Kisses to DIY candy dreidels. Dip ’em in chocolate to perfect the lewk.

Full instructions from Tori Avey

26. Regift your ish.

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There’s always that one present you hate. Now, you won’t hide it in the back of your closet. Invite your friends over on December 26 to ditch the gifts they don’t want. Everybody swaps and (hopefully) goes home with something they can actually stand.

27. Throw a cocoa and candy canes party.

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Set up a hot-chocolate bar with lots of fixins (marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate shavings, etc.) and a whole bunch of candy canes that guests can use as stirrers. Cayuuute.

Shop Now Hot Chocolate Bar Kit, $10, amazon.com

28. Make a pig-in-a-blanket wreath.

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Serve your friends a gorgeous showstopper by baking the pigs in a blanket in a circle so the puff pastry touches while your wreath cooks. Transfer the whole thing to a plate and arrange some rosemary in the center for the ultimate Pinterest effect.

29. Set a fancy dress code.

Clothing, Dress, Formal wear, Fashion, Fashion model, Cocktail dress, Shoulder, Fashion design, Event, Fun,

courtesy / Khadija Horton

Low-key, every party is more fun if y’all are dressed up. So tell your friends you’re going formal this year and ask everyone to show up in cocktail attire. Your pics (or Zoom screenshots) will be great and everyone will feel so freakin’ festive. (Get some outfit inspo here.)

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