How to Host a Family-Friendly Holiday Party

Published by Hristina Mladenovska on

Holiday parties are back. People getting together with friends and family. Putting up decorations and sending out invitations. Once again, loved ones come together to celebrate this festive season. Are you interested in hosting a family-friendly holiday party? The kind where both kids and parents have fun? It doesn’t just happen, especially if you’ve been out of practice for a few years. Here are some ways to plan for a family-friendly party that everyone, including you, will enjoy.  

Set a date and time.

Consider when the kids are off from school. Usually winter break is scheduled the week of Christmas and the week of New Year’s. Scheduling a party during these two weeks might make it easier for families to attend together.

Early evening works best for those with small children. For example, somewhere around the 5-6pm hour. With food provided, this allows parents and kids to eat, drink, and be merry. This also ensures they’re back home and in bed at a reasonable hour.

Consider a daytime party.

This can be an outside affair, especially if you live in an area with mild weather.

For example, picnics and snowmobile parties work well for a lovely winter celebration. So do brunches at home or in the backyard. You can also provide light snacks and less-intense drink selections for daytime parties.

Some even host open-house parties. They set a beginning time and an ending time. Guests choose when they want to stop in and say hello. Less pressure for everyone.

Follow local and state guidelines.

It may not sound like fun but incorporating the latest COVID precautions is responsible. You don’t want to host a super-spreader event. Besides, guests should be able to have fun without jeopardizing their health.

Make sure you have a supply of sanitizers throughout the house. Stock plenty of soap in the bathrooms. Keep the number of guests low so people aren’t cramped or crowded.

If you’re requiring masks, consider making some available. You can even purchase holiday-themed masks to make it more festive.

Do you want to ask guests for proof of vaccination or negative-COVID tests? This is becoming more and more normalized. Just make sure to inform your invitees way ahead of time so they’re prepared.

If you’re hosting your family-friendly party at a venue other than your home, determine their protocols ahead of time as well. For instance, they might require a cap on guests and other restrictions.

If it becomes too cumbersome to host an event indoors, this is another reason why an outdoor venue might be more fun for everyone. Including you.

Choose a theme.

Here are some family-friendly themes that might work for your holiday party:

Book Party

Everyone can bring their favorite children’s book to donate. Or they can dress up as their favorite character.

Toys for Tots

Each guest brings a wrapped toy to donate to families in need.

Pajama Party

These are relaxing events where no one has to worry about getting dressed up. Serve comfort food and plenty of hot cocoa.

Movie Night

Watch a family-friendly movie for kids to enjoy while parents mingle. Don’t forget popcorn!

Cookie Exchange

Everyone brings their favorite cookies to share.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Nowadays they’re making ugly sweaters for Kwanzaa and Chanukah, too. So get everyone in on the action.

Gingerbread House Contest

Provide the supplies, and treats, for families to construct their very own gingerbread house. Make it a contest and surprise the winner with a special gift bag.

Potluck Parties

Each guest brings their favorite holiday meal or comfort food to share.

Christmas Around the World

Feature decorations, traditions, food and drink from different countries.

Choose the right guests.

Intimate, indoor parties should probably be limited to loved ones. Larger venues or outside parties can serve more people safely.

Have some activities ready, just in case.

Most of the time, getting together with people you love is entertainment enough. However, if you notice a lull, try some of the following family-friendly ideas:

Play some games. Charades, card, or board games will provide hours of entertainment. You can even send home some gift bags with the winners.

Give gifts. Include in the theme, or invitation, a way to incorporate Secret Santa, White Elephant, or a traditional gift exchange.

Get crafty. Set up a way for guests to make their own ornaments, wrapping paper or holiday cookies.

Put a menu together.

Decide ahead of time if this is a party with light refreshments or a full, sit-down meal. Do you want everyone to bring their own dish or are you cooking everything? What about a caterer so you can enjoy the event without being in the kitchen or cleaning up afterwards?

Take into consideration the location and amount of party-goers to feed.

Some ideas:

  • Party platters from the local grocery store
  • Meat and cheese trays
  • Chips and dips
  • Olives
  • Turkey, cheese slices and breads
  • Soup
  • Casseroles
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Cookies
  • Pies
  • Plenty of water
  • Wine (red, white and sparkling)
  • Mulled wine
  • Hot toddies
  • Punch
  • Hot cocoa

Decorate the venue or home.

Normal, holiday decorations are appropriate. Display holiday cards and consider scented candles, out of reach of children, to add some festive flavor.

Plan ahead.

Start shopping weeks ahead of time. This allows you to save money and not feel overwhelmed. You’ll also be less likely to forget anything. 

Remember your own needs.

When planning for this event, be sure to take some moments for yourself before it begins. Budget your time so you’re done with everything several hours ahead of time. Relax and enjoy alone time, before your family-friendly party even begins.

Set the right mood. 

Before your guests arrive, light some candles and turn on your favorite holiday music. Make sure all the lights are up and plugged in.

Determine where coats and boots will go. If you’re sending guests home with a gift, or leftovers, create a staging area in the appropriate space.

Consider how you’ll help people safely get home, especially those who’ve had too much to drink. Make sure they have apps or set up ride-sharing services for your guests.

Then get ready to enjoy your family-friendly holiday party.

Categories: Parenting Tips

1 Comment

Eli Richardson · December 20, 2022 at 2:20 pm

It’s awesome that you talked about planning a family-friendly holiday party that keeps the kids entertained. My sister is in charge of planning her son’s classroom holiday party, so she already decided to hire a Santa for the party, and I believe your guide will help her with the rest. Thanks for the advice on how to keep a holiday party fun for the whole family.

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