Darcie Maranich

Darcie Maranich


Now that we’ve officially entered the holiday season, there are sure to be countless invitations to holiday gatherings piling up in your mailbox (or email inbox, perhaps). Maybe you’re even throwing a get-together of your own. If so, you’ll want to continue reading. Today, I’m offering five suggestions for gatherings that go beyond the average, ordinary dinner party and take it up a notch, to bring friends and loved ones together in a fun and unique way.

The Tasting Party – You don’t have to be a lover of wine to throw a tasting party, although if you are, I certainly hope I make the invite list. Tasting parties could feature just about any food or beverage you choose. Family-friendly events might put the spotlight on hot chocolate with assorted mix-ins (include unexpected choices like Nutella, cinnamon chips and salted caramel sauce). The epicurious among us might opt to showcase sushi. Fine chocolates, cheese, or spirits would also make excellent choices.

Progressive Dinner Party – This is such a great twist on a tried and true concept. Instead of gathering for a meal at one home, three or more families come together to host the event. Cocktails and appetizers are served at the first home before everyone loads into their cars (with a designated driver manning the wheel, of course) and heads to the second home for the main course. Dessert is served at the third location. If there are enough hosts, coffee and after dinner cordials could even be included at a fourth home.

Cookie Exchange – Moms who are already overwhelmed with the holiday shopping, wrapping and decorating will appreciate this get together. Each invitee is asked to bring along several dozen homemade (or store-bought, in a pinch) cookies. The cookies are exchanged during the event and each guest goes home with several varieties of baked goods, after having done only a fraction of the work. Brilliant, right?

Reverse Birthday Party – This is a great idea for teaching young children a lesson in generosity and charitable giving. The host invites all of her guests to a birthday party for Jesus. Party games are typically focused on a Christmas theme (pin the tail on Rudolph, musical chairs to Christmas carols). Cake and ice cream are served as well. The different detail in this birthday party, though, is that gifts are donated to local shelters or angel tree children.

Pajama Night – This is another great way to come together with the whole family. Guests are invited to attend in their pajamas. During the party, a favorite holiday movie is shown. Polar Express is a popular choice, but any holiday movie would suffice. Another fun option would be to do a slipper exchange, in which the guests are given another guest’s shoe size and asked to bring a pair of slippers for the gift exchange. After all, I think we’d all agree that even fuzzy pink bunny slippers are better than a fruitcake.

Happy holiday entertaining!

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