When I read on Julia's site that she is obsessed with Christmas, I thought to myself - I know the PERFECT "how to" post to join in the week - how to throw a Christmas party in July.
Hosting parties is one of my favorite things. Hosting themed parties is even more awesome. I hosted a Christmas in July party a few years ago, but I'm beginning to think that another one might be in order soon.
Here are some tips on hosting your own Christmas in July party:
1. Make your guest list. Let's face it, this event is not going to be for everybody you know. Not everybody loves Christmas, not everybody loves themed parties. Take this into consideration when making your list and invite people who will truly be able to get into the festive spirit. Also, knowing the amount of people that you could potentially be dealing with will help set the scene.
2. Choose your favorite Christmas activities. Consider your audience and decide what types of Christmas activities would suit them best - whether it be adults, teenagers, kids or even if there are going to be toddlers there. Here are a few suggestions: making cookies, making gingerbread houses, coloring Christmas-themed coloring books, making hot chocolate/spiced cider, reading The Night Before Christmas, Secret Santa, cookie swap, making ornaments, stringing popcorn, watching Charlie Brown Christmas, watching A Muppet Christmas Carol, wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, and Christmas caroling. This is also the time to figure out if you want to serve a meal at this party. For me there were enough other things going on that I didn't feel a meal was necessary, but to each his/her own - there's no going wrong with a good meal.
3. Figure out how to get others involved. Interactive parties are always more fun - the guests feel as if they are part of the planning process and they get just as excited. Take the activities that you chose and decide how to make it interactive. It can be a potluck and everybody can bring their favorite Christmas dish (that way you don't need to cook as much if you've decided to serve dinner). They can help decorate cookies. They can bring candy or frosting for the gingerbread houses (and this saves you money). They can bring coloring books. You can have a make your own hot chocolate bar and provide whipped cream, marshmallows, peppermint sticks, cinnamon sticks, and more. You can have an ugly sweater wearing contest where all the guests have to vote. The options are limitless.
4. Send out invitations. My suggestion is make them extra-festive. Although I'm definitely a handmade invitation lover, sometimes we really just don't have the time for it. And that's why they created website like Evite. Look how many options there are (this is page 2 of 5):
5. Make a Christmas playlist. Include all of your favorite songs - the ones that really psych people up. Because it's not Christmas season, you only have to choose your top 15 or 20 songs and you can put them on repeat because people aren't sick of hearing them. Here's a copy of my Christmas Mix from this last year for suggestions:
6. Add the final Christmas touches before the party. #1 - This will get you in more of a festive spirit. #2 - Your guests will be in a festive mood from the second they walk through the door. Put a wreath on the door. Put on your favorite holiday apron. Switch out your dishcloths for the ones that are red and green. Put cookies in the oven so your house smells like heaven. Light your holiday-scented candles. Put your playlist on in the background. Get ready to enjoy!! At my party we made gingerbread houses, decorated cookies, and sang carols. There were a bunch of engineers there and there's nothing that engineers love more than getting a chance to build their own house (especially civil and architectural engineers). Check out some pictures of the evening. (Have I mentioned I have some of the most awesome friends in the world?).