You can smell it in the air – the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. The stores are buzzing, your online shopping wishlist has been sent to Santa, everyone has booked their tickets home, and oops, you’ve got two weeks to plan a Christmas party! What better way is there to ring in the holiday than with your best and brightest around a table for a couple of sips and a few bites to eat, right?
With your date set, the guest list firm, and the invitations sent, it’s time to narrow in on the details of this party. These holiday themes are packaged and paired nicely with your food, decoration, and activity options. While Christmas is a theme of its own, changing things up will help to keep things fresh and make your party stand out. I am offering this list of party ideas to help you ramp up your holiday season as you get ready to wind down the year.
As I said, Christmas is its own theme and allows you to keep it easy by grabbing all the green, gold, white, and red you can from any of your local shops. Seven-foot self-lighting tree? Check. Popcorn tinsel? Done. An RWG Christmas (red, white, and green) gives you the chance to slide into the holiday season easily with pre-packaged décor and maybe a pine branch or two from your local coniferous.
Decorations: Try making your space look more festive with some traditional Christmas garnishes. Hang a stocking by the fire (or TV stand), throw up some mistletoe (for that special someone who walks through the door), and grab a couple of empty boxes to wrap and place beneath your tree.
Food: You can’t do traditional Christmas without a Christmas ham or turkey. For those looking for a vegetarian option, why not try a nut loaf as a savory alternative. For those who want to keep it simple, try one of the holiday feature meal kits from local restaurants like Local Public Eatery. Pair your dinner with your favorite sides like mash potatoes, some greens, and a dinner roll (or two). Pick up a bottle of wine from Ellement at the Forks. Wrap this meal up with some holiday sweets from local bakeries like Tall Grass Prairie or Gato Bakeshop.
Activities: Keep friends and family entertained with an ugly sweater contest or a gingerbread house-building competition. You might just want to crack out a board game and play until the night runs dry.
Tinsel and Tini
Want to zhuzh things up this holiday season? Test out a Tinsel and Tini party that will give you a chance to crack out the sparkles and get a bit fancy. Think New Years’ Eve at Christmas!
Decorations: While a classic pine is usually a go-to, an all-white tree will allow your Tinsel and Tinis party to shine. Dress it up with some silver and white decorations that shimmer like the snow on a sunny day. Pair this with a tinsel garland held together with a few logs of white birch and a couple of soy candles from Coal and Canary. Tip: add in some hints of gold and pine green to tie this look together.
Food: A Tinsel and Tini party is all about the Martinis. Test out your bartending skills with a few different options like this White Martini from Inspired Charm or these holiday-inspired mixes posted by Town & Country. As for what to eat? Do dinner differently with a choose-your-own-adventure tapas bar. Keep it Christmas by throwing in some slices of turkey, a few dinner rolls, and some green and red olives. Top off the platter with some white chocolate bark or macaroons from Caroon by MJ.
Activities: Keep this party focussed on the sips and dips by hosting a DIY martini bar! Throw in fondue and keep your guest full of laughs from mishaps.
Inspired by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s annual show, this theme allows you to tap into your artistic side and get busy with some DIY. Think sugar plum fairies, kingdoms and crowns, and a magic wand to bring it all to life.
Decorations: As with most of these themes, it starts with a tree, and this time, the bigger, the better. Dress your majestic coniferous in gold and wrap the base in crimson. Flank this tree with a couple of nutcracker soldiers, throw on some candy canes and add an angel on top. Hang those stockings and use a bit of extra fabric to create a luxurious garland for your “fireplace”. The key to this Christmas theme is decadence and extravagance. Make this party feel authentic by picking up a few antiques from Things by RWB. Remember to watch out for that Rat King though, he might try to steal all your goods.
Food: Get into the theme by trying a few meat pies from local vendor Molly’s Meat Pies. Pair these with some mushroom soup (my favorite is from Earl’s on Main Street!) and a side of green beans. Grab a sip of your favorite vodka and try your hand at some homemade marzipan or sugar plums. Or you could just eat the candy canes.
Activities: What better way to get into character than by hosting a dress-up party? Have people come in their best nutcracker-inspired couture and dance the night away. You could even throw in a crown-making activity to see who really will be crowned the next Rat King!
Looking for something a bit more low-key? Why not think about an all-Canadian Christmas theme that screams cozy and cute with a little bit of camp? That’s right, we are talking about plaid wrapped in twine and drizzled in snowflakes.
Decorations: Get that tree up and dress it in plaid and gold ribbons and bows. Feel free to paint the tips with a bit of white to make it look like it has just snowed. Those plaid stockings with the buck cut-out hung together with a few strings of twine would make a fine addition. If you want to get into the spirit, why not up the ante with a couple of hand-carved pieces from the Winnipeg Art Gallery in support of the new Qaumajuq gallery.
Food: Is it too much of a cliché to call on poutine, Bannock, and bacon, and beers? I don’t think so. Stay cozy and homey by serving up these Canadian favorites with a side of split pea soup. To end the evening, fire up the kettle and serve a round of hot toddies (maple syrup required) with a couple of butter tarts.
Activities: Who can say no to a poutine station? Head down to the Cheesemongers Fromagerie on Corydon and pick up some of your favorite poutine toppings. End this evening with a gift exchange.
Whatever you choose to do, have a very happy holiday with your nearest and dearest!