Holiday parties can be a bit predictable; they tend to highlight the same mainstream traditions like drinking eggnog, counting down to midnight, or decorating your home with the standby seasonal embellishments. So why not break the cycle this year and invite guests to a party with a twist? Just select a cohesive theme, and you should have no problem pulling all the elements together for a celebratory yet alternative holiday fete. Because it’s a busy time of year, send an early e-mail so your guests can save the date, and follow it up with an official invite that sets the tone for your special occasion. Here are some bright ideas to consider when planning your next party.
WINE AND DINE
One theme that’s sure to be a hit if your circle of friends enjoys fine wine is a themed wine tasting. Guests could dress to impress in white or red (the shade of his or her favorite varietal), and bring a bottle to share. Have guests write their names on the corks and display them in a vase for a centerpiece that becomes a tribute to the evening. Give bottle stoppers as party favors and provide paper and pencils for guests to jot down tasting notes from their wine flight. Offer wine glass charms or special markers so your friends can keep track of their glasses. A selection of cheese and crackers, olives and nuts, and some bite-size desserts are easy crowd-pleasers.
FUN AND GAMES
Because the holidays can be rather stressful, game night provides a great excuse for a good laugh. For a large group, have everyone bring a board game or a deck of cards and guests can rotate from game to game around the room like they might do in a casino. You can even host a gambling night with faux money. If you want people to meet and mingle, try the Celebrity ID game: attach a famous person’s name to each person’s back so they have to ask other guests questions in order to guess who they are. Fill a bowl with silly prizes and arrange some finger foods at different tables for easy access.
Because food tends to be the natural focus of any gathering, pick a type that includes a good excuse for a festive backdrop like a Mexican fiesta. This popular option could feature a taco night with a piñata and some background music that mimics a mariachi band. Add some chips and salsa and flavored margaritas, and decorate the tables with sombreros and colorful serving pieces. Other ideas include a bruschetta bar with lots of toppings or a pasta night with everything from pesto penne to mac and cheese.