1. A Christmas Story
Arguably one of the most famous holiday movies around, A Christmas Story takes place in the 1940s. Center your party theme around typical holiday celebrations of that decade, scattering details from the Christmas movie favorite throughout the evening.
- Menu: The menu can feature favorites from the movie, such as duck and turkey. Compliment the entreés with other traditional holiday foods like cranberries and potatoes. Serve Coca-Cola in glass bottles, or even hire a soda jerk to scoop root beer floats and milkshakes to guests. For dessert, create a sweets table featuring the most popular candies of the 1940s, like Bit-o-Honey, black licorice, Bazooka Bubble Gum, Dots, Bonomo Turkish Taffy and Almond Joys, to name a few.
- Décor: Place traditionally-decorated Christmas trees throughout the venue. Also, consider featuring an actual life-size leg lamp as a focal piece. Guests will likely want to take photos with it, so place it in an accessible location. Finally, light the trees, tables and accent pieces with strands of Christmas lights to truly set holiday the mood.
- Entertainment: The movie focuses on young Ralphie’s quest to get Santa to bring him a Red Ryder BB gun. As entertainment, rent a chance game and let your guests choose between different A Christmas Story-themed prizes, such as a decoder pin, a bar of soap, a mini leg lamp, ornaments representing the movie and more.
2. Masquerade Ball
For the fancy holiday celebrators. This formal theme incorporates decorative masks to adorn the faces of all guests. If you go about this theme with enthusiasm and energy, you, too, could have an experience nearly as extravagant as the Phantom of the Opera.
- Colors: Though the holidays are typically a red-and-green or silver-and-gold time of year, a true masquerade usually incorporates a lot of purple and gold.
- Masks: The masks are some of the most important components to a successful masquerade holiday party. Be sure to specify to guests what kind of event this is well in advance, and encourage guests to buy their own masks so that they can coordinate with their dates’ masks and their own formalwear. Do not be surprised if some show up without a mask, which is why we suggest having a few extras to hand out to those unable to get one in time.
- Menu: Your menu should include appetizers, passed hors d’oeuvres and light finger foods. Think extravagant when planning this menu, but also realistic. This is the kind of occasion for which you should hire a serving staff to take care of walking the food around, making sure that guests aren’t hovering over a buffet table or sitting down the entire evening.
- Drinks: The bar will be an extremely important part of this experience. Start the evening off with champagne cocktails, setting the right mood for the rest of the evening. Once guests have been welcomed with a drink by a professionally dressed server, let those choosing to continue indulging in beverages approach one of the bars at their own discretion to order premium or top shelf drinks.
- Entertainment: Consider a string quartet, small orchestra or singing group to entertain for this type of holiday celebration. You will want an array of holiday music on the repertoire, of course, but also ask the band to play some of the more eerie, classical music pieces, including numbers from Phantom. Expect—and encourage—some dancing at this event.
3. Nightmare Before Christmas
This theme gives the holidays an entirely different look and feel, which is wonderful for those hosts and guests who are a bit worn out from the traditional holiday and Christmas party themes. Channel your inner Tim Burton with this gothic holiday party theme.
- Décor: Incorporate a lot of peculiar and dark décor into the party venue to create your atmosphere. Consider using tall, lanky iron bars throughout the main room as well as big, brass candelabras. Use a lot of black and ivory colors, and for lounge areas, rent tall, oblong armchairs and couches. Center furniture and décor around a fireplace, if the venue has one.
- Menu: Traditional old English is an appropriate cuisine for this party theme: roast poultry, vegetables, salads and soups. This theme is very versatile in that is fits well with small or large group sizes, and also with a seated dinner or buffet. It’s entirely your choice.
- Entertainment: A band or DJ would be fitting for this theme. Ask your entertainer to incorporate some of the more ominous and wacky songs into each set for added theme fun.
- Music: If a live band isn’t in your budget, create a playlist especially for this theme full of haunting holiday music. With both eerie Christmas classics and spooky takes on upbeat carols.
4. Santa’s Workshop
This holiday party theme is centered on charity. Make the theme of your organization’s holiday party “giving back.” Ask that each guest bring a toy for a child in need this holiday season. At the end of the evening, all gifts will be donated to a local toy drive.
- Menu: Any list of hors d’oeuvres, salads, entreés and sides will fit this theme. However, consider having decorated cookies and other treats that “elves” might like for dessert, since your guests will be the elves who fill up Santa’s sleigh with toys.
Décor: Dress up the venue like Santa’s Workshop with Christmas themed linens, colorful garlands, wreaths and strings of lights. Depending on how large the venue, section off a part of it for a large tree under which guests can put the gifts. If your budget allows, rent a large, decorated sleigh and have guests
put the toys directly into the back of it.
- Entertainment: To keep with the theme of giving to children, ask a children’s choir to perform a set of holiday songs to entertain guests after dinner.
- Auction: You might also want to consider having a silent auction at this event. Guests can bid on anything from vintage baseball cards to comic books to favorite toys of past generations. Anything that gets people excited about toys and the spirit of giving will make this night a hit.
5. The Chocolate Factory
If you’d like to incorporate whimsical fantasies into your company’s holiday party, try hosting a Willy Wonka-themed holiday soiree. Whether you call it “Candyland” or “The Chocolate Factory,” your venue should be big, unique and bold enough to encompass over-sized, quirky designs and an even bigger imagination.
- Menu: The menus can include a variety of entrée options. Ask your caterer if you can create a special sweet marinade or appetizers with a kick of sweetness to compliment the candy theme.
- Décor: Obviously, you’re going to want to incorporate as much candy into the décor as possible. Centerpieces can feature tall glass vases filled with different levels of sweets. Serving tables and platters should have candy scattered throughout. Decorate Christmas trees with candy bars and other chocolates and candies, and encourage guests to eat any of the edible décor.
- Entertainment: Any type of entertainment will do for this theme, whether you choose a live band, a DJ or otherwise. Along with music, include in the itinerary any small carnival games that you played as a child at a birthday party or fun fair.
- Favors: You’re definitely going to want to send guests home with a treat by which they can remember the sweets-filled evening. Personalized treats that guests can take home, such as cookies decorated with specific names, words or decoration on them, are the perfect take-away from an event theme like this. Also consider sending guests home with Willy Wonka brand candies in a Christmas goodie bag.
6. Snow and Ice
Take the white holiday theme to the extreme by turning your entire party into one big white extravaganza.
- Décor: Obviously, the décor for this event is all white. White linens, white china, white chairs, white Christmas trees with white ornaments and ribbon, etc. Decorate the back of each chair with white angel wings and add white “snowflakes” to your centerpieces and table tops.
- Complimentary color: Consider adding silver as your accent color to add a sparkle to the ambiance. Scatter small silver-wrapped gifts throughout the tablescape and bigger ones in corners of the room or under the white trees.
- Menu: Any menu items will do for this theme; you’re not just limited to white foods, although light colored foods would look best. Also, remember that if you will be asking your guests to wear white as well, you need to be mindful of the staining possibilities with finger foods and menu options before deciding on a red sauce-based menu.
- Entertainment: Consider hiring an a cappella group to entertain your guests, singing holiday classics including some of the songs made famous by White Christmas.
- Drinks: Again, think white. Some specialty drinks can include white Russians, white ladies, eggnog and white cosmos.
7. Around the World
The holidays are celebrated across the globe. Take a trip around the world with an international food-themed holiday party.
- Menu: For this theme, the best way to incorporate multiple countries is by creating a series of food stations based on different cuisine served around the world. For example, you could set up a Spanish station, serving dishes like tapas and paella, a Moroccan station, serving tagines, a Thai station, serving Pad Thai and spring rolls, and a German station, serving bratwurst, sauerkraut and roasted chicken.
- Drinks: You can also incorporate the around-the-word theme into the beverages. Make the wine selection an international affair with wines from Italy, France, Australia and Argentina. Serve spirits famous for their countries of origin, such as whiskey, vodka and rum.
- Décor: Every country that celebrates Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza has its own traditional decorations. Do a little research on the background of your employees and incorporate their nationalities’ traditional holiday décor into the décor around the venue.
- Tablescapes: We suggest naming each table after a country, for example, a Swedish table, a Japanese table, an Indian table, a Brazilian table, etc. Along with the name tag displaying the table’s country name, consider incorporating some elements of that country into the decorations.
- Music: Nothing puts people in the holiday spirit like carols! Make a playlist that features songs from all over the globe, spanning four continents and a dozen different cultures. Guests will be delighted by the cheery music and you’ll have fun guessing which country each carol comes from.
8. Holiday Circus
This is a dazzling theme that will have employees and guests raving about the visual effects and ambiance of the party for weeks to come.
- Entertainment: This might be the most important element of a circus-themed party, and one for which you will really have to plan in advance. Consider hiring a series of specialty acts, tightrope walkers, clowns, jugglers, tumblers, etc., and in addition to scheduling some of the bigger acts as part of the “show” portion of the evening, hire some of them to walk around the event to entertain guests sporadically, such as magicians who perform random street magic.
- Décor: In addition to the important entertainment element, proper décor will support the theme and really give guests something to talk about. Incorporate a lot of long drapery into the event design. Your whole design should include a lot of bright reds, like the reds of the three ring circuses.
- Menu: Consider setting up circus food stations, such as roasted peanuts, popcorn and cotton candy, throughout the venue. Your food stations can include a variety of finger foods and appetizers, such as sliders and chicken fingers.
9. 12 Courses of Christmas
Our bonus company holiday party theme involves a whole bunch of taste- and drink-testing and is heavy on the culinary treats, so make sure guests know to bring their appetites.
- Menu: this event is all about the menu. Work with your caterer to develop 12 courses–either of just appetizers; appetizers and wine pairings; hors d’oeuvres, salads, entrees and desserts; or more.
- Entertainment: the menu IS the entertainment at this company holiday party. Let the caterer take your guests through a culinary experience by creating a party around the 12 courses. Make sure you dedicate a solid amount of time to each of the courses, sharing unique information and serving ideas to guests as they dine on tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and sit down to a plated course meal.
- Music: of course music should accompany this event. A jazz band is just the right mix of upbeat and relaxed music to set the mood for this event.