Santa’s Top 25 Christmas Party Ideas
John Sullivan, Santa in Chicago has been portraying Santa at Christmas parties for the last twenty five years. Here are some of his best ideas on how to make an ordinary party a bash your guests won’t soon forget.
You want to have a fabulous event but you’re not quite sure what to do? Just keep one thing in mind. When people go to a party, it doesn’t matter if they are young or old, it’s because they want to enjoy themselves. They want to have fun!
Over the years as Santa, John has been to hundreds and hundreds of different Christmas parties in private homes, day care centers, schools, senior communities, offices, churches, hospitals, commercial centers, restaurants, factories, banquet halls and more. You name it and he has been there.
John has played Santa at parties where the fun never ends, where everyone is having the time of their lives. Then, yes there are others where everything stops as soon as the pictures with Santa have been taken.
Incidentally, you don’t have to have Santa at your event to have a terrific party. But if you do, be sure to plan carefully and try to include him in the planning. That way Santa will know what his role is going to be and you are sure to liven up your soirée!
Here is his list of party ideas that will keep the festivities going all night. Some are for children’s parties others for adult holiday celebrations. You’ll find ideas that are terrific both for the kids or the grownups. Either way you can be sure things will never get dull.
Party Games for Kids and Adults
1 - Decorate Dad - or anyone else for that matter! Kids of all ages love trimming a human Christmas tree and you’ll have great pictures for years to come. Go to your local dollar store and pick up cheap Christmas decorations, green crepe paper streamers, plastic Christmas balls, (never glass!), plenty of glittery streamers and tinsel and what ever else you can find. Be careful though, if you put lights on dad you might electrocute him!
2 - Christmas Charades - This games is played the same as Charades except that every charade has a Christmas theme. To help the teams along give them two different lists of possible Christmas Charades. Each member of a team then takes a turn acting out an activity. For example the clues in the first list could be, “Santa coming down a chimney,” “opening a present,” “decorating a Christmas tree”,“making a list for Santa,” “singing Christmas Carols.” The second teams listings might have, “hanging a Christmas stocking,” “mailing Christmas cards,” “building a snowman,” “elves making toys,” or “Mrs. Claus baking cookies”. With a little thought you’ll come up with a lot of good ideas for Christmas Charades.
3 - Santa Says - This game is the same as “Simon Says” except if you have a Santa at your party he is the leader. Instead of saying “Simon Says,” the leader says, Santa Says.” If you don’t have a Santa someone wearing a Santa hat can be the leader. The last person left after each round gets a prize, gift, Christmas cookie, candy cane, etc.
4 - Crazy Christmas Pictures - Today, just about everyone has a camera on their computer, iPad, etc. There are plenty of free apps that you can download that will make all kinds of photo effects, warps, face changers, bald heads and more. If you have a Mac, an app is already on your computer in Photo Booth. Let the kids or adults make all the faces they want and then print out the results for them to take home.
5 - A Christmas Tale - True or False? - Having trouble getting an adult party started, try this one. Have a person tell a Christmas story about herself or himself. Another guest (who doesn’t know them) will have to guess if their story is true of false. If someone is having trouble coming up with a story, suggest they name the worst Christmas present they ever received—and of course, the story about the present can be true or false.
6 - Pin the Red Nose on Rudolph - This kids game is played exactly the same as Pin the Tail on the Donkey, except you need a reindeer without a nose to pin. Get a large picture of a reindeer, cut out a bunch or red noses, put a little piece of double stick tape on the back of the red noses and start the fun!
7 - Secret Santa - Here’s another one that will keep the kids laughing. Put a piece of masking tape on the back of a picture of Santa Claus. The person who has it needs to try and stick it on another person’s back without them knowing it. This keeps going until everyone has had a turn. Of course if Santa is at the party, you know who will be the prime target!
8 - Christmas Cookie Decorating - Another all-time favorite that children never get tired of is cookie decorating. Have the oven heated and ready to go. Then cut out the cookies in holiday shapes and put them on cookie sheets before the little ones arrive. Have plenty of red hots, nuts, raisins, sprinkles and M & M’s so the decorating fun can begin. The anticipation is almost more than they can bear waiting for their creations to come out of the oven. If Santa is there, be careful! You know how he loves cookies!
9 - Rent a Karaoke Machine & Have Your Guests Sing Christmas Songs - After a couple of drinks even the very shy people will be belting out holiday tunes. Of course the kids will want to get in the act as well. Better yet, you don’t even have to rent a machine. Now a couple of reasonably priced apps, are available from the Apple iTunes store, Sing! Karaoke by Smule or Karaoke Anywhere.These apps are available for iPhones, iPads and iPod touch.
10 - While the Karaoke Singing is Going on Burn the Songs on a CD - After the party be sure to send your guests a copy. This will be a Christmas present they won’t soon forget!
11 - Christmas Phrases - For this children’s game you can use Santa—if you have one at your party—or an adult as the mediator. Split the kids into two teams. You’ll need to write down on index cards, for example the names of Christmas songs, Christmas movies or TV shows, facts about Santa Claus and other holiday questions. On another set of cards write down clues to the questions. Have a timer and give the team a minute to guess the phrase and receive a point. Everyone on a team gets a turn drawing and the game alternates between teams. If a phrase isn’t guessed within the time limit, the other team gets a free guess and can take the point.
12 - Pass the Orange - This old game is always a favorite with kids. Divide the children into teams, with one orange for each team. Have everyone put their hands behind their back. The orange has to be passed from person to person using only their neck and chin. If an orange falls to the floor that team has to start over again. The first team to get their orange to the last person in line wins.
13 - What Christmas Character am I? - Write the name of Christmas characters on a card or piece of paper and tape it on the back of all your guests. Get your guests to mingle, talking to one another. No one can know who they are supposed to be, but have the other guests talk to them like they are talking to the Christmas character—without being too obvious about it. The game continues until everyone everyone guesses who they are supposed to be. Unless there are kids involved, don’t make the characters too easy. Some possibilities include: a French hen, baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Scrooge, angel, Bad Santa, the Grinch. With a little thought you can come up with many more.
14 - Name the Missing Words in Christmas Carols & Songs - Want to play a game that is really simple but will keep them laughing? This is the perfect game for adults or kids. A few days before the party go to this site—here is the LINK—and print out the lyrics for the holiday songs you would like to use. Also print out a second set of lyrics, minus the words you decide to take out. Split people into teams. One person reads the lyrics with the missing words, while the other person has to guess which words are missing. For children, use the lyrics from songs they are sure to know.
15 - Christmas Words - Make new smaller words out of the following Christmas words: Christmas tree, jingle bells, Santa Claus, candy cane, etc. Give everyone a pencil and paper and set a timer for two or three minutes. The one with the most words wins or extra points can be given for long words. Small gifts or prizes for the kids builds enthusiasm.
16 - More Christmas Words - To start, get 100 index cards and write a Christmas word or words on them. You’ll need an egg timer, an iPhone to time with, etc, set it for one minute. Divide your guests into two teams and have the 1st player draw a card. They start by giving clues to their team members. Here are some examples of Christmas words and clues: lump of coal - clue - what bad children get; Christmas tree - clue - something you decorate; presents - clue - things you open on Christmas morning; Christmas stocking - clue - what you hang over the fireplace. If someone correctly guesses the word or words before the time is up, their team scores a point and the team with the most points wins. The other team can take the point if they know it, and the 1st team hasn’t guessed it within a minute.
17 - The Perfect Tree - Copy and paste the following link: http://www.anawiki.com/game/the-perfect-tree for the app The Perfect Tree that can be downloaded for a Mac, PC or Linux. The cost is $6.99 for the full version. According to the developer, “Spruce up your Christmas season with The Perfect Tree, is a cheerful holiday offering from Anawiki Games! Based on the classic Christmas tale of the same name, the game tells the story of a lonely little pine tree and the player's efforts to help it become the perfect Christmas tree. With its bright, cheerful graphics and positive message, The Perfect Tree is a holiday treat for the whole family.
18 - A Christmas Bubbleshooter - Here is another $1.99 app that one or two kids can play at a time. It’s available for Mac computers with OSX 10.6 or later or on iPads, iPhones or iPad touch. This is a special Christmas version of a great bubble shooter. Children will enjoy this game with naturally moving bubbles, nice sound effects and funky visuals.It’s available for download at the Apple App Store.
Easy hors d’oeuvres for your Christmas party!
19 - Meatball Hors d’ Oeuvres - Buy a big bag of frozen meatballs. Bake them in the oven until they are heated all the way through. Put out dishes of hot mustard, BBQ sauce, sweet and sour sauce, etc. Display the meatballs in a serving dish, stick a tooth pick in them and you are ready to go! This one won’t bust the budget.
20 - Parmesan Garlic Bread - Get some French baguettes or loafs of French bread will do. Cut in half length-wise and coat both pieces with olive oil and a little garlic powder and garlic salt. Sprinkle the bread with some grated Parmesan cheese and put them in the broiler on a baking sheet until they are lightly browned. Cut into pieces and serve. Voilà! You have delicious party snacks that are quick and cheap!
21 - Pizza Hors d’ Oeuvres - Order pizzas to arrive a little before your guests and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Remember to keep them warm in the oven!
22 - Guacamole & Tortilla Chips - Pick up four avocados. If ripe ones aren’t available get some four or five days before your party and put them in a paper bag to ripen. Mash them up in a bowl, squeeze in some lime juice, chop up two or three slices of a Bermuda onion, add a little chopped cilantro , mince a clove of garlic and stir everything up. If you want to spice it up a little add a pinch of cayenne pepper and a couple of diced plum tomatoes. Put your guacamole in the refrigerator for half an hour. Set the bowl the middle of a platter of tortilla chips and you have a terrific party treat. It’s simple to make and your guests will rave about this one!
23 - Tomato Salsa & Tortilla Chips - To go along with your guacamole make a fresh tomato salsa. Buy two pounds of plum tomatoes and dice into small pieces and put in a bowl. You’ll also need a Bermuda onion, dice half of that and add to the tomatoes. Spice up your salsa by dicing up a jalapeño pepper and adding it—be sure to remove the stems, seeds, etc. If you really want a hot salsa also add a serrano pepper. Dice it, and also remove the stems, seeds and ribs. While handling the peppers be careful not to touch your eyes. As soon as the peppers are in the bowl, wash your hands! Squeeze the juice of a lime into the mixture. Finally add a little salt and pepper. A sprinkle of cumin and oregano will add to the taste. Mix everything carefully and put in the refrigerator for half an hour. This goes perfectly with guacamole.
This will get everyone involved!
24 - Christmas Cookie Swap - Not only is this a great party idea, it also cuts down on the baking you will have to do. Each guest should make enough of one kind of cookie to share and trade. Let them know how many to bring. Have everyone bring enough extras so there will be plenty to enjoy. As the coordinator you should determine who will be bringing what kind. And of course, everyone will go home with a great assortment of holiday cookies. You might also want to print out cards with the names of the people who brought cookies and what they are called. Be sure everyone has enough boxes or cookie tins to take their treats home.
25 - Bring a Christmas Dish Party - If you are having friends and relatives over for your holiday festivities they can participate by bringing a favorite dish. What they should bring depends upon the type of party you are planning. If it’s a dinner party or buffet, salads, side dishes or desserts are good choices. When a meal isn’t involved hors d’ oeuvres, Christmas cookies and other snacks make sense. Your guests can get creative and everyone will love the variety of foods to be sampled.