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Ideas for Simple Holiday Parties

I am having an informal and simple holiday party Saturday morning. I’ve invited the ladies from my new church over to my house so we can get in the festive holiday spirit — and we are doing it on a budget! I asked each of them to bring a 4 x 5 card with their favorite holiday recipe or tradition written on it. Then I’ll photocopy and share them the following week. I’m serving a simple homemade apple cake, coffee & cider.

The idea behind having everyone bring their favorite recipes and traditions is to get us excited about the holidays ahead and to give us a way to get to know each other better as we share. I am really looking forward to it!

Holidays can be expensive so it is fun to find ways we can gather friends together without spending a small fortune. Living a beautiful life doesn’t mean we need to host or attend extravagant parties!

Are you planning any fun holiday parties this year? Let’s share simple ideas in the comments! What are some fun holiday party themes or ideas you’ve seen?

photo: Country Living

Related post: Most Simple Party Decorating Idea Ever


  1. The Stylish House

    Every year my neighborhood gets together for a cookie exchange. It’s a fun way to visit and try out many varieties of cookies. However, nothing beats my mother- in -laws, Ginger Cream cookie recipe. They are the absolute best and are addictive, but in a good way. They’re a soft gingerbread cookie with a creamy frosting, topped off with red and green sprinkles. I will share the recipe in a post on my blog for the holiday season.
    Thank you for hosting A Beautiful Life. It has become a favorite event I enjoy each week.
    .-= The Stylish House´s last blog ..Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor =-.

  2. Tiffany

    How nice to host a holiday party. You must be so on top of things to have it now. Another fun party game is the alphabet where everyone brings something starting with an assigned letter of the alphabet that represents their personality or something they like.
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Future Fashion Designer =-.

  3. Heather

    This year I am going to have a cookie decorating party for my daughters and the children in the neighborhood. I am going to keep it simple by making the cookies the night before (from pre-cut dough) and setting out a few different frostings and sprinkles. I ordered some fun boxes for everyone to take the cookies home in. I thought the party would be the perfect way to fill one of the days after they are on holiday break. When you are little the days leading up to Christmas just seem to drag on and I thought this would give the girls something to look forward too!
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..When I Was Young =-.

  4. Janice

    It’s a pleasure to hear you sounding so happy in your new home, blessing it with friends and family like this! What a lovely idea that could so easily become a tradition. Thank you!

    We have lots of lovely rituals for the Festive Season which we started so the kids didn’t think Christmas was all about presents. Every year I buy mini tubes of coloured icing and the kids and their friends decorate slices of plain marzipanned and white iced Christmas cake to take home to their families.

    The whole family also decorates the big Christmas cake like this, when my 85 year old dad comes to stay. We stand around it and each do two or three Christmas designs until the whole cake is covered. My dad pretends he’s useless at it, but his designs are always the most ambitious!
    .-= Janice | Sharing the Journey´s last blog ..Two Healing Books to Feed Your Soul or Give as Gifts =-.

  5. Robin All Things Heart and Home

    I love this. And so love that you’re starting early before everyone’s calendars fill to over-flowing.

    I do several simple things…in December, my 3 adult daughters come over, sugary recipe and ingredients in hand, for a “Let’s Do Dessert” party. We bake and nibble all day and then wrap up the goodies for our husbands to share at work the following day.

    On Christmas Eve all the kids (adults now) come over for game night. We play games and snack on loads of appetizers. For dinner , I pull out the panini maker and everyone puts together their favorite sandwich…by then we’re all a bit tired of huge dinners so it works for us! Right before they leave to go home I give the girls their Christmas Pa-Jay-Jays. All matching! (I used to do this with the men but the protested, so I stopped!)
    love your post today~ Have so much fun at your party~I pray everyone is filled with the creativity of our Creator!
    All Things Heart and Home
    .-= Robin All Things Heart and Home´s last blog ..Dusk in December… =-.

  6. Kathleen Grace

    Hi Melissa! Great idea for a simple get together, and it could be done with any nuber of people. Our Adult bible class is having a progressive dinner Dec. 4. We have a large group of people so 3 are hosting, soup/salad, main course, dessert, and three are co-hosting. The host supplies the house and the co-host helps with the food , this takes the financial and work burden off the host and lets people with small houses participate too. It is a grea time and we get to see some nicely decorated homes for the holidays.
    .-= Kathleen Grace´s last blog ..Sweet November =-.

  7. Astrid

    I’d love to host a get together at my house. We’re just so far away from our friends; far from everyone. I find all kinds of excuses not to have a party. I guess I’m nervous about having people over. I’m afraid I’d be a lousy hostess and my food would be horrible. My house is blah. Perhaps I need to get over my fears and have friends over.
    .-= Astrid´s last blog ..Fast Fall Festoon (or something like that) =-.

  8. Lee

    I am thinking of having a church girlfriend party also. That means I gotta get the Christmas decor out now…These are all great ideas.
    Thanks Melissa, for helping to motivate me.
    Lee :)
    .-= Lee´s last blog ..Did I mention,we remodeled houses? =-.

  9. Julia

    I haven’t really thought much about holiday entertaining yet, but last year our family did a Christmas brunch instead of a big evening meal. We each brought one dish, so it was easy. Anything that relieves some stress around the holidays is a good thing in my book!

    Thanks for hosting this fun party, Melissa. Have a beautiful weekend! :-)
    .-= Julia @ Hooked on Houses´s last blog ..What Would You Do With $50 from Sticviews? =-.

  10. Bonnie at Savoring Simplicity

    I love the idea of a party on a shoestring. This has been a difficult year for many in our country. Thanks for reminding us that it doesn’t always have to be about extravagance.
    .-= Bonnie at Savoring Simplicity´s last blog ..Mohs Micrographic Surgery =-.

  11. Diana

    Love it! I help organize events at our church and one of the ladies suggested something like that – her twist is that you have each person bring the recipe to the get together so all can taste it. She said she likes to make it lunch or brunch and assign people certain categories.

    Gotta love the holidays!
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..My Seven “Stress Less Days” of Christmas Decorating Plan =-.

  12. Lillian

    I’m having a bunch of long-time friends over the Friday night after Thanksgiving and since it will be the first time we’ve all been together in one place in what feels like forever, we wanted to just stay in and spend time relaxing and talking. I figured everyone will still be full from Thanksgiving, so I’m going to do 2 big batches of chili in crock pots – one with meat and one without. Then we’re have some topping and a few other easy snack-y things like hummus and veggies and pita and call it a day!
    .-= Lillian @ Domestic Simplicity´s last blog ..Decorating Kid’s Rooms – Flashback Ideas =-.

  13. Janell Beals

    This year I and three other women in my neighborhood are hosting a progressive dinner. Appetizers at one, mains at mine (seriously, why did I volunteer for this, everyone knows I’m a bad cook!) and finally desserts at the third. So what is the fourth house for? The party for all the kids!! Isn’t this brilliant, all the kids at one house (with a group of babysitters) and the adults at the others?!
    .-= Janell Beals´s last blog ..It Takes A Good Man =-.

  14. Lillian

    Oops – and meant to add thanks for the idea for morning party options. I’m having the same people over the next morning and couldn’t decide what to do that I can make ahead of time and that would be perfect!
    .-= Lillian @ Domestic Simplicity´s last blog ..Decorating Kid’s Rooms – Flashback Ideas =-.

  15. songbirdtiff

    We may have a party, but right now I’m just trying to plan Christmas Day. We have decided to do a simple meal, leaving out all extras. We will have: Ham (pre-cooked) green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, bread, and pie. Simple and everyone will love it. I like your idea for a Saturday morning, ladies party. I might have to try this. :)
    .-= songbirdtiff´s last blog ..New Color…(no furniture involved, this time) =-.

  16. Sarah from pewter+sage

    Have fun on Saturday! We host a huge holiday open house every year on the weekend before Christmas. Last year we tried something new, a signature drink that we served in one of those huge glass drink containers. I tied a ribbon around the whole thing and glued a little sign to it describing the drink. Yum!
    .-= Sarah from pewter+sage´s last blog ..Memories of Rome Part III =-.

  17. Bonnie Mattson

    One thing we have discovered is that you don’t need to cram all of your annual entertaining into a few weeks around the holidays. We normally get together with both sides of the family, have church parties, and work parties and neighborhood parties during the holidays and it can get very hectic and exhausting.

    This year we are going to Utah for Thanksgiving and Italy for the Christmas and the New Year celebrations so we decided to do some simple dinner parties with our family and friends in October and November and possibly January and February as well.

    We had our first one the other night and now have another with my brothers and cousins on November 15th. We have found people are more relaxed and not partied out. It has been great, less expensive and really fun. We are having smaller groups so we actually have a minute to talk to our guests. Sometimes the pressures we put on ourselves during the holidays are self-imposed. We can make small changes that make a big difference.
    .-= Bonnie Mattson´s last blog ..Italian Treats and Tricks =-.

  18. Gina

    I love the party idea! Sounds like a fun way to get to know each other and start the season.

    Every year we have our neighbors over for dessert a few weeks before Christmas-we open our home to whoever can come on our block and sometimes even around the corner. We usually make a little flyer and then just stick one on everybody’s door. It’s such a fun way to reconnect or meet our neighbors. Everyone brings some sweets to share and we have a great time! (And we usually have a full house!)
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Flip Over Apple Cake =-.

  19. teresa

    I’m planning a cookie exchange party- with some friends and family-
    Simple but fun to do- Thanks for all your ideas- you are a blessing.
    .-= teresa´s last blog ..Beautiful life- =-.

  20. Aisling

    I love this idea of a simple morning party. I have been feeling a bit jaded and overwhelmed but this is so achievable and would work with my other friends who’s kids would be at school. I also love Robins idea of the bake and nibble day with her daughters. You are getting me in the festive mood. Thank you.
    .-= Aisling @ What a Beautiful World We Live in´s last blog ..Impressions of the Bog =-.

  21. Rachel

    I love this — in fact, I think I’ll implement the treat exchange at the December play-date I’ll be hosting. I think it would be fun for us Mom’s to snack and exchange recipes while our little ones play!
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..The Face Says It All =-.

  22. April Z

    For the last 9 years I’ve hosted an ornament exchange for the women in my Sunday school class. Each person brings a wrapped ornament and we exchange them in the same manner you’d do a white elephant gift exchange. I also serve a simple dinner of soup, salad, bread and dessert. I have a great turnout each year because it’s so much fun and everybody loves leaving with a new ornament to put on their tree.

  23. black eyed susans kitchen

    Hi Melissa, I love the holidays so much that I like to take the time to savor each one as it comes. Right now I am in Thanksgiving mode. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we attend a Swedish Christmas fair with traditional foods and crafts. There are Swedish dancers in traditional costumes and a Santa Lucia. Since my husbands family is Swedish, this is the start of our holiday. Personally, I love Thanksgiving the most because it is all about gratitude and family. I think this was a great idea to learn how others get into the holiday spirit. Thanks once again for hosting your friday link up.
    .-= black eyed susans kitchen´s last blog ..DUCK SEASON…WABBIT SEASON…UMMM, TURKEY SEASON! =-.

  24. Kara

    One holiday theme party that I want to try this year is an “Ugly Sweater Party”. I saw the idea on another blog and though it looked so fun. Just a casual party with couples, everyone wearing the worst sweater they can find. Love it!
    .-= Kara´s last blog ..Blessings from the Dollar Store =-.

  25. Beverly

    We host a “We Survived the Holidays” open house the weekend after Christmas. It’s an informal potluck–no kids. They have enough geared toward them prior to Christmas. This is a time for the adults to don their new duds, eat too much, and have a good time with their sweetie. We always have a good turnout–and lots of fun. I will add that we get grief for not including the kiddos, but I’m not apologizing or changing it. I believe one of the reasons I’ve been married over 33 years is because my hubby and I make it a priority to date. (sorry, didn’t mean to get on my soapbox)
    .-= Beverly´s last blog ..Shout Hooray!! =-.

  26. Sandy

    Hi Melissa,

    I told the kids that I want to have a Charlie Brown Christmas party for all of their friends. The details? I’m not sure yet :)

    Thank you for mentioned my book today, GF! Hugs!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..It Wasn’t a Piece of Cake! =-.

  27. Lindsey

    My girfriend in another state always has a PIE PARTY on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The premise is that you’re always too full to really enjoy the pies after Thanksgiving dinner, so this evening is just for pie. Encourage your guests to eat a light dinner before hand, and bring their favorite pie. If there’s leftovers, everyone takes a little of their favorites. She also provides milk, water, whipped cream, and some crackers and cheese (some salty to cut the sweet!).

    I’m always too far away, so I’ll be hosting my own this year and I’m really excited about it!

  28. Gayle

    I was thinking of inviting a friend who doesn’t have family to come spend Thanksgiving with us. She has stopped by for dinner the last two holidays and somehow that blesses us in a special way. I think it is because she reflects back to us the abundance we sometimes take for granted …family.
    .-= Gayle´s last blog ..November Storms =-.

  29. Pearl Maple

    So many lovely ideas on keeping the spirit in the season while making things nice.
    .-= Pearl Maple´s last blog ..Sky Watch Friday =-.

  30. Jill: The Welcome Home

    I was inspired by you to start planning our annual Christmas Eve party. It is a large gathering but simple in its essence. Familiar, comfort foods shared with our friends and neighbors. I have posted a few pictures from Christmases past on my blog.

    I am starting to feel that holiday cheer!
    .-= Jill: The Welcome Home´s last blog ..We’re Having a Party… about a month and a half =-.



  1. We’re Having a Party… about a month and a half « Welcome Home - [...] think what finally did it was when The Inspired Room asked the question “Are you plannong any holiday parties?” Such…

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