"Not another ugly Christmas sweater party," you think. After all, you’ve thrown it for the past three years.
If this sounds like you, you may be experiencing pre-holiday season party fatigue. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to inject new life into your annual Christmas-Hanukkah-Dress-Up-Like-Santa fiesta and host an unforgettable party that won’t leave you completely wiped out the next day. Having a party during the holidays can be time-consuming, expensive, and exhausting. But it doesn’t have to be — we’ve masterminded a list of 20 unique party ideas that won’t leave your bank account overdrawn and your internal gas tank running on empty.
Change up the now-clichéd crazy Christmas sweater theme for a crazy Christmas pajama party where everyone arrives wearing, yup, ridiculously decorated pajamas and indulges in a spread of bite-sized breakfast-themed appetizers like mini French toast. Or instead of a cookie exchange party, challenge your friends to dust off their baking skills for a country fair-style pie exchange where food is the star of the night, not the presents.
Avoid throwing a stuffy annual holiday open house where the only thing that differs from year to year is the strength of the cocktails. When everyone's calendars are so packed, the most laid-back party is often the biggest hit, so go casual with a traditional Southern-style oyster roast. It's easy to plan. Just think: cold drinks and oysters still warm from the grill that everyone can shuck for themselves (meaning party prep is easy). Love classic rock 'n' roll? Host a Blue Christmas-themed soirée inspired by none other than the King himself, complete with plenty of blue drinks, blue foods, and lots of blue lights — with just enough irony to be Graceland-cool rather than Disneyland-tacky.
If the kids outnumber the adults, put them to work with aprons on and rolling pins in hand to help give Santa a hand by baking dozens of cookies to send to troops abroad who otherwise might not have much to put them in the holiday spirit. There's even a party idea for those of you who’d rather pop open a cork than lift a knife or spoon in the kitchen — a bash where bubbly is the star of the show and, like at any great party, having an empty glass is frowned upon.
This article was originally published on December 1, 2011.