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Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016 12:12 am

How to host an epic holiday bash

Don’t throw the same old celebration again this year. Instead, go bold with one of these ideas to liven up any festive party


Social calendars are packed during the holidays, and this year your party is going to be the event of the season. A clever theme is just the thing to help your party stand out.

Christmas in July in December
Crank up the heat and break out your summer clothes. Seri Kertzner, founder and CEO of Little Miss Party Planner, New York City, recommends decorating with a nautical style, but using holiday colors. Go a step further with décor by setting out pool floats instead of chairs, a palm tree decorated with ornaments, and a snowman made from white beach balls. Top it off with on-theme food. Serve Santa-themed cookies, but Santa should be wearing sunglasses and a swimsuit.

Worst gift ever regifting celebration
It’s time for your guests to get creative by bringing an awful present. Have participants draw a number, and numbers can either correspond to a single gift or guests can select any gift when their number is called (play White Elephant-style to encourage “stealing”). If any presents are left behind, Kertzner recommends donating them to charity. Better yet, encourage guests to also bring one desirable gift to be donated on their behalf.

Christmas Carol-oke
Without a doubt, you’ll need a karaoke machine stocked with holiday music. Round it out by adding props, “such as glitter microphones, blow-up guitars, hats and sunglasses,” Kertzner says. “You could even put your guests into groups to make air bands.”

Let those who don’t want to rock out or exercise their vocal cords be the judges that get to award prizes to the best acts.

A Star Wars holiday spectacular
Creativity is key when pairing this epic movie series with the holidays, but with another new movie coming out this holiday season, it is sure to be a hit. “We would go for a play on ‘Retro Holidays in Space’ and include Star Wars elements,” says Narine Hovnanian, planning director at Taylor & Hov, Washington, D.C. To pull it off, set out costumes and props – like lightsabers and Darth Vader and stormtrooper masks – for a photo or GIF video booth, and for posing in front of Santa’s sleigh or a Christmas tree.

Santa Paws: A pet-inclusive affair
If you’re a pet lover, a holiday party is a great opportunity to include furry friends. In fact, make it all about them. Hovnanian offers creative ideas like holiday-themed treats, a runway show for pets donning reindeer costumes and a station where pets can get their photo taken with Santa. Top it off with a charitable component, like a fundraiser for a local animal shelter.

Passport potluck holiday
This theme will make your party a small-scale global event. Encourage guests to bring a dish from another culture and a beverage to pair, and then use them to assemble around-the-world tasting stations for small plates, desserts and drinks. Add an upbeat soundtrack to get in the holiday spirit. “Include traditional holiday music from all over the world,” Hovnanian says.

Also from Tara Shubbuck, CTW Features

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