This year was our Second Annual Christmas Sweater and Ornament Exchange Party. I don’t know how you are, but I very much get stressed out when it comes to hosting. I love it, but I definitely let it overwhelm me. I can honestly say this past Saturday was the most relaxed I’ve ever been leading up to a party at our house.
Here are a few tips, and even a holiday punch recipe, that I recommend:
Party Invite and Theme:
The theme every year is for everyone to come wearing a Christmas sweater and bring a wrapped ornament for the ornament exchange. I love the sweater idea because people can either wear something they already own making it a no pressure situation, get creative with DIY, or buy one that really shows their personality. My sweater is from Missed Calls on Etsy!
Holiday Cocktail Recipe:
(Super alcoholic, but you cannot taste the alcohol. You’ve been warned.)
Everything was purchased from Kroger (thanks, Kroger!)
2 - 750ml bottles of Prosecco (I bought Menage a Trois brand because it’s $10/bottle)
1/2-2/3 - 750ml bottle of Vodka (you can add more or less)
1 - 24 fl oz Pomegranate Juice
1 - 52 fl oz Orange Juice pulp free
1 - 64 fl oz Cran-raspberry Juice Cocktail
1 - 12oz bag of cranberries (frozen or fresh)
2 Oranges sliced into rounds
2 limes sliced into rounds
0.5 oz Mint to garnish
Ice (only need if you bought everything last minute and didn’t have time to chill your ingredients)
Combine everything (except the mint) into a beverage dispenser or massive punch bowl. Stir. The oranges, limes, and cranberries will all float to the top making it very pretty and festive to serve. Garnish with mint.
Ornament Exchange - we ask everyone (or every couple) to bring a wrapped ornament to the party. We play white elephant style by having everyone select a number from a jar. Whoever draws #1 goes first, #2 can either steal their ornament or open a new one, and so on. We made the rule that once an ornament got stolen twice, it couldn’t be stolen anymore. Some people play where they allow more than two chances to steal so that’s up to you. At the end, everyone who brought an ornament ends up with a new one!
Bon Fire - last year we had a fire pit put in our backyard and it’s always a hit. It gives the smokers a place to go, keeps everyone warm, plus, s’mores are always a good idea!
Puzzle - this was perfect for the people who weren’t really drinking and wanted to be more low key. I put out a 400 piece Christmas puzzle of a dog sitting by a fireplace and Christmas tree and it was finished in 2hrs and 10min.
Christmas Music started it all, but we ended up with rap music by the end of the night.
Food (no cooking required):
All food was purchased from Kroger and this part made my life SO easy! I was in and out with everything I needed in no time.
chicken tenders party platter ordered from the deli about a day before and picked up a few hours before the party
Tostitos chips and everything needed to make homemade guacamole.
a few other dips for the chips including refried beans, pico, and salsa.
Pita chips and hummus
Doritos because we are big spicy sweet chili fans
all pre-made desserts like Private Selection brownies, red velvet bundt cakes, and Private Selection Sea Salt Caramel Cookies. I cut them up and served everything on nice plates and topped with Christmas sprinkles so you couldn’t tell, hehe.
* although we didn’t ask anyone to bring anything we did have some guests bring a cheese plate (HUGE HIT), bruschetta, and a vegan cake!
Do you ever host parties? If so, do you theme them? I’d love to hear more below!