When you’re hosting a Christmas party at home, it helps to have a killer theme. Themes are a great way to add an extra measure of fun and also some structure to your party. And with this ultimate list of Christmas party themes for adults, you’re all set for an awesome night with friends. The hardest part will be choosing which theme you want to use!
You’ve got 36 to pick from, and I’ll keep adding to this list year after year. So if you know of a theme that I’ve missed, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it in!
For other holiday related posts, check out:
30 Stress-Free, Easy Christmas Party Ideas
Best Etsy Gifts for Entertaining
Gift Guide for the Everyday Hostess
Cranberry Salsa — an awesome holiday appetizer!
Holiday Charcuterie Board (with Aldi Cheese Board Ideas)
Let’s get to the Christmas party themes!
Gift Exchanges & Swaps
Everyone loves a good gift exchange or a swap. There’s just something fun about going to a party and not knowing what new present you’ll leave with. Which one of these is your favorite kind of exchange?
1. White Elephant/Yankee Swap/Dirty Santa
Each part of the country has a different name for this type of gift exchange. But no matter whether you call it White Elephant, Yankee Swap, or Dirty Santa, it’s guaranteed to be a whole lot of fun.
Basically, everyone brings some type of wrapped present — some are funny and some are actually nice. You draw numbers and based on the order of your numbers, you take turns picking out a present to open. The catch is, each person can choose to open a new present or to steal one that’s already been opened.
2. Ornament Exchange
At this party, everyone brings a wrapped ornament to exchange. To decide who gets which ornament, you can play by White Elephant rules or you can do something creative like the Left-Right game.
3. Scarf Swap
A friend told me about this fun swap. Everyone brings a scarf or some type of winter accessory — gloves, mittens, ear muffs, etc. and you get to pick something that you’d like.
4. My Favorite Things
A My Favorite Things party is one of my all-time favorite themes. We used to do it in our moms group, and it was the highlight of the year. Everyone brings 3 (or whatever number you determine) favorite things and shares with the group why that item is their favorite. I used to bring a jar of Nutella or a Sonic gift card, and others brought Burt’s Bee chapstick or a magazine or book that they liked. Then, you draw names to take turns choosing 3 new things to take home with you. So, so much fun!
5. Cookie Exchange
Everyone’s probably heard of a cookie exchange. Everyone makes 3 dozen cookies and places 1 dozen on a table for everyone to try at the party. The other 2 dozen go on another table where people take turns choosing a different 2 dozen to take home. (You see that the concept is the same at each of these parties.)
This past weekend my daughter’s preschool held a Cookie Walk which could be a fun variation of this theme for a party. Everyone brings 3 dozen cookies and puts 1 dozen on a table for everyone to share while at the party (like the normal cookie exchange). And then they each get a box and fill it with a variety of all the cookies on the table. I almost like this idea better than the original!
6. Christmas Sock Exchange
This is another creative idea from the same friend who told me about the Scarf Swap. In this one, everyone exchanges a pair of Christmas socks, but the twist is that each pair of socks is filled with stocking stuffers. How fun is that?
7. Baking Party
Christmas is the season for baking, and I love a good baking party because it’s casual and focuses on spending time with friends. One person hosts, and you spend the morning (or evening) baking Christmas treats. If you like to make food gifts to give to neighbors or friends, this is a great party. Pump up the Christmas music and enjoy your morning of socializing and baking!
- Baking Party Invitations
- Christmas Baking Printable
- Christmas Aprons
- Cookie Cutters
- Silicone Baking Mats
- Candy Making Supplies
8. Christmas Tea Party
If you like an elegant setting to celebrate Christmas with friends, a tea party is perfect. Everyone can dress up, and you can use your best tablecloth and china. For food, serve scones, tea sandwiches, dainty desserts, and of course, tea.
9. Pancakes & PJs
Winter is such a cozy time of year that all I ever want to do is curl up by the fire in my PJs. At a Pancakes & PJs party, you can do just that! You host the party in the morning and encourage everyone to come in their PJs for a Christmas brunch.
- Pancakes & Pajamas Printable Party Pack
- Christmas Pajamas
- Pancake Mix
- Pancake Mix Dispenser
- Electric Griddle
10. Hot Chocolate Bar
After trudging through the cold, there’s nothing better than coming inside for a warm cup of hot chocolate. Make a batch of homemade hot chocolate and set out all kinds of toppings from marshmallows to Andes mints for everyone to customize their mug.
- Hot Chocolate Bar Invitations
- Hot Chocolate Bar Kit
- Candy Cane Spoons
- Disposable Coffee Cups, Sleeves, Lids, & Stirrers
11. Gingerbread House Decorating
Another return to your childhood. You can either buy a gingerbread house decorating kit or make your own houses with a template. Then provide plenty of icing and candy for everyone to make the house of their dreams.
- 2-Story Inn Gingerbread House Template
- Homemade Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter Set
- Gingerbread House Ornament Favors
- Gingerbread House Favor Boxes
12. Christmas Cookie Decorating
Why should kids get all of the cookie decorating fun? Make some sugar cookie dough, dust off those cookie cutters, and provide some icing and festive sprinkles for an adults-only decorating party
- Cookie Decorating Kit
- Party Printables
- 18-piece Cookie Cutter Set
- Wilton Icing Colors
13. Fondue Party
A fondue party is a great way to build community. Everyone sitting around the fondue pot, dipping and talking, is a great way to spend an evening. Start off with cheese (you can even buy it packaged here. My family eats it every Christmas Eve. I promise it’s really good!) and then move on to chocolate. Don’t forget all of the yummy dippers!
- Fondue Bar Sign
- Electric Fondue Pot
- Fondue Cookbook
- Cheese Fondue Mix
- Toblerone Chocolate (for Chocolate Fondue)
14. Chocolate Bar
We talked about a hot chocolate bar, but now we’re talking about an all-out chocolate dessert bar. From pies to fudge and from cake to chocolate chip cookies, who wouldn’t love a night of all-chocolate desserts?!
15. Feliz Navidad
Enjoy a Mexican fiesta while listening to Feliz Navidad on repeat. Ask everyone to bring a dish to help spread the load and you’ll get a wide variety of foods — tacos, enchiladas, burritos, chips & salsa. Who doesn’t love Mexican food?
16. Christmas Around the World
If you have friends who have traveled internationally or better yet, are from other countries, host a Christmas Around the World party. Ask everyone to bring a dish from their favorite country and play Christmas games from around the world, too.
17. Christmas Escape Room
Have you tried an Escape Room before? Basically, you are “locked” in a room where clues are hidden, but as you find the clues and put them together, you “escape” from the room. It’s a really fun group activity because you have to work together to solve the puzzles.
18. Scavenger Hunt
I probably don’t need to describe a basic scavenger hunt to you, but just in case, guests are divided into two teams and given a list of items that they have to collect — either in the room, in the neighborhood, or around town. Whoever gets the most items in the time allotted wins.
Have you ever done a video scavenger hunt before, though? I’m a sucker for a good video scavenger hunt (and pictures are fun, too!). Guests are divided into two teams and given a list of activities to video or places and items to take pictures of — no matter what, one of the team members has to appear in the video or photo. Is it a little embarrassing to run around town making videos? Yes, it is, but that’s part of the fun. I still remember making a video of my team in high school going through a drive-thru and ordering a cup of ice with no water and a cup of water with no ice. Silly but good, clean fun.
19. Murder Mystery Party
Christmas is not the time of year that most think of hosting a murder mystery party, but why not? The kits give you everything you need for a themed murder mystery, and all you have to do is plan a food course for each “act” of the game.
20. Wrapping Party
At a wrapping party, everyone brings a roll of wrapping paper and any presents they need to wrap. You share wrapping paper with each other, wrap your presents, and just enjoy being together while still getting your Christmas to-do list checked off.
21. 12 Days of Christmas
At a 12 Days of Christmas party, you can serve 12 different courses or dishes or invite 11 guests and each of you make one dish, maybe a favorite appetizer. Then you can play games and sing the song, of course.
22. Christmas in Hawaii
Instead of doing Christmas in July, bring the beach to Christmas instead with a Hawaiian luau. Dress in grass skirts and Hawaiian shirts, eat summer themed food, and play Mele Kalikimaka in the background.
23. Ornament Decorating
Buy a bunch of glass or plastic ornaments and spend an evening decorating them together. Here’s a great article with 25 different ways to decorate them.
24. Trim the Tree
How about decorating your Christmas tree with friends and family instead of just with immediate family? You provide snacks and maybe a fun DIY garland station. Here are some fun ideas for a tree trimming party.
25. Christmas Craft Party
26. Minute to Win It
My family plays Minute to Win It games every holiday season, and they are so much fun. All of your guests are divided into teams, and you race against the clock to do all kinds of crazy things like try to get an Oreo from your forehead to your mouth without touching it or hooking as many candy canes as you can using a candy cane that’s sticking out of your mouth.
27. Christmas Bunco
Play your regular Bunco game, but make sure all of the prizes and food are Christmas-themed. Each time someone wins a round, pass them this festive boa to wear.
28. Holiday Talent Show
Gather up some friends or neighbors and host your first annual Holiday Talent Show! Everyone has a talent to share, and if you’re lucky, someone’s talent will be playing piano or guitar and your party can turn into a Christmas carol sing-a-long.
29. Christmas Caroling Party
Speaking of Christmas carols, an old classic that you don’t find anymore is a Christmas Caroling Party. Invite a group of friends to go around your neighborhood, ringing doorbells and singing Christmas carols for your neighbors. It’s especially fun if some of them can sing in 4-part harmony.
30. Christmas Karaoke
31. Sound of Music Sing-a-Long
I have no idea why “My Favorite Things” became a Christmas song, but hey — I’m not complaining. If you have a good set-up for a group to watch a movie, host a Sound of Music Sing-a-Long. Usually you want everyone to be quiet during a movie, but this time, you want everyone to sing all the songs from “Do-Re-Mi” to “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”. (And if none of your friends know the songs, then it’s time to get some new friends — KIDDING!).
Movie & Dress-Up Themes
32. Whoville or Grinch Party
Channel your inner Grinch and host a Grinch or Whoville party. Fix Who Pudding and “Roast Beast” as well as lots of green foods. Pick one of the Grinch movies to watch (my favorite is the classic, but I’ve heard good things about the new one, too).
33. Elf Party
Elf has to be one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. It’s definitely one of my family’s favorites. A friend of mine hosts an Elf party every year, and she actually serves spaghetti with maple syrup and candy as options for toppings. This one is a fun one to watch all together.
34. Christmas Story
Another Christmas classic for my family. You have to serve food from this movie: mashed potatoes to mirror the little brother’s “Momm’s little piggy!” and Chinese food for the Christmas turkey mishap.
35. Dickens Christmas
Want to travel back in time and celebrate Christmas with Scrooge and Tiny Tim? Invite your friends to dress in period costumes and eat a big turkey meal.
Best of Christmas Party Themes for Adults
36. Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
You didn’t think I was going to leave the Ugly Christmas Sweater out, did you?! One of the best Christmas party ideas around! Go awkward with ugly Christmas sweaters. Give out awards, decorate ugly sweater cookies, and go on a selfie scavenger hunt. Enjoy this classic Christmas party — it never gets old.
- Voting Printables
- Ugly Sweater Selfie Scavenger Hunt
- Photo Booth Props
- Ugly Sweater Paper Straws
- Ugly Sweater Cookie Decorating Kit
Swish! That is a TON of Christmas party themes. Now you will be sure to find a fun party idea! Which one will you use this Christmas?
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