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12 Fun Christmas Party Themes You Never Thought of Until Now

Time to get out your ugly sweaters and Santa hats! These creative ideas put a new spin on classic Christmas celebrations.

Glasses of champagne in female hands on Christmas partyMalochka Mikalai/Shutterstock

Add a theme to spice up your celebrations

Take your Christmas party to the next level this year with a fun and festive theme. Take inspiration from the best Christmas movies of all time, or opt for a classic ugly sweater party. Click on for merry party inspiration.

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Twelve Clues of Christmas scavenger hunt

If you like getting creative with your Christmas party themes, transform the popular Christmas carol “The 12 Days of Christmas” into a fun family scavenger hunt.  Hide holiday knick-knacks inspired by the song (like golden rings or a bird toy as a stand-in for the turtle doves) throughout your house and backyard with a clue to the next surprise. The first person who solves the clue gets the gift! Just make sure you leave the clue behind for the other players so they can proceed to the next stop of the scavenger hunt for an opportunity to get a gift. Count your presents at the end of the hunt and whoever has the most wins! For help creating the clues, this list is a good place to start. For more fun activities, play these 13 family Christmas games every guest will enjoy.

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A Christmas Story party

If you’re a superfan of A Christmas Story and know every line by Ralphie and Scut Farkus, then this party inspired by the iconic classic is for you! Make it an old-fashioned 1940s Christmas by serving candies like black licorice, candy buttons, and Bazooka bubble gum alongside a refreshing antique glass bottle of Coca-Cola. Incorporate accents from the movie in your party decorations, like a life-size leg lamp, sprinkle tinsel on your Christmas tree branches, or play a game, inspired by Ralphie’s little brother Randy, to see who can eat a plate of mashed potatoes without any hands (and don’t forget to oink like a pig when you’re done!). Find out the history behind these 10 favorite Christmas traditions.

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Christmas “Carol-oke”

Grab your karaoke machine or hit up a karaoke bar and belt your lungs out to your favorite Christmas songs. Try to see which friend can croon like Bing Crosby or hit the high octaves like Mariah Carey. If you have a portable karaoke machine, walk door-to-door in your neighborhood to, in the words of Buddy the Elf, “spread Christmas cheer for all to hear.” No matter how tone deaf you are, you can still practice your “carol-oke” with the 20 best Christmas songs ever.

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Christmas around the world potluck

Nothing helps you embrace another culture more than eating their native food. This party’s concept is simple: Each guest claims a country, researches the Christmas cuisine there, and cooks it for everyone to taste. As you gorge on all the different flavors and textures, share a few holiday traditions from your adopted nation. Try risalamande, a traditional Danish rice dessert made with cream and almonds, or a linguine dish with mussels to kick off an Italian Christmas Eve tradition called the Feast of Seven Fishes. Here are 15 more Christmas traditions from around the world that you should steal

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Decorate your own ugly Christmas sweater

Put a new twist on one of these popular Christmas party themes and design your own ugly sweaters. Ask your guests to find an old sweatshirt to bring to the party. Then head to a craft store for fuzzy pom poms, sparkles, fabric paint, felt, buttons, scissors, hot glue, and some mothballs for that rich “grandma” scent. Spread all the craft supplies out on the dining room table or living room floor, and you’re all set! Remember, the tackier the sweater, the uglier … and the better!  Try adding some friendly competition to the mix with a contest for “Worst Smelling Sweater” or “Prettiest Ugly Sweater.” If that sounds like too much work, buy one of the best funny ugly Christmas sweaters

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Merry Grinch-mas party

Take a trip down memory lane with a Dr. Seuss-themed “Grinch Dinner and a Movie” night. Cook a Sunday rib roast for dinner, a special rendition of the Whos’ favorite roast-beast; put your hair up in a wacky Whoville style; and watch both the classic Grinch cartoon and live-action movie starring Jim Carrey. Bonus points if someone dresses up as the Grinch, especially if you score one of these funny Christmas photos

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Santa’s workshop

Do Santa proud and dress up as his elves for the day. Ask people to bring a toy over to donate to their local toy drive and get out the wrapping paper, bows, bags, and tags to decorate the gifts.  Play the famous song, “We Are Santa’s Elves” from the movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the background to get you and your busy elf friends inspired to give back to the community. Don’t miss these vintage photos that show what Christmas looked like 100 years ago

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Twelve Courses of Christmas dinner

A 12-course feast fit for a belly as big as Santa’s may be one of the best Christmas party themes. Make a list and designate appetizers, entrees, and desserts for your guests to bring. Some festive dishes include: spinach-stuffed tomatoes, pizza shaped like a Christmas tree or a candy cane, cranberry walnut salad, roasted turkey, maple-glazed ham, and Christmas cookies, of course. Make sure you know these 14 Christmas cookie baking hacks for the holiday season.

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Christmas in July

Throw a beach bash in the middle of winter! Grab some beach balls, blow up palm trees, display tiki torchlights, and blast the Beach Boys. Enforce a dress code that includes tropical button-ups, hula skirts, sunglasses, and flip-flops. For those of you who already live by the beach, throw a cozy Christmas party. Make a fire pit in the sand for a batch of s’mores and invite everyone to wear their favorite onesie, earmuffs, and mittens. These are the best destinations to visit if you want a warm Christmas. These theme parks also tend to go all-out for the holidays. 

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Christmas craft and sip

‘Tis the season for a good ol’ homemade crafting session! Christmas is the best time to hone your inner crafter and make wreaths, wrapping paper, and ornaments. Peruse Pinterest for clever, easy DIY craft-spiration and have guests bring their favorite holiday beverage to sip on while they work away. You can also try one of these 24 DIY Christmas decorations anyone can make

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Winter Wonderland party

This one is easy! All you need is snow, a pair of snow pants, and a mug of hot cocoa with mini marshmallows. Host a snowy day of fun outside for your kids and their friends, filled with sledding, snowman building, and snow forts. Try visiting one of the 20 best small towns for Christmas lights

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Christmas costume party

Halloween isn’t the only time of year you’re allowed to dress up like a kooky character. Christmas can be a legitimate excuse, too! Tell everyone to come as their favorite Christmas character, like Buddy the Elf, Santa Claus, Rudolph, Frosty, or Ebenezer Scrooge. Throw a costume contest where guests get to vote on “Cutest Christmas Couple” or “Best Dressed Santa.” Next, find out the 18 holiday decorating mistakes you didn’t know you were making.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest