Friendsgiving, Friendsmas, Holiday Parties, all actually mean the same.  Expectations of the holidays, the mistletoe, crackling fireplaces with stockings hung with care, tinsel, twinkling lights, Christmas music, holiday wreaths, letters to Santa, the scent of Christmas cookies baking in the oven, fruitcake–What fruitcake?  Maybe that is a little too extreme but the other images certainly spell and describe the holiday season that is now upon us. What a glorious time of wrapping presents, searching for just the right gift rather in the malls, at the outlets or online, decorating with the upcoming Christmas holiday festivities in mind, and a time to spend with family and friends cherishing and building memories for a lifetime. Sharing holidays with friends is a great way to celebrate the season.

Holiday christmas party

As kids we always looked forward to that visit with Santa, we would watch for Rudolph’s nose glowing in the night sky and catch glimpses of Santa’s elves on missions to spy on us.  Those memories are imprinted in our minds and seem to be revived each year.  Because of these wonderful memories, we set out the Elf on a Shelf and stay awake at night trying to think of some creative idea for the elf to do that next day. We still play the imagination games. And, we connect with those closest to us.  Sometimes, though, a family might be at a distant and instead, we share the holidays with the closeness we feel and the blessings of friendships. This doesn’t just have to be a one day get together, it’s the whole season of magic and possibilities that we can share.   Enjoying the warmth of friendship and the holiday spirit can start today and last for at least the next five weeks or even longer.

Ideas for a Holiday Party

So what are some ideas to make this Christmas season memorable with these special people in our lives?  How about the full traditional meal with the turkey, the ham, the dressing, salads, pies and a host of other delectable food filling your countertops?  Everyone brings something and you supply the beautiful and decorated home complete with a zillion lights, Christmas trees in every room and…, Well, we could also settle, in lieu of this, for a  beautifully decorated home for Christmas with a Christmas tree in the corner. There are feelings of joy and revelry in every room, the delicious foods and signature drinks are flowing, sparkling conversations can be heard,  and in this midst of the holiday, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, a celebration with friends is at hands. While planning this party, you don’t necessarily have to go with all traditional food. How about a smoked turkey, or jalapeno flavored cranberries, pumpkin cheesecake infused with caramel and rum pie,  or even drinks with candy cane stirrers complete with crushed candy canes on the rims? Sounds pretty enticing, doesn’t it?

Holiday Cheese board spread

Perhaps though you want to gather friends for a wine tasting and charcuterie cheese boards? These boards could be complete with grilled breads, various crackers, a variety of meats, bright veggies, assorted nuts and olives, and of course, chocolates. Then other appetizers such as dips,  and Christmas candies, could also be served. This type of get together too can be an epic holiday party.  The holiday party of the season, the one that enters into the conversations for many years ahead.  Just what you want, isn’t it? Ideas to include in this type of party would be having the classic black and white movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, playing in one room (low volume) and A Christmas Carol in another room or perhaps even Elf would be a great choice. These movies could be the impetus for many Christmas conversations for celebrations of years past and at the same time be a gathering for all to enjoy now.

Or other ideas would be to get together with just your girl friends, and have a Christmas cookie exchange; everyone would bring two to three dozen cookies depending how many friends you have decided to invite and then exchanging the variety of cookies with each other.  Serving a hot chocolate bar would be fun and doing this would certainly add to the jolly mood associated with the Christmas season. Maybe going to Bad Mom’s Christmas for the grand finale of the day would make this day unforgettable.

Holiday Entertainment

This, of course, brings up the idea of what to do at the parties, rather the traditional, or the cocktails parties.  How about hiring a Santa, and with the right amount of cordials, encourage everyone to get a video of each friend or couple sitting on his lap, telling him if they have been naughty or nice and what they want for Christmas this 2017? Have Santa’s visit mid-way through the party or at the end. Comments might be a bit festive by then.

Another idea to fill in the moments at the parties could be the older traditional ideas of ugliest sweater contest or the white elephant gift type choices. These can be lots of fun but maybe intermix some new ideas such as the Turkey Talk game where cards are set around the room, and, as people chat, a bell is rung and everyone, in a certain area of the room, needs to answer the questions on their cards. Topics can include somewhat risque questions and other questions more on the conservative side. Something like “What do I wear to bed on Christmas Eve?’ to “What was your favorite present you have ever received from Santa?” could be ideas.  These will add sparkle to conversations and give you, again, something to think about in the years ahead. Be prepared for some interesting facts about your friends that you just learn.

And how about this game? It’s called the Plastic Wrap Ball Game. You take a box of Saran Wrap, or two or three boxes, and wrap something in the middle as the prize. This prize can be anything from Christmas candy bars to a one hundred dollar bill, to a shot glass, to various gift cards, to small little travel size cocktails, to a pair of earrings.  Wrap this ball tightly with the wrap, have a pair of dice and then a person, donned with Christmas oven mitts,  begins to unwrap the ball. When another person rolls doubles, the person who was trying to unwrap the ball, passes the ball for the next turn. It is truly a fun, holiday game. Wrap and go.

Another game to enjoy is the Jingle Ball Shake Game.  This is sure to create a ton of laughter.  You simply tie an empty tissue box around the player’s backside.  (Poke two holes on opposite sides of the bottom of the box, weave a rope or a ribbon through to tie it around the player’s waist.) Place ten little jingle bells in the box. Start Christmas music and the player has one minute to shake as many bells out as he or she can. It’s even more fun if you have more shakers at once.   Little holiday-themed prizes, with cute Christmas wrap, can be added.  

Start Planning!

Now you are ready to start the decorating, the shopping, the baking, caroling, and making lists to check twice.  When you have friends to share the Friendsmas holiday season, countdown the days together with fun and just time spend together.

“Have a Jolly Merry Christmas. May the true meaning of friendship fill your heart and home with many blessings.”