Think outside the holiday box: 5 Fun seasonal soiree ideas

Dec 12, 2012 at 3:48 p.m. ET

Bored of Christmas Day drop-ins? So are we, which is why we're offering some fun alternatives to traditional holiday get-togethers. From the silly to the sophisticated, there are lots of interesting options to take your holiday party up a few festive notches.

Friends trimming tree

Tree trimming soiree

If you have yet to decorate your tree and you're not fussy about how it looks, turn the process into a party. Have each guest bring an ornament (it can be something old, new or DIY), serve mulled wine and hot apple cider and several holiday cookies. Guests can sip and snack while everyone adds their own ornament as well as others you've provided to the tree. Make sure to have lots of holiday music to accompany the tree trimming.

Christmas costume party

Halloween isn't the only occasion that warrants dressing up. Inject some fun into your next holiday party by suggesting guests come in costume. You can be more specific (a Santa and elf party) or just have the costume theme be something Christmas-inspired. Have a ballot box at the door with pens and paper for people to cast their vote for best costume and tally at the end of the evening before the first guests depart. Have a prize on hand for the winner and make sure to snap photos throughout the night. You can use those photos to create a holiday photo book for those in attendance. Printstagram allows you to print mini photo books from Instagram photos for $12.

Caroling karaoke

If you and your friends are karaoke fans, why not create a festive soiree around your favorite activity? But this time, instead of belting out Madonna songs and '80s and '90s classics, you'll be singing carols. Either book a private karaoke room (check with local bars and restaurants to see what's available), or rent a karaoke machine and ask guests to come ready to strut their stuff on stage. Serve festive finger foods and rum and eggnog as guests show off their best caroling prowess.

Re-gift exchange

Did you end up with an un-ironic ugly Christmas sweater last year? Did Grandma's gift not live up to expectations? Are you not planning to showcase that elf-shaped lamp anytime soon? Since everyone gets at least one gift that goes in the re-gifting pile each year, we suggest having a little fun with all those Christmas cast-offs. Have each guest wrap one of their more unfortunate gifts from years past and bring it to the party. Then you can have guests head up to the gift pile one by one (draw names) and choose a present. Half the fun is watching everyone open their (likely) hilarious package.

Holiday cocktail party

For something a little more elegant, put together a holiday cocktail party complete with Christmas-themed martinis and mixed drinks. Choose two or three simple but festive drink recipes, print out recipe cards and leave them by a DIY bar area (so guests can help themselves) and have everyone come in semi-formal wear. Set up appetizer stations with one-bite treats to make it easier for guests to mix and mingle and create a warm, festive atmosphere with lots of white twinkle lights and candles.

More holiday tips and ideas

Expert tips for planning the ultimate holiday party
Christmas decor for small spaces
How to make Christmas baskets