Family Christmas Party Ideas That Jingle All the Way

Updated November 11, 2021
Family popping Christmas crackers together at dining table

If you're planning a special holiday family gathering, get inspired with this selection of festive family Christmas party ideas to kick off the holiday spirit. Whether you're planning something low-key and relaxed or elaborate and ostentatious, you probably have one particular goal you'd like to achieve: make the event meaningful for the entire family.

Location, Location, Location

If you'd rather not have your party at home, consider booking a table at a restaurant everyone loves, renting a hall in a community facility, or holding the event in a recreation room if you or another relative lives somewhere that offers one. When considering a location, decide who will be invited to the party. Will you be inviting just close family members or opening it up to the extended family? Accommodating a specific number of people is an important factor when deciding on a party location. You will want to have plenty of room for all your guests.

Festive Food

If you decide that your Christmas gathering will center around traditional family recipes, don't take on the task of preparing everything yourself. Instead, ask family members for help. Each person could bring one of their favorite family recipes to the party, or you can assemble a few cooks in the kitchen to help you with the task. Every family has recipes that are special to them, so think of a few that are significant to yours and serve them this season. For example, do you have your grandmother's secret apple pie recipe? If so, print it out on recipe cards and share it with the rest of your family at the party. Prepare that recipe for dessert and enjoy it as a family.

Throw a "Dinner" Party

Don't worry. You don't need to ask your family to show up in their fanciest attire for a big to-do being held in the comfy confines of your humble abode. This holiday season, put a twist on the traditional dinner party by centering the meal on one particular food or cuisine. A few examples include:

Pizza Party

Pizza Christmas Party

Pizza is always a crowd-pleaser no matter the occasion, so why not incorporate it into a holiday gathering? Whether you are building pizzas ahead or inviting relatives to give you a hand in the kitchen, spread cheer and bring the holiday spirit into your home with festive pizza designs, such as a wreath pizza and pull-apart Christmas tree pizza bites. Complement your holiday gathering with wine that pairs well with your pizza toppings and kid-friendly drink options.

Breakfast for Dinner

Build a buffet style breakfast serving traditional American breakfast items but with a fun holiday flair--gingerbread or cranberry orange pancakes, brown sugar thick-cut bacon, eggnog waffles, and peppermint mocha muffins make an irresistible breakfast spread. If you own a Keurig machine, be sure to include holiday-flavored coffee, tea, and hot cocoa into your menu.

Traditional Christmas Dinner

Sharing a traditional Christmas dinner is always something relatives look forward to during the holiday season. Whether you opt for a Christmas buffet style or serve it formally, you can almost guarantee that will please relatives and friends alike. In addition to ham or turkey, plan a variety of side dishes including brussels sprouts with balsamic and cranberries, green beans with warm bacon dressing, and scalloped potatoes, for instance. Last but not least, include a spreadh of holiday desserts.

Pasta Night

Whether you are planning a sophisticated or casual pasta dinner, narrow down to 2-3 pasta recipes that are simply perfection for holiday gatherings and appeal to most guests. If you are either in charge of all the preparation or inviting relatives to help you join in on the fun of pasta making, a holiday dinner centered around pasta won't disappoint. Complete your dinner with a homemade garlic bread and wines that pair well with your choices of pasta dishes for a fun-filled night with great food and special friends.

Holiday Appetizer Swap

If keeping it easy and stress-free is your goal for a holiday gathering this year, a holiday appetizer swap get-together might be a great option to keep things low-key. It's also a great way to take the stress away from planning a holiday menu from beginning to end when you encourage your guests to bring an appetizer they love to share with others.

Don't Forget the Kids

It's highly likely that children will be in attendance. A few seasonal Christmas party games will ensure that the kids get into the holiday spirit and have a great time doing so.

Family playing a game over Christmas

Human Christmas Trees

This is one tree you won't spend too much time taking down. Separate the kids into equal groups. One person from each group is named the "tree." The remaining members are then given the task of decorating the "tree" with tinsel, garlands, and ornaments. Just be sure the ornaments are safe and shatterproof.

Snowman Contest

If you are lucky enough to have snow on Christmas, gather everyone together for a snowman sculpting contest. Divide your family members into teams and see who creates the best snowman using natural items they find outdoors. You can give prizes for biggest, smallest, and most creative snowmen masterpieces.

Snowball Throw

Separate players into pairs. One player tosses one marshmallow into the other fellow player's mouth who tries to catch it. The team gains a point every time a marshmallow is caught.

Jingle in the Trunk

Attach a festive ribbon to an empty tissue box. Place 12 jingle bells inside the box and tie it around the players' waists. Players must get all 12 jingle bells out of the box by dancing, prancing or doing the jingle bell hop. Be sure to play holiday upbeat music to get the kids into the spirit.

Rudolph's Red Nose

Cut a piece of ribbon (approx. 6-7 inches) and hot glue a craft medium pompom to the end of the ribbon. Players must apply a dab of vaseline to their noses and swing the ribbon/red nose to successfully "stick" the red pompom to their noses. Players must land five red pompoms onto their noses within the 60-second time limit to complete the game.

Christmas Character Guess Who?

Print out the holiday cards below, cut them out, and add double-sided tape to the back of each card. If you need help downloading, check out the guide for Adobe printables. Place cards facing down so players can randomly pick one and attach to their foreheads without peeking. Set the timer for 1 minute. Each player must ask super quick "yes" or "no" questions to figure out which classic Christmas characters they are.

Christmas Character Guess Who?

Fun for All Ages

People of all ages can enjoy a variety of holiday activities. Some ideas to include that will appeal to kids and adults are:

Jingle All the Way

If gathering the family together for a Christmas celebration is long overdue, unique holiday party ideas that will make the season extra magical and memorable for everyone should be on your top list. Whether you are planning to invite immediate family members only or a few of your very close friends, make it one to remember by covering all aspects, from a festive holiday food menu to Christmas games to get everyone into the holiday spirit.

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Family Christmas Party Ideas That Jingle All the Way