KATY MAGAZINE l DECEMBER 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
Don't let baking, wrapping gifts and decorating cause you stress this season. Instead, round up your family and friends and turn these holiday must-dos into a memorable and fun party.
Photo courtesy Shelley Belin. First grade teachers at Bonnie Holland Elementary.
1. Ugly Sweater Parties
We all have them. Those "fashionably questionable" sweaters that may have been past gifts or past trends. Don't let that level of festive cheer go to waste. If it's not a chilly night, sweat it out with friends. Many retailers have caught onto the popularity of such parties and now purposely make deliberately ugly sweaters to meet a variety of themes and styles. Have a contest and see who can find the most hideous one. A festive backdrop will make your ugly sweater photos even more fun.
2. Wreath Making Parties
Friends everywhere in Katy are hosting in-home wreath making parties to add to the holiday merriment. At the party, there is usually a designated leader who instructs the group on basic how-to steps. It's much easier than you think and the finished products look amazing. Each guest will get a sense of accomplishment by adding their own special touches to the project and will have a beautiful keepsake to take home.
Schedule this craft party, complete with snacks, drinks and friends, early in December. Then, for the rest of the holiday season you can enjoy your work, while relishing in the memories from your fun ladies' party.
Photo of a recent wreath party at Cane Island. Photo courtesy Jodi Black
3. Holiday Cookie Bake and Exchanges
Everyone needs some holiday cookie sweetness this time of year! Crank up the Christmas music and gather friends and family to share favorite holiday recipes. Or, turn your kitchen into a baking class and teach the kids to make seasonal sweets to share and exchange. Inexpensive tins can hold baked goods, perfect for teacher gifts!
For big kid fun, get the girls together to bake treats over a glass of wine or eggnog. Consider collecting all of your recipes for a digital cookbook - the gift that will keep on giving.
4. Christmas Vacation Parties
An adults-only fun themed party is a Christmas Vacation Party where guests come as their favorite character from the movie. Have fun dressing as Clark or Ellen Griswold, Cousin Eddie, Aunt Bethany, Russ, or one of the snooty yuppies next door. Make sure your house is decorated with gaudy Christmas lights and play the movie at the party. Serve eggnog from moose glasses (available on Amazon.com) and have a squirrel hiding in your giant Christmas tree.
5. Polar Express Pajama Parties
Celebrate like a true believer with family and friends for a Polar Express Pajama Party, complete with hot chocolate. Or, turn this party theme into a neighborhood event.
Get the younger viewers into the holiday spirit by having them write letters to Santa. Then collect and mail them. At the party, set up a station where the kids can color their "ticket" to the Polar Express.
If you really want to go all out, talk to the parents in advance and have them pre-make a special ticket for each child to get to take home as an unforgettable party favor.
6. Wrapping Parties
Get your wrapping done while having fun with others by hosting a present wrapping get together. Each guest brings some unwrapped gifts and a few rolls of wrapping paper and the host usually supplies the rest. Serve libations and finger foods and play Christmas carols to add the festivities. If you have a particularly talented gift wrapper, have them teach the guests a few tricks and tips.
7. Interactive Movie Parties
How many times have you watched a holiday cinematic classic and shouted out the lines? You're not alone. Celebrate the magic of the season by re-enacting those favorite films with friends and family. Coordinate the evening's menu to match the movie or play it safe with potluck.
Select a movie for all ages like "Elf" or pick a something a little more grownup like "Christmas Vacation," whatever suits your audience. Afterwards, play a movie-themed trivia game, charades or pictionary. You can also check Alamo Drafthouse's upcoming schedule for special holiday showings and bring a group of your friends.
8. Crafts and Gingerbread House Parties
The holidays bring out the best in comfortably crafty people. But the season also inspires those who wouldn't post to Pinterest to get bold and go for it.
Start with a couple of packages of clear plastic (or glass) ornaments to share. Then fill them confetti (snow flakes) or decorate the outside with kids' fingerprint art and a festive ribbon - the possibilities are endless! The internet provides great ideas for decorating Christmas stockings or creating keepsakes with pictures, baby foot prints, and more. Have fun exchanging ideas and learning new creative tips, and maybe you'll be inspired into making homemade gifts.
Store-bought gingerbread house kits have evolved to create different sized buildings, trains and more. Get creative with toppings and hold a contest to boost some competition.
The Mezger Family. Photograph by Samantha Martin Photography
9. Giving Parties
With all the fun ideas in this holiday party list, the meaning of the season extends beyond throwing the best party.
Have any kind of Christmas party and in lieu of gifts or a gift exchange have guests contribute funds or gifts for a worthwhile Katy cause. Katy Christian Ministries, Hope Impacts, Katy ISD's Santa Cops, The Ballard House, and Toys for Tots are all worthwhile organizations that you can support at your Giving Party. You can also take your kids toy shopping, not for themselves but for those children who are less fortunate and drop off at a Toys for Tots station in Katy. Share the reason for the season through example and serve.
Got big party plans? Got another fun party idea? Send us your best festive pics when following this party list!