6 holiday party themes that are sure to break the ice if your friends don’t know each other

Holiday party season is here, and we can’t wait to celebrate. Before you know it, your calendar will be packed with cocktail parties, gift exchanges, and merry festivities. But between us, do you ever feel like holiday parties get, well, a bit repetitive? A person can only attend so many ugly sweater parties in one season. If you’re playing hostess this December, change things up and throw the most memorable party of the year by choosing one of these epic holiday party themes.

Choosing a holiday party theme is a crucial but often overlooked step in planning a party. Once you choose one, things fall into place much more easily. Holiday party themes give you direction and inspire ideas for your food, drinks, decorations, and even music. The right holiday party themes can also help your guests mix and mingle. Inevitably, not everyone at your party will know each other; your work friends don’t know your college friends, and your yoga friends don’t know your boyfriend’s friends. But a solid theme will give everyone something to talk about and help break the ice.

1Favorite Things Party

Take a page from Oprah and The Sound of Music and throw a Favorite Things Party. Have all of your guests choose something small but meaningful that they can’t live without—it could be a Reese’s peanut butter cup, striped washi tape, or candy cane lip balm—and have them bring enough for everyone at the party. Create gift bags for each guest and watch them fill up as the night continues. Then, at the end of the party, send them home with a stuffed swag bag of everyone’s favorite things. Congratulations: You’re basically Oprah now.

2Mad for Plaid

Ugly sweater parties are so 2017. This year, trade beaded snowflakes and cartoon reindeer for a simpler, more elegant print: plaid. Seri Kertzner, owner and chief party officer at Little Miss Party, once threw an epic Mad for Plaid Christmas Celebration. In addition to guests donning plaid dresses, button downs, scarves, and ties, Kertzner told HG that she added plaid touches to the food and décor as well.

3July in Christmas

It’s the opposite of Christmas in July—get it? People love throwing holiday parties in July, so flip the script and throw a summer beach bash in December. Trade eggnog for mojitos, turkey for tacos, and bulbs for beach balls.

4Scrooge Party

Let’s face it: Sometimes the holidays can be a bit too much. If you like the idea of getting friends and family together but don’t have the energy for holiday music and festive pom poms, throw a Scrooge party. It’s the anti-holiday party your holiday season needs.

5Holiday Movies Come to Life

Everyone has a favorite holiday movie. So why not throw a party dedicated to them? Encourage your guests to dress as characters from their favorite holiday movies. For decorations, fashion a leg lamp from A Christmas Story. Decorate a bare tree like Snoopy and the Peanuts gang would. You could even throw an inflatable clown in the shower à la Home Alone 2. And keep holiday movies playing in the background at all times, of course.

6Petmas Party

The only thing better than the holidays is the holidays with pets. Invite your friends over and encourage them to bring their furry friends. Have festive pet sweaters, outfits, and accessories on hand so everyone can dress up their dog and cat children. A Petmas Party is guaranteed to be the cutest—not to mention most Instagram-worthy—event of the season.

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