Christmas is about friends and family. And yes, it would be wrong to suggest this holiday would more enjoyable without the latter. But have you thought about throwing a Christmas party with just friends? Not as a replacement of course, but more as a kind of balancing element, a soothing balm to your traditional family Christmas.

the soothing balm to your traditional family Christmas

What’s so great about holiday parties with friends? First and foremost, it’s casual and free of debilitating expectations! You don’t have to worry that your skirt is too short, your gifts too tacky or that your life choices are just not quite right. You can just be you.

Inspiration and Tips for a Friends Holiday Party

White Elephant Gift Exchange

Gifts are probably the most stressful part of Christmas. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So either tell your guests that there will be no gift exchange or make a game out of it.

Organize a white elephant gift exchange to eliminate the stress and costs of shopping. Give your guests the choice of wrapping up either something from home that they don’t want anymore (i.e. a VHS version of Scrooged) or a gag gift (i.e. tickets to the local high school’s rendition of CATS). Then raffle the gifts off, by picking names out of a hat. That way no one will be offended and there might even be some funny presents in the mix.

Tip: Make it more about getting a good laugh than hitting the jackpot of holiday gifts.

Ugly Sweaters

This is a classic and frankly it may never get old. There is just a surprising abundance of hideous holiday sweaters out there, ones that have an astonishing array of colors and themes and various dangling holiday trinkets and bells. And if you are lucky, you might even find one that lights up –  in which case, hold on to that baby and never let go.

pexels-photo-62369In all seriousness, this is actually a really nice way to ensure that the mood will be light and that your guests are relaxed, leading to more connections, conversations and most importantly – good clean holiday fun.

Tip: Encourage your guests to check out the local thrift store. The human race seems to have peaked in Christmas sweater design sometime in the early 90s.

Sweet & Savory Beverages and Snacks

Don’t stray from what we all know and love about Christmas, holiday food and drinks! There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. Just make sure you have eggnog, hot cocoa and some liquor, like Rum or Amaretto, to give the drinks that extra holiday kick!

Eggnog Cocoa ChristmasAnd don’t forget wine and beer so that when your guests just can’t stomach anymore sugar, they’ve got a backup.

For the food it’s basically the same, Christmas cookies and candy canes alongside some savory snacks should do the trick. Don’t stress yourself out with a huge meal and don’t feel pressured to cook everything yourself. Buy some appetizers at the grocery store or ask your friends to bring finger foods.

Games! Drinking and otherwise…

Some people hate games. Obnoxious baby and wedding showers have basically ruined that for most of us, which is unfortunate because there are some good ones out there. And if you have the right crowd it could turn a good party into a great one.

Simple games: If you are looking for games that require minimal effort, try something like a Christmas movie drinking game, a raffle or a game where your guests just need to guess how many ornaments you have on your tree. Prizes can be things you find around your house, like cosmetic samples and souvenir shot glasses.


Brain games: a trivia quiz is always fun and there are plenty of Christmassy ones online that you can print out and use exactly as they are. Other than that, classics like charades or 20 questions can be a lot of fun too.

Photo Props

If your guests are wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, they are going to want to show the world. Make it easy for them by setting up an area with photo props. Start looking in the attic for silly hats and old-timey tobacco pipes or just print out some holiday photobooth props.

Feel free to choose any assortment of these ideas, because like we said, a holiday party with friends is by nature stress-free. It’s up to you to decide how much holiday spirit you want to inject it with. Either way, it will be a good time and a great antidote to a stressful family Christmas party.

Cheers and Merry Christmas!