Winter Party Themes

Mary Gormandy White
Winter Gathering of Friends

Winter party themes can keep the season enjoyable as the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop. There are dozens of themes party planners can choose from depending on what activities and mood they want to set.

Ideas for Winter Party Themes

There are several different types of winter themes suitable for all types of parties, from fun pajama parties to elegant dinner parties. Here are a number of options you may want to consider.

Classic Winter Themes

Classic winter themes embrace the beauty and richness of the winter months by using snow, ice, and other seasonal accents as the central focus of the party theme.

Winter Sports Party
  • Snow: The purity and simplicity of fresh fallen snow is perfect for an easy winter theme. The party could include a snowball fight, making snowmen, cutting paper snowflakes, snacking on snow cones, or just enjoying the beauty of the season with white decorations and ice-blue accents.
  • Winter Wonderland: This magical theme incorporates the season's fantasy aspects along with simple snow details. Sleigh rides, ice sculptures, ornate snowflake decorations, and iced drinks are perfect for an elegant winter wonderland theme. Go with elegant foods that carry out the "white" decor such as petit fours covered with white fondant and finger sandwiches.
  • North Pole: Younger party guests will enjoy a North Pole theme that includes a play sled dog expedition, polar bears, Eskimos, and maybe a glimpse of Santa's elves. Decorate with an Arctic white color scheme or create a setting that looks like Santa's workshop. Serve hot cocoa, wassail, warm cookies and other cold-weather treats.
  • Antarctic Adventure: This icy theme is fun and adventurous. Penguin decorations are the perfect decorations for this theme, as are dog sleds, snow skis and other outdoorsy cold weather symbols. Pretend you're around a cold-weather campfire and tell ghost stories or sing a few favorite songs. Serve the kind of hearty fare you'd need to stay warm and keep nourished on this type of trip, such as beef stew, thick slices of hearty bread and hot beverages.
  • Winter Sports: It's easy to plan a winter party around a favorite seasonal sport. Ice skating, sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and winter hiking are athletic options that can be accompanied by group lessons or trying a completely new chilly sport. Serve trail mix, sandwiches, hot dogs and other treats that you'd be able to enjoy while participating in or watching these types of activities. Take along sports-theme decorations that can double as party favors - such as pom-poms for skates or cool-looking sunglasses.
  • Chilly Friends: Animal-loving guests will enjoy winter party themes involving a variety of winter animals. Arctic foxes, polar bears, penguins, beluga whales, harp seals, reindeer, moose, snowshoe rabbits, and elk are familiar winter animals, and the party could include a trip to a zoo to meet them face-to-face. Serve popcorn, sausage dogs and other treats that you can typically purchase at zoos and animal parks, even if you hold the party at home.
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  • Penguin Party: Penguins are the most popular cold weather animals, and an entire party could be themed around these quirky birds. Penguin movies such as March of the Penguins or Happy Feet are the perfect entertainment, and guests could wear all black and white to blend in with the flock. Serve black and white foods - like brownies with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream sundaes topped with chocolate syrup.
  • Hot Cocoa: Warm up the season with a hot cocoa party. Guests will delight in unique flavors of chocolates and warm teas, and hosts could arrange a hot chocolate buffet with different mixings such as peppermint chips, whipped cream, marshmallows, cinnamon, butterscotch, caramel, and other decadent treats. Chocolate scented candles and chocolate dipped mixing spoons are tasty accents that serve double duty as decorations.

Holiday and Event Themes

From Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day, there are several holidays and events during the winter months that are perfect for winter party themes.

  • Thanksgiving: Offer thanks for a bountiful crop of friends by throwing a Thanksgiving themed party or dinner. Decorate with traditional turkey, pilgrim and cornucopia pieces and serve a traditional turkey feast complete with all the trimmings.
  • Winter Solstice: Celebrate the official start of winter on December 21 with a winter solstice party. This theme may include the history of pagan rituals and other seasonal celebrations as well as simply warming up the cold with the company of friends. Display seasonal decor and serve warming winter treats including meatballs, sausage, hot spinach dip and more.
  • Shopping Party
    Shopping: Organizing a holiday shopping party is a great way to turn frustration into fun while hitting the crowded malls. An alternative is to hold a gift wrap party, where each guest brings different wraps and accents so every gift looks spectacular. Use glass bowls filled with bows and name tags as functional decorations and serve a casual menu featuring sandwiches, fruit and cheese trays and chips.
  • Christmas: Christmas parties are one of the most popular winter themes. This type of celebration may include a wide variety of decorations, fun games, gift-giving, and dining on tasty treats ranging from yummy appetizers to traditional meals.
  • Kwanzaa: It is a well-known fact that Kwanzaa is an important winter cultural celebration for individuals with African roots and Kwanzaa party decorations should reflect this heritage. Serve a combination of traditional African favorites and Southern dishes such as those indicated on Celebrating-Kwanzaa.com. Popular activities include joint preparation of the feast, candle-lighting and book swapping.
  • Hanukkah: Celebrations of Hanukkah are important traditions for individuals of the Jewish faith and are characterized by gathering of loved ones together. Hanukkah party decorations should be simple and should include a menorah. Traditional fare includes latkes, challah and more.
  • New Years: Celebrating New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are popular party options to ring in the new year. Whether the parties are in the evening or during the day, they are a great way to start a new year. Decorations can range from casual party hats and noise makers to elegant ribbons and floral displays in crystal vases. Champagne is a must, as are delicious finger foods.
  • Super Bowl: In late January or early February, sports fans can celebrate one of the biggest sporting events of the year with a pigskin party dedicated to their favorite team. Decorate in team colors and serve hearty favorites like chili, burgers, hot dogs, cheesy dips, chicken wings, chips and more. Set up at least two television viewing areas for maximum enjoyment.
    Valentine's Party
  • Valentine's Day: Romantic parties aren't just for couples, and the mid-winter doldrums can be chased away with a sweetheart party on February 14. Decorate with red hearts and Cupid characters, and serve foods often associated with romance like chocolate covered strawberries, elegant finger foods and champagne or sparkling grape juice.
  • Academy Awards Night: The stars come out in late February, and a movie-themed party is a fun way to choose award winners, share popcorn, and cast ballots for favorite flicks. Consider having guests dress up like their favorite stars and roll out the proverbial red carpet for their arrival. In addition to popcorn, serve oversized glasses of soda, peanuts and theater-size boxes of chocolate candy.

Warm Winter Themes

Winter themes don't need to be confined to chilly choices. A quirky alternative to classic themes is to opt for a warm-up-the-winter party with a tropical motif.

Enjoy a Winter Luau

Options include:

  • Luau: Hula skirts, palm trees, and coconut drinks are a great way to forget the winter freeze. Decorate with silk flowers and adorn guests with leis and grass skirts. Serve roast pork, pineapple, and other tasty tropical delights.
  • Indoor Beach Party: Hit a local pool or enclosed hot tub for a sandy celebration even while the snow falls. Serve a beach picnic complete with sandwiches, coleslaw, potato chips and other goodies. Decorate with beach pails and sea shells to complete the mood.
  • Caribbean: Vibrant colors, reggae music, spicy foods, and tropical libations lend a decidedly Caribbean air to any event, no matter where or when it takes place. Consider holding a limbo dance competition for the most brave and limber guests and play Calypso music throughout the event.

Don't Forget the Details

There are dozens of winter party themes to choose from, but the key to a successful event is not just the theme, but how it is carried out. The less conventional the theme, the more coordination is necessary between invitations, food, decorations, favors, games, music, and other necessary party elements. By choosing an appropriate theme, however, party hosts can easily coordinate a stunning celebration to liven up the winter months and warm up friendships all year round.

Winter Party Themes