Christmas party ideas for hosting festive soirées in style

25 ways to to impress your guests this festive season

‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. In other words - it’s party time! If you’re the one hosting the festivities this year, make life easy on yourself by using these Christmas party ideas which will fill your home with joy.

Whether you want to decorate your home from top to toe, or simply take a couple of Christmas ideas to brighten up a room or two, there’s sure to be a party idea which you won’t be able to resist this Christmas.

Christmas party ideas

From nifty upcycling Christmas craft ideas to make your own table decorations to fashioning a bar area, these Christmas party ideas are simple yet effective.

From ways to display your cards to jazzing up uninspiring corners, read on to find out our favourite ways to throw a festive shindig in style.

1. Make a good first impression on entrance

Green front door with wreath and presents on sleigh

(Image credit: Future)

Your front door is the first opportunity you have to set the scene for the party that lies ahead, so make sure it looks festive and inviting.

Wreaths are always a great choice. Buy an artificial option, or even make your own using plant life you've foraged from the garden. A vintage sleigh is the perfect setting for creating a small display of presents. If weather is sub-optimal, you could instead fill a zinc planter with festive foliage and wrap around with the best Christmas lights you can find - only use weather and water-proof options.

2. Dress your table to impress

Dining table with Christmas decorations and hanging stars

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Your guests will have dressed up so make sure your home is adequately attired too.

A striking arrangement of foliage above the dining table will add a sense of occasion – easy to do you can simply bend some pliable twigs, such as willow, and fasten with garden twine. For further visual impact fill large glass vessels with seasonal foliage and berries. Accessorise with a cluster of tapered candles for added drama.

Using one of the traditional Christmas colour schemes will make it easy to design a chic and festive table and help differentiate it from other annual events.

3. Style your overhead lights

Dining table decorated with foliage and pendant light with dried flowers

(Image credit: Pooky)

We love a more-is-more approach at Christmas, and for a Christmas party this means decorating anywhere and everywhere.

Pendants above a dining table, or in the center of a living room are ideal for dressing for the season, and create an unusual focal point for guests to admire. Dried flowers are an on-trend option, but you could also use ribbons or drape baubles.

Keep things safe by making sure that your light is properly wired and doesn't overheat when left on for a while.

4. Make personalised party favours

Metal bucket containing napkins, napkin holders and knife and fork.

(Image credit: Future)

When considering your Christmas party ideas, try and work in something handmade to really spread the love this holiday season. This may sound time consuming, but no matter where you are in your Christmas countdown, there's a craft you'll be able to fit in.

This year, why not try your hand at making some stamped napkin rings. To make, first decide what you want to stamp - perhaps use your guests name, and the ring can work bith as a place setting as well as a sweet party favour to take home.

Once you've chosen what to print, dab each letter stamp in ink and print a test run on paper to get the spacing right. Then move onto the ring itself, dabbing the stamp into the ink and blotting on kitchen paper each time to remove any excess. Leave to dry for half an hour before handling

5. Turn a dresser into a glamorous bar

Glass cabinet with bottles of alcohol and glasses

(Image credit: Amara)

Convert an existing storage space or dresser into a drinks station. Glass fronted cabinets create a dazzling display space for coloured glassware and a selection of everyone’s favourite seasonal tipples.

Built-in shelves make a great drinks prep and serving space, plus keeping wine and spirits out on display rather than hidden away creates a warm and hospitable feel in a house full of guests.

6. Display an advent countdown

Blue console with Christmas decorations on next to wall with wood grain wallpaper and mirror on

(Image credit: Future)

Alternative advent calendars are one of the most fun trends of the year, so why not choose your favourite and turn it into a creative display for guests to enjoy?

While by the time of coming up with your Christmas party ideas you may have got through a good number of days in the advent, allow yourself some creative liberties and set the whole thing up again to get the full effect.

As well as looking gorgeous, you could also make it into a game for kids - perhaps clues or prizes for a festive scavenger hunt could be hidden in the calendar.

7. Glitz up empty wall space

Fairy lights, ribbons and baubles in the shape of a Christmas tree on dark grey wall

(Image credit: George Home)

Think about empty walls as an opportunity for your Christmas party. If you have a good amount of space free on a wall, use it to create a cool background for selfies.

There's a huge trend right now for alternative Christmas trees, and a 2-D design is a great way to create that unique and festive backdrop. A simple string of fairy light attached to the wall with Command Strips or an existing picture hook can be pulled into a triangle to create the shape of a tree. Once you add a star on top and baubles for extra oomph, you've got your very own Insta-ready Christmas "tree"!

8. Make homemade festive lights

Silver dinnerware and cutlery on table with white table cloth.

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

Lighting plays a key role in setting the scene for any party, especially a Christmas one where ambience is all important. Simple candlelight is the perfect way to make a festive soirée more intimate and heartfelt. Even if you have an abundance of votives already, you can bet you'll need more to decorate for a party. That's where upcycling comes in handy.

Save yourself the trouble and expense of buying more votives than you would normally need. Simply spray paint used jam jars and other glass pots, to make your own  shimmering mercury-glass-effect votives – a brilliant budget Christmas decorating idea.

Lay an empty glass jar on its side, on newspaper and mist with water. Immediately spray over the water droplets with silver spray paint. Leave to dry, rotate and repeat. Once full covered pop a tealight inside.

9. Tie in Pom-Pom decorations

Pom pom decorations hung above the dining table with Christmas decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Scott)

Colour code your party decorations to create a wow statement. Pair pastel shades of iridescent baubles and glasses with decorative paper pom-poms. Even tealights and foliage can be in-keeping with the scheme.

Suspending on-trend paper pom-pom decorations above a dining table creates a clear party zone. Use a thoughtful Christmas bauble display idea to add extra wow factor to the setting.

10. Add a nod to tradition

Bunch of mistletoe with Christmas cards in hanging in front of stained glass window in hallway

(Image credit: Future)

There's so much nostalgia at this time of year that sometimes it's nice to include some of the more traditional Christmas decorating ideas in your scheme.

Once your guests enter your home, the sight of a fresh and full bunch of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling will instantly evoke warm memories of past Decembers. You don't even have to have the classic kiss under the mistletoe, because just its presence is a lovely Christmas hallway decor moment.

11. Create a unique card display

Branch decorated with Christmas cards in front of window with Christmas decorations

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

Often as your guests enter you'll be presented with a thoughtful card. Rather than placing on an overstuffed shelf, one cool Christmas party idea is to create a display that evolves over the evening.

Place a sturdy bough with several windy branches in a vase on a mantle, or in the middle of a kitchen island and attach each opened card with a clothes peg, or punch a hole in the corner of the card. Thread through ribbon and hang at varying heights for a unique Christmas card idea to display season's greetings around the home.

12. Extend a warm welcome

Blue console with Christmas decorations and presents below bronze wall clock

(Image credit: Future)

Create a wow factor the moment your Christmas guests arrive through the front door. Style up a hallway console table with a seasonal display, to add some festive cheer to your entrance. Twinkling lights and Christmas go hand-in-hand, so try to add a bit of sparkling illumination to your hall. Create a warm and opulent atmosphere with scented orange and cinnamon candles set alight inside burnished and bronzed lanterns.

If you don't fancy a whole string of fairy lights, place a few battery-operated tealights in glass jars. Realistic faux flowers are a great alternative to fresh blooms, to ensure they last throughout the festivities.

13. Adorn your hallway with foliage

With staircase in hallway with Christmas decorations and lights.

(Image credit: Future)

Light the way into the party! Line your hallway banisters and door frames with festive foliage in abundance. Aromatic evergreens such as eucalyptus and pine make wonderful garlands as they release their scent when brushed past, ideal for high-traffic hallways.

Use delicate herb wreaths decorations to add further delicate fragrance. And why not throw some fairy lights into the mix to add an extra bit of Christmas sparkle?

14. Fashion a self-service bar

Christmas decorated drinks cart with champagne bucket and chalkboard sign

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

Home bars are all the rage, as the trend for entertaining from the comfort of our own homes is more popular than ever. Hosting house parties are ideal, not only do you save money on hiked up drinks prices – there's no closing time  (at your own discretion).

Set up a drink trolley of sorts by dressing a unit with all the accessories your guests will need to make their own drinks. From an evening tipple to a morning cuppa, a self-service station means guests can help themselves.

15. Prepare a props table

Wooden console with champagne and glasses and party props.

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

Did you even host a party if you didn't get a pic of family and friends with props?! From specs and lips on sticks to characterful hats, the photo prop is the party accessory du jour. Keep party props to hand on a sideboard or console table suitably dressed for the festivities. Alongside bottles of bubbly, all the ingredients for fabulous photos to treasure the happy memories.

16. Create a seasonal menu on a chalkboard

Menu chalkboard with mistletoe on next to glasses

(Image credit: Future)

Set the tone of what guests can expect on the menu front, by fashioning a chalkboard sign. Taking the pub-like approach of a menu board helps to make a dinner party feel all the more special, setting it aside from just an everyday dinner.

17. Deck the halls

Staircase with patterned wallpaper on stairs with Christmas decorations and presents.

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jon Day)

It doesn't have to be merely all about the tree, parties are the perfect excuse to dress every wall, of every room. Use over-sized paper decorations and paper chains — an affordable, yet effective way to instantly transform a room. Talking Tables has a wide range, to help you create your desired look.

Alternatively to be more effective and eco-friendly you could make your own paper chains, using upcycled wrapping paper.

18. Dress your table to impress

Blue dining room with Christmas decorated dining table and chairs below hanging wreath

(Image credit: Future)

Your guests will have dressed up so make sure your home is adequately attired too. A striking arrangement of foliage above the dining table will add a sense of occasion – easy to do you can simply bend some pliable twigs, such as willow, and fasten with garden twine. For further visual impact fill large glass vessels with seasonal foliage and berries. Accessorise with a cluster of tapered candles for added drama.

19. Make a table centrepiece

Christmas decorated terrarium centerpiece on table

(Image credit: Future)

Christmas is not the season for shrinking violets; instead it's the perfect excuse to really go for it with accessories. A quirky terrarium filled with seasonal foliage and baubles is all you need to create a statement Christmas table centrepiece idea with a twist.

20. Serve festive drinks

Three glasses with orange juice in on grey placemats

(Image credit: Future)

Festive tipples are always an instant win for Christmas parties. Try spiced cider as an alternative to mulled wine or really wow you your guests with a serving of home-made vodka.

Simply dissolve 100g of caster sugar in a pan of 100ml water, simmer for 3-4minutes. Leave to cool then add clementine and zest, leave somewhere cool for 24 hours. Strain the mixture and hey presto you have yourself a flavoured vodka for Christmas cocktails. Serve in pretty glass tumblers and garnish with sprigs of edible berries for a festive flourish.

21. Turn a dresser into a glamorous bar

Glass drinks cupboard bar containing alcohol and glasses

(Image credit: Future)

Convert an existing storage space or dresser into a drinks station. Here, wallpaper-lined walls and glass fronted doors create a dazzling display space for coloured glassware and a selection of everyone's favourite seasonal tipples. The built-in shelves makes a great drinks prep and serving space. Keeping wine and spirits out on display rather than hidden away creates a warm and hospitable feel in a house full of guests.

22. Dress a console table for a buffet

Wooden console with plates, Christmas decorations and treats

(Image credit: Future)

For a more relaxed Christmas party, load up a console table with party food and allow guests to help themselves, buffet style. A smart runner and a vase of decorated branches will add a festive party feel.

23. Blow up festive balloons

Grey dining room with table and chairs with Christmas decorations and balloons next to Christmas tree.

(Image credit: Future)

Balloons are the easy way to make a big impact when it comes to party decorations. Set a sleek dining table with gleaming candlesticks and sparkling crystal to make a Christmas or New Year bash go off with a bang.

Tie white balloons to mini decorative weights with lengths of ric-rac braid, ribbon or tinsel and surround the table.

24. Make sure your party sparkles

Christmas desert with sparklers on white plate

(Image credit: Future PLC/Stuart West)

Want your dinner party to go off with a bang? Add small sparklers to each place setting to create a sense of drama. Just don't allow them near the brandy-soaked Christmas pudding.

25. Light up your garden

Exterior of house with lights in trees, bushes and stone pathway.

(Image credit: Future)

Show guests the way to your Christmas party with decorative outdoor Christmas lights. Here, three faux rattan stars make an eye-catching contrast against the leafy hedge, while a rope of mains-powered outdoor fairy lights entices people through the arch. Use fairy lights as up-lighters rather than all-over decorations to subtly draw attention to key features in your garden.

How can I decorate my room for a Christmas party?

There are so many ways you can decorate a space for throwing a party this Christmas. Firstly, things depend on where the party will be centred. If most guests will be in and around a living room, or you have an open-plan area, then of course the tree plays a major role in dressing the room. If people tend to congregate in your kitchen, add a mini Christmas tree into the kitchen.

Lighting is key at every party, but never more so than at Christmas. Layer up candles and fairy lights to achieve the perfect twinkly vibe. Also consider your foliage - swathes of holly, ivy and eucalyptus, and well as pots of the ever-present poinsettia, set that festive theme. Finally, who is the party for? If it’s family friendly, include homemade paper garlands and a hot choc station, as well as tactfully removing any breakable decorations.

How do you throw the best Christmas party?

Throwing a great party is actually much easier than you might think! Get your Christmas party ideas into action by first decorating the space you’re using to host in, but also remember to include a welcoming wreath at your door and a few decorations in other areas guests might be using, such as a bathroom - a string of fairy lights and a simple display of holly can be incredibly effective.

Next, make sure drinks are easily accessible - pre-made cocktails in jigs for ease, or prepare a drinks station so people can easily help themselves. If you’re not serving dinner, make sure canapés are truly bitesize - nothing’s more awkward than trying to hold a plate as well as your champagne glass. Cater to kids if they’re invited too, perhaps have a small crafts corner with little activities like card making and even a pick and mix station. On second thoughts, the latter is a good one for the adults, too!

What do you do at a Christmas party?

Christmas parties are a wonderful opportunity to gather and spend time with friends and family before - or on - the big day. While you can, of course, plan games, usually people enjoy this time to be more relaxed and to be used as a chance to socialise. If you prefer a more structured approach, Secret Santa always goes down well, and helps break the ice.

Christmas quizzes are a fun addition, different groups of guests could take turns in hosting rounds. Plus, it’s been long enough since the great Zoom quiz run of 2020 that we’re back to enjoying these once more!

We hope you've enjoyed these Christmas party ideas as much as we've enjoyed writing about them. Time to get planning!

Thea Babington-Stitt is a Content Editor on Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for nearly 10 years. 

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.