1. Gift Exchange Themes
a. White Elephant Gift Exchange - also known as a Dirty Santa Gift Exchange
Originally white elephants were given by kings / rulers as a way to financially ruin wealthy families as the cost of owning an elephant far exceeded the benefits of the animal, thus allowing those in power to remain unchallenged.
Today white elephant gift exchanges involve participants often purchasing funny or novelty gifts within a price range. FYI - The price range is normally set by the host up to $10, $20 or more per gift.
See Rules on How to Run a White Elephant Gift Exchange.
Gift Themes for White Elephant
Office Gift, Re-Gift (You bring a gift you have never used), Food gifts or just leave it open to anything.
b. Chinese Gift Exchange
Based on our research a Chinese Gift exchange follows the same principle as the White Elephant Gift Exchange however gifts are not opened until the end of the game.
Many of you might be saying, why is that?
The Chinese concept of destiny
where you receive what is inevitable or necessary - the give you receive is your fate.
So being that the gift you receive has already being determined for you there is no reason to unwrap the gift during the game.
Details on How to Host a Chinese Gift Exchange.
c. Secret Santa Gift Exchange
Guests are given an option to participate in the Secret Santa Gift Exchange and those that opt in are given the name of one of the guests and the amount of you can spend. Then that person buys a gift for one "specific" person and brings it to the party with a nametag on it. When it is time to open gifts, each person involved in the gift exchange receives their Secret Santa gift.
d. Yankee Swap Gift Exchange
In this Gift Exchange there is no stealing but only swapping on a one to one basis. The swapping continues until the last player has gone and everyone has a gift.
With a Yankee Swap it is possible that you may go home with the gift you brought, but we offer a solution for that on How to Run a Yankee Swap Gift Exchange.
e. Themed Gift Exchange
Like the idea of a White Elephant Gift Exchange but just want to change it up a bit then consider a theme to match your groups interest. Gift Exchange ideas include Texas Hold'em Gift Exchange, Billards Gift Grab. These unique themes can change things up a bit, add to your groups fun and inspire you to create something unique just for you and your friends.
2. Christmas Cookies Exchange Party
Donít spend your holidays baking cookies every weekend, invite friends and family together for a fun cookie exchange party and go home with lots of different cookies. This is a great Holiday party theme for small social groups, Mom's and those who love to bake. Games for and How to Host a Cookie Exchange Party.
Variation: Christmas Cookie Baking Party
If you have a large kitchen and don't want to bake alone, then get in the Holiday Spirit with a Christmas Baking party where friends are invited over to bake and decorate cookies. A fun way to socialize, laugh, trade recipes and make lots of cookies.
3. Christmas Sweater Party - Ugly Sweater Party
Host a Christmas Sweater Party where everyone most where a Christmas Sweater! Choose a specific them and have fun voting on who has the best sweater and give out a novel award to honor the sweater and maybe lay it to rest!
The most popular Christmas Sweater party themes are:
Ugly Christmas Sweater Party - Vote on Who has the Ugliest Sweater and they win a prize
Tacky Christmas Sweater Party - Shiny, loud, bedazzled sweater could win you the Tacky Sweater Award.
Holiday Sweater Party - Select this theme if you just want guests in a fun holiday mood!
4. Christmas Ornament Party
a. Christmas Ornament Exchange
Each guest brings a Christmas Ornament to the party (wrapped or unwrapped) and during the evening you have an Ornament Exchange where each ornament is given a number and guests randomly pick an number out of a hat to decide which ornament they receive (cannot be their own ornament) or Ornament Grab like a White Elephant Exchange. In the end everyone ends up taking home a different ornament then what they came with.
b. Christmas Ornament Making Party
This is fun for kids and adults. Guests are invited to the Christmas Ornament Party where they can make Christmas ornaments. If you are the host you can make a salt dough ornament recipe before the party and have it ready for guests to make ornaments, purchase craft ornaments or get styrofoam balls and decorate with yarn, beads, glitter and even foil wrap, last for mature groups you can purchase plain ornaments and decorate them using glue, glitter and craft accents.
Decorations can be as ornate or simple as you want, adjust what they are made of depending on the age of your guests.
5. Twas the Night Before Christmas - Pajama Party
Add a new spin to the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" with a fun Holiday Pajama Party.
As you know
"And Mamma was in her kerchief and I in my cap
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap"
Well at this Christmas party there is no time for settling down as you ask friends to come to your Christmas Pajama Party where they can interpret what they consider a kerchief and cap today! A fun and maybe sexy way to celebrate the Holidays.
6. Christmas Cartoon Themes
Build your theme around your favorite Christmas cartoon. Decorate your party to match the theme and play the cartoon during your event. And if you are daring and your crowd is into dressing up, you can have guests dream as their favorite Character.
You can choose a broad theme of Holiday Cartoons or select just one Christmas Cartoon for your theme:
Charlie Brown Christmas
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Year Without a Santa Clause
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
7. Christmas Movie Themes
Build your theme around your favorite Christmas Movie. Take a classic or a modern Holiday movie make an interesting Holiday party. Decorate your party with movie props, classic images or quotes from the movie. "I Double Dog Dare You!"
You can choose a broad theme of Holiday movies or select just your favorite Christmas Movie for your theme:
A Christmas Story
Miracle on 34th Street
A Christmas Carol
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Santa Clause
It's A Wonderful Life
8. Christmas Card Portrait Party
This theme invovles asking guests to either create a Holiday Family Portrait prior to the party or create a bunch of unique Christmas Card Family Portraits during your event. If you have a lot of single friends, we suggest grouping guests into families and taking the pictures at the party. If you do this, get Holiday props that can be used for the photos and also research and test soem Holiday photos apps that allow guests to create fun affects with their photos.
For families pictures, we suggest sending out photo theme with your party invitations. Some ideas could be Worst Christmas Card Ever, Santa We've Been Bad, Funny Christmas Card, Cranky Christmas Card, Who Farted Christmas Card, etc... Then ask your guests to take Christmas Card pictures and send you or upload them to a private account, prior to the party so you can put all the photos together and then have them ready to show to everyone during the party.
Have fun showing off all the great Christmas card pics and you can even offer prizes for most creative, most disturbing or most festive. And while many of this photos may never make it on a Christmas card they might be a huge hit on Facebook.
9. Santa Hat Party
This theme is easy, all guests are asked to wear a Santa Hat to the party. To spice thing up coming up with a Hat theme where guests can decorate their Santa hat. Theme ideas could be Nole Pole, The Day After Christmas, Key West Santa, Most Colorful Santa Hat or just ask them to decorate their Santa Hat for the Party. Then during the Party vote on the best Santa Hat.
10. Santa's Reindeer Party
Develop your party around Santa's reindeer and then you have a reason to where those silly reindeer antlers and blinking red noses, play Reindeer trivia and Find Santas Reindeer.
This theme is easy decorate with reindeer, play Rudolph on tv and you could even ask guests to come up Reindeer limericks that can be read during your party.
11. Christmas Carol Party / Holiday Karaoke
Have a group that likes to sing and would even go caroling? Then consider a Christmas Caroling party, we guests can sip eggnog and sing around a piano if you have one. An easy way or forced way to get started is to break the group into large groups of 10 or more people, where people who don't sing often can get comfortable singing, and give them a very easy song to sing. Jingle Bells, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman. Make sure each group has lyrics and a few minutes to get ready and then ask each group to sing their song.
As the night goes on you can mix up the groups, consider going caroling in the streets and add more difficult songs, normally once the people start singing and know it is fun to sing they feel free to laugh and have fun.
Last if you do go out Caroling in the neighborhood make sure you have warm cider, hot cocoa and cookies for when you return.
Another option is to get or rent a karaoke and guests can sing Christmas songs.Again we recommend starting off with the party host and bigger groups first and that should help bring out the singing divas in the group.
12. Santa's Helpers Party - Charity Party
Tired of White Elephant parties and recycled gifts that you never use, then consider a Santa's Helpers or Santa's Little Helpers Party where guests bring items that will be given to charity. This could include food, clothing, toys or other needs.
Canned food for the local Food Bank
Sweaters and Warm Blankets for a Shelter / Homeless
Or Guests can place a donation of cash in one box and the name of a charity name in a bowl. At the end of the night, select one of the submitted charities and then donate all the funds to that charity.
Our group found this to be one of the most rewarding Christmas Parties we ever had as it was nice to know we were helping others.
13. Holiday Murder Mystery Party
Different, fun and perfect for Holiday parties and dinner events. Check out a variety of Chirstmas Murder Mysteries including ones that involve a Department Store Santa, the North Pole and Murder of Course. I unique holiday party theme that is sure to be remembered for years to come.
View Holiday Murder Mystery Parties
14. Beer Tasting Holiday Party
This is one that the guys will enjoy and they ladies too if they enjoy a nice brew. Basically invite your friends to bring a microbrewed beer or one of their favorites so everyone can share and taste something new. If the idea has resistance consider a Beer & Wine Tasting event where you can bring either, just try to make sure a fair amount of guests are bringing beer and others wine.
Read more in my blog post about holding a Beer Tasting Party and Beer trivia.
15. Who Feels Lucky Holiday Party
Let's Get Lucky is a Lotto Gift Exchange where everyone is invited to purchase a variety of Lotto scratch off games as gifts. Just set your budget at $5, $10 or $20 and have guests purchase that amount of tickets. They can purchase $10 in $1 dollar tickets, 5 $2 dollar tickets 2 $5 tickets or mix an match to equal your gift budget. Then trade or exchange gifts in any manner and once thet is complete guests scratch off the ticket and see if anyone Got Lucky this Christmas!
You can also add some fun by getting some Bonus Lotto tickets for the Winners of Christmas party games.
16. Holiday Wine Tasting
A Holiday Wine Tasting is great evening and dinner party theme, where everyone is asked to bring a bottle of wine to share. Add crackers, cheeses and wine trivia for a social evening amongst friends.
17. Hot Cocktail Party
Raise their spirit and warm guests with a hot cocktail Holiday party where you feature several hot drinks for the holiday season. Consider offering these bevarages Hot Toddy, Hot Buttered Rum, Mulled Cider or Hot Mint Chocolate. Find the drink recipes and other hot cocktails here.
A fun idea to change up your Christmas party without really changing your Chrismtas party!
18. Fruit Cake Party
This could be awesome or awful based on whether your friends are creative or convenience oriented. While you could take the Fruit Cake Christmas Party idea in two ways bring a fruit cake or maybe ask guests to dress like a fruit cake, we are talking about bringing a fruit cake; although the other idea would be very festive.
This would work for guests that are adventurous to try new things, those that bake and risk takers. As you want each guest to bring or make a fruitcake for the party that others can sample. YOu could even have fun playing a game like Fruitcake or Dare where guests can either eat some fruit cake or do a Holiday dare. If this sounds like your friends then go for it.
However if your friends are going to run to the store, buy the first fruit cake they see and bring it just to meet the party's minimum effort requirement with no intension of even sampling any fruit cakes then pass on this idea.