Cookie Exchange - Fun and frugal, the cookie exchange has become a go-to party for many holiday hostesses (and hosts). Simply invite a small group of friends and instruct them to bake (no store bought cookies here) at least six dozen cookies. Some are to share and other to be packed up and taken home. Most often there are prizes (or award certificates) given for best cookie.
What's required of the host: Some festive decor, invitations, beverages and a few savory finger foods. Awards can be store-bought gifts or award certificates. If you want to go all out, provide pretty cookie bags or gable boxes for your guests to take their cookies home in. You can also ask the guests to wear an apron or festive clothing.
A Christmas sing-along - Karaoke anyone? Really, there's no more appropriate time of year for singing than at Christmas. If you're really brave you can take your sing-along on the road? After getting into the spirit at the host's home why not drop by a senior's home (after getting their permission first) and spread the holiday cheer?
What's required of the host: A karaoke machine or piano/keyboard (and the ability to play), snacks or a light meal, like pizza or a mashed/baked potato bar and drinks.
Wine Exchange - Much like a cookie exchange, only with less baking :). The rules of a wine exchange are simple. Guests bring two bottles of an identical wine - one wrapped up for exchanging and one for sampling. Guests begin by sampling the wines (and enjoying some tasty appetizers), and then the exchanging begins - White Elephant style.
What's required of the host: Appetizers, non-alcoholic beverage options, invitations and perhaps some festive decor.
Charitable Cheer - There are several ways in which you can combine charitable giving and a festive Christmas gathering. You could have a canned food drive, a Christmas Shoebox packing party, or an Adopt-A-Family donation drive.
What's required of the host: Refreshments, Christmas cheer, possibly organizing with the charity for drop off or delivery.
Retro Christmas Movie Theme - Don't just play a retro Christmas movie, celebrate it! Request that guests dress as their favorite character (and offer best costume prizes of course), create a menu that reflects the movie, create trivia questions (with prizes) ...and play the movie. From The Christmas Story, to The Grinch, and even bible-based Christmas movies, there are many different films to choose from.
What's required of the host: Ambiance is a big one here! Themed food and drinks, prizes, and a copy of the movie.