It’s the most wonderful time for a beer – and a party!
Ah, it’s official. The holiday season is finally here! Is there a better time of year for a party? Since 2020 did its 2020 thing and put a damper on holiday parties across the country, interest in hosting and attending festive celebrations is at a renewed high. From office parties and community events to framily gatherings and winter weddings, you’ll likely be attending (and potentially hosting) multiple parties this time of year.
If you’re anything like us, you know how important it is for an event to be memorable in some way. Given the sheer magnitude of events during this time of year it can be challenging to differentiate one soiree from the next. Not to fear, friends. We’ve got your back. Here are 7 of our favorite Christmas party themes and tips for making them extra special!
1. Party Theme: 12 Days of Apps
Let’s have a show of hands. Who believes appetizers are the best part of any meal? All in favor? Good. The beautiful thing about an appy-hour party is that you get to try a variety of bites and nibbles. Invite your friends to bring their favorite app for this casual spin on a traditional potluck.
What to serve: As a local craft brewery, we have a soft spot for beer-inspired apps. If you’re looking for an app that will win the hearts of all, look no further than this craft beer cheese dip from Spend with Pennies. Make it holiday by adding fresh sprigs of rosemary and pomegranate seeds to the top. We recommend pairing with a bold Belgian Trippel.
2. Party Theme: Ho Ho Ho-down
It’s Christmas. It’s country. It’s Christmas in the country – almost out of a Hallmark movie. Slip into those cowboy boots, play all the country holiday classics and dance the night away under the big Texas sky.
What to serve: Two words. BBQ. Beer. Many local BBQ joints have catering and order ahead packages that can save you time and stress if you don’t consider yourself a pit master. For beer pairing, we’d recommend a big and bold IPA or light American lager.
3. Party Theme: Cocktails for Christmas
They call it Christmas cheer for a reason. This party is all about the festive cocktails. It’s like a potluck but for cocktails. Invite your group to each bring a pre-made batch cocktail or the fixins for a handmade cocktail. Or alternatively, hire out a mobile bar to bring the Christmas cocktails to you!
What to Serve: What’s a little Christmas without the cheer? Since this party is all about cocktails, make sure your guests have a selection to choose from. The Spiced Maple Bourbon Fizz recipe from Half Baked Harvest is sure to be a crowd pleaser. And don't forget the craft beer and non-alcoholic options for party-goers with different tastes or needs.
4. Party Theme: Beers and Cheers
It’s the most wonderful time for a beer! If you love Christmas and you love beer, this party is for you! Encourage your guests to dress up in Santa Claus or elf attire and have them bring their favorite holiday beer. Extra points go to those who shop local or Independent craft beer!
What to serve: Beers, all kinds, but especially those with holiday flare. Look for local craft brews to give your guests a taste of home. Serve coordinating food that pairs with the beer styles you’re serving. If you’re serving the Off Main Brewing “Home for Christmas” 2021 Stout, consider sharing rich and decadent dishes like chocolate truffles, oysters or over-the-top burger sliders.
5. Party Theme: Mrs. Claus and her Gals Night
To quote, Ruth Redmond from Bad Moms Christmas, “Moms don’t EN-joy. They GIVE joy.” Shout out to all the ladies who make the holidays shimmer and shine in all the ways. Gather your best gal pals or neighborhood ladies for an evening of wine, treats and a white elephant gift exchange.
What to serve: Of all the parties, this is the one to outsource the cooking and bartending. These hard-working merry makers deserve a break! No fancy catering is needed here. Keep it real by ordering pre-made pinwheel platters, sushi or charcuterie (like this delish box from Gifts of Graze).
Pro tip: "Remember that charcuterie is just like art...there's no wrong or right way! As long as you include items you and your guests enjoy it's going to be a hit!" - Eileen Torres from Gifts of Graze
And for the drinks, consider offering a red, white, sparkling wine, a signature Mrs. Claus cocktail and a few craft beers. Mobile bars and taprooms like the Off Main Brewing Boutique Brewery bring the bar to you and let you EN-joy your celebration!
6. Party Theme: Brunch-mas
Merry Brunch-mas! Brunch-mas is the perfect event to host your neighbors, book club, family friends with young kids or, on the contrary, adult friends who love to day drink. Keep it casual by encouraging everyone to show up in their coziest Christmas PJs and fuzzy socks.
What to serve: Trick question…Brunch, of course! Check out Pinterest for loads of holiday-inspired brunch fare. Dress pancakes in powdered sugar and raspberries to make them instantly holiday ready. Dust cinnamon rolls with Christmas sprinkles. Drop pomegranate seeds into cranberry mimosas. You get the idea.
7. Party Theme: Wreath Making Party
This party is perfect for the craft lovers! After all that nomming and drinking from party to party, it’s fun to have a “doing” party. Guests bring their own blank wreath round while the event host supplies the goodies for decorating. Think ribbon, picks, non-breakable ornaments, flowers, pine cones, Christmas trinket toys, and of course, loads of hot glue and wire!
What to serve: Keep the menu light since you will be working on your wreath most of the time. Non-messy nibbles and small plates allow for ample working space without risking the spills. Bonus points are given if you arrange your snacks in the shape of a wreath! Think fruit and veggie wreath. Antipasto wreath. Cookie and cracker wreath. Have fun with it!
Bonus Holiday Party Tips
Make your party shine.
Touches of glam and sparkle make every party special. Spray your poinsettias with glittery spray. Add golden sugar to your cocktail glasses. Place stems in mirror glass vases. Hang gilded glittery ornaments from chandeliers. And don’t forget the twinkle lights!
Germs not invited
Reduce the chances for contact transmission of germs by eliminating high-touch areas like buffets and make-your-own-bars. Instead, consider assembling charcuterie cones or individual cups of snacks that guests can simply grab and go.
As for the bar situation, this is where a mobile bartending service or mobile tap trailer come in handy. Packages can often be customized to fit your guests’ tastes and your budget.
Pro Tip: "When designing your alcohol menu for a mobile tap trailer, consider offering a few different beer and wine styles. For example, serving an IPA, a lager and a stout combined with a red, white and sparkling wine will appeal to most guests. Add in a signature holiday cocktail that compliments your party theme and you're all set!" - Travis Lindner from Off Main Brewing
Masks. They suck and everyone hates them. But if you find yourself in a position where you want to require masks, encourage your guests to don an “ugly Christmas mask.” It’s like an ugly Christmas sweater party, but for masks. Sometimes we have to embrace the suck.
Gifts are always welcome, but especially during the holidays. Giving your guests a party favor – something they can take home, reminisce on the fun they had and enjoy the next days – is an easy way to express your gratitude for their friendship.
When it comes to holiday favors, things like hot cocoa bombs, custom cookies, handmade truffles, a bottle of special custom beer, homemade granola, small journal and personalized ornaments fit the bill. Take a page out of RoseMary Barn's playbook, and festively display the parting gifts on a decorated table or shelf near the entry so guests can take one as they go.
Holiday party themes aside, don't forget to enjoy your own party! Be present in the moment and have fun. After all, these special times only come around once a year.