How to Throw the Christmas Cocktail Party of the Season

Updated February 24, 2022
Happy couple drinking wine on Christmas

The holidays are a perfect time to throw a cocktail party, whether you're hosting friends and neighbors in your home or celebrating with co-workers or clients. Share the merriment of the season by planning a fun Christmas cocktail party to celebrate with friends and family.

Christmas Cocktail Party Themes and Drinks

Any holiday party can be a lot of fun, but when you add a theme, you take it to the next level. Try these fabulous Christmas party themes for your cocktail gathering.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

Christmas ugly sweater day

Encourage your guests to wear an ugly Christmas sweater for the holiday cocktail party. The tackier they dress themselves, the better. Host a contest and hand out awards for different categories, such as The Tackiest, Best Handmade, Most Original and Most Festive. A festive get-together deserves a festive holiday drink, such as a candy cane martini.

Gingerbread House Decorating Party

Decorating gingerbread house

A holiday party that provides the guests with a fun craft project they can take home after the party is always a winner in people's books. Opt for pre-assembled gingerbread houses so guests can get straight into decorating. Set out the decorating essentials, such as candies, icing bags, and other sugar decorations that will help the guests bring to life their gingerbread house masterpieces. Of course the natural pairing here is the sweet, spicy gingerbread martini.

Holiday Brunch

Christmas Brunch Buffet

It's 5 o'clock somewhere, and nothing beats a festive holiday cocktail brunch. Whether you are cooking from scratch or picking up items from your local bakery or supermarket, opt for popular brunch items, such as pancakes, waffles, muffins, donuts, savory quiches, and egg bites that will pair well with mimosas, peach bellinis, or spiked hot cocoa.

Christmas Movie Party

Group of friends eating popcorn and watching a Christmas movie

Gather with family and friends for a Christmas movie night cocktail get-together. If weather permits, you can plan to host your party out in the backyard, so guests can have extra room to enjoy hot Christmas drinks and mingle before the movie starts. Set up a popcorn bar with fun toppings, including crushed peppermint, cinnamon, chocolate chips, caramel sauce, cocoa powder, and marshmallows.

Winter Wonderland Costume Party

Group of friends toasting in a Christmas terrace party

Transform your space into a winter wonderland and invite guests to dress in winter costumes that are perfect for the holidays. Costumes can be themed characters, such as Elsa from Frozen, Frosty The Snowman, or simply a sparkly wintery outfit to fit the party theme. Set out chilly peppermint martinis for guests to enjoy while they socialize.

Pottery Painting Workshop

Young woman painting Nutcracker on Christmas ceramics

Book a pottery studio to host your next holiday party. Guests can select a fun pottery piece to paint, ranging from holiday mugs to serving trays. Plan delicious holiday appetizers and Christmas mocktails to get in the spirit.

Cookie Swap Get-Together

Plate with a big selection of Christmas cookies

Host a casual cookie swap get-together for a day filled with sharing holiday cookies (no calorie counting allowed) and sipping delicious cocktails with family and friends. Set up platters for guests to place their cookies so everyone can share cookies and swap recipes. Pair this fun gathering with a mistletoe margarita to keep the party going.

Traditional Christmas Cocktail Party Drink Ideas

Christmas pink peppermint martini

If you're more of a traditionalist, gather friends in their festive finery, offer passed appetizers or a traditional holiday buffet, and provide alcoholic eggnog or hot buttered rum. Alternatively, enjoy a gin-forward classic martini for a crisp, simple holiday drink.

Tips for Your Holiday Cocktail Party

Ready to invite friends in for some holiday cheer? Make sure your cocktail party is on-point with the following tips.

Food

For parties hosted at restaurants and hotels, you'll have limited control over the menu. However, if you're taking care of the food yourself, you can go crazy with fun and simple-to-make hors d'oeurves your guests will love.

Assorted dark chocolate truffles

Along with the stand by options of a cheese board and a veggie tray or traditional food and cocktail pairings, consider these great recipes:

  • Serve individual shrimp cocktails in shot glasses so guests can easily grab one without having to manage a plate. Add a holiday flair by garnishing the red cocktail sauce with a bit of avocado. Serve it alongside a savory gibson martini.
  • Call to mind a traditional holiday meal by serving tasty cranberry recipes. If you're cooking with cranberries, pair it with the ultimate cranberry drink, the cosmopolitan cocktail.
  • The perfect one-bite appetizer for any cocktail party, stuffed mushroom caps are easy to prepare ahead of time. Add a pimento-stuffed green olive slice to the top of each mushroom for a festive flair. Pair them with a pomegranate martini garnished with burgundy colored pomegranate seeds.
  • It's the holidays, so you'll need to have a few tasty dessert options too. Truffles are a great choice because they are easy to eat while mingling. Or, make truffles in a glass with these elegant Godiva chocolate cocktails.

Decorations

It's easiest to decorate if you choose a basic theme. The type of decorations you choose will depend on whether you want your party to call to mind a specific holiday or keep things all-inclusive. Try some of these ideas:

  • Snowflakes - For a non-specific holiday party, choose a snowflake decorating theme. Hang up sparkling decorations and DIY paper snowflakes.
  • Red and green - Red and green are ideal holiday decorating colors. Try red tablecloths decorated with a simple, fresh green holly or evergreen centerpiece of swag.
  • Evergreen - Contact your local florist or nursery to get evergreen garlands. Wrap them around railing and fireplace mantels to give your home an elegant and festive look.
  • Gold and silver - Another non-specific decorating option is a simple gold and silver theme. Use lots of metallic candle holders, available at any craft store.

Don't Forget Music

Background music helps people socialize, filling what might be awkward silences with festive tunes. Depending on the type of party you're having, you may want to set up a stereo with a playlist of Christmas music or secular holiday songs. If you prefer to stay away from anything overtly Christmas-related, you could also choose some great jazz tunes or other nice background music.

Make the Season Bright

Planning a holiday cocktail party doesn't have to add to the stress of the season. With a little preparation and the right food and drinks, your guests will have a wonderful time, and so will you.

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How to Throw the Christmas Cocktail Party of the Season