It’s time for holiday parties and gatherings — so let’s discuss: What are your favorite things to do with groups? Do you have any favorite games or activities? Pitcher drinks or appetizers? Holiday-related tasks you prefer to do in a group, like baking or decorating the tree? (Do you have any go-to gifts for your host(s)?)
We’ve had a few discussions about this in the past, including
- Six Great Board Games for Adults
- Signature Dishes for the Holidays
- What Are Your Favorite Holiday Dishes? (Recipe Open Thread)
- Do You Throw Dinner Parties?
- (if you have a lot of littles running around:) Easy Crafts Your Kids Can Make for Teachers and Family (at CorporetteMoms)
- Our Family Holiday Traditions (at CorporetteMoms)
For my $.02, we don’t usually have a huge group for the holidays (and it’s been even smaller in recent years due to differing approaches to the pandemic). When we have 12+ people, especially for brunch, we love to do a Bloody Mary bar where people can add their own fixings. (If we’re hosting, we’re also prone to doing a big soup.
In terms of go-to gifts for hosts, I’m usually terribly boring and pick up a bottle of wine — I’d love suggestions if you guys have some! I did have a fleeting thought to maybe make a Christmas-themed simple syrup to gift to people (I was eyeing this recipe), but, ah, that hasn’t happened yet.
In terms of games, if we have a small enough group and enough time we enjoy doing a plot-driven game like a murder mystery or an Escape Room type of game — we’ve bought Star Trek ones and wine-themed ones over the years. We had a few years when we had people over for a tree-trimming party, as well.
Readers, how about you? What are your favorite group activities, recipes for groups, and gifts for hosts?
Stock photo via Pexels / Nicole Michalou.
I made this one a few years ago and it was a hit – https://www.hungry-girl.com/recipe-makeovers/cran-good-moscow-mule
this one too – https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/mulled-wine-recipe/
but I might make this one this year:
Williams Sonoma has a kitchen hand soap and lotion gift set that is my go to hostess gift during the holidays
I’m planning to host a low-key puzzle party one afternoon close to Christmas. I will set up a couple of tables with jigsaw puzzles and serve healthy-ish snacks. I think people need something relaxing this time of year. People who aren’t into jigsaw puzzles can just chat and eat.
One year I’d like to host an afternoon at my home for getting holiday stuff done. For example, inviting my friends to bring their stack of holiday cards to write or address, or bring those bags of gifts and wrap them. Sort of a group holiday productivity party. I don’t know if anyone else would enjoy something like that, but I would!
I would be delighted to attend the holiday getting stuff done party!!
Except I wouldn’t get any holiday stuff done because I would be too busy socializing!
little baker mouse
This would also be me. :)
They all sound like fun! I’ve thought of trading some “deck the halls” time with friends who might want some companionship while they get their homes set for the holiday. I love the idea of a puzzle party!! (BTW where do you live? I’m on the SF Peninsula.)
I make this punch every year for my Christmas party and everyone always loves it. The ingredients can all be dumped in a 2 gallon container so it’s really easy – 1 bottle Spite, 1 64 oz cranberry juice, 1 large can of pineapple juice, 1 frozen can of lemonade concentrate, 1 bottle of Southern Comfort. I put cranberries and sliced lemons in the container mostly to make it look pretty in my large glass container. I would never drink Southern Comfort in any other drink and think it’s gross, but I promise this drink is delicious.
just how big is the bottle of Southern Comfort??
Favorite holiday traditions….
Cooking the few family recipes (usually the desert ones) that have been passed down the family. Always involve the kids so they learn, and look forward to it every year.
A big hard puzzle with lots of pieces. It’s out on a coffee table, people come and go and sit whenever, kids and adults together. Very peaceful and meditative.
Decorating the Xmas tree together. When the kids are little, every year they make an ornament. Our tree is filled with ornaments going back to my childhood. It has a different kind of beauty and tradition.
Wassail, using the old Joy of Cooking recipe. I remember my mother opening up those giant cans of pineapple juice, making some OJ from frozen concentrate, adding some other stuff. Heating it up on the stove top in a giant sauce pan, with oranges studded with cloves floating on the surface. I guess you could make it alcoholic, but I don’t see the need.
Now I am very curious about Wassail but don’t see the original joy of cooking version via google. Kindly share?
I am anon right above. I found https://www.gloucestertimes.com/news/lifestyles/wassail-still-a-perfect-merry-maker-for-cold-winter-months/article_5a79fe84-f794-5a23-b46f-617a5895bfb1.html
KS IT Chick
Crab-stuffed mushrooms. It elevates the standard party stuffed mushrooms into something pretty special. I have even done them with portobellos for Christmas Eve dinner.
Jennifer M. Bell
I hosted a holiday party at my apartment last week. I recently moved into a new apartment, which is very nice, cozy, and beautifully decorated. All six of my close coworkers were invited to my office. I made recipes for them polao, beef, dal, and salad, cold beverages, egg pudding for dessert, and fruits. We share tea together after all of our meals are finished. We all enjoy playing ludo. A party cannot be enjoyable without smoking or some champagne. But since we all enjoy smoking, we all lit up together. We all dance together as background music is played, and the party light is on.