Last Minute Christmas Party Ideas that Entice the Senses

Christmas party organizers should not only plan a functional and awesome party that guests will enjoy, but they should also create an overall memorable experience partygoers will treasure and look forward to revisiting next year.

Start with the five senses. For many, the best memories in life are those that not only call to mind the great time had, but evoke an inexplicable “warm and fuzzy” feeling that’s unique to the occasion. These memories can be triggered by certain tastes, sounds or smells; from scents that stir up memories of Mom’s cooking to tunes that feel like personal theme songs.

For a memorable Christmas party, try to appeal to all the senses.

Sight. While you can certainly deck the home with boughs of holly and other Christmas clichés, the simple task can backfire if not enough thought is put into it. Before throwing together a collection of random balloons, streamers and Christmas lights, think of theme or pattern. Perhaps you have loads of blue and silver decorations or an abundance of earthly holiday ornaments such as faux mistletoe, garland and wreaths. Just be sure the theme is a bit more specific than, “Christmas.”

Believe it or not, guests will decorate the party too. Request attire that fits the theme. This dress code could be as light hearted and fun as “ugly Christmas sweater” to something more formal and dressy. If you’re adventurous, ask guests to wear a particular color(s) — all white perhaps?

Lastly for sight, think of using alternative lighting to set a mood. Instead of using bright lamps or ceiling lights for a main light source, dim them or turn them off completely in exchange for the soft glow of Christmas lights, the fireplace and or candles.

Smell. Candles can also bring a memorable scent into the room. While “Tropical Passion” and “Fresh Rain” sound intriguing, invest in special holiday candles or sprays. Gingerbread, fresh pine and peppermint are all scents people tend to associate with the season.

Taste. Strategically place holiday-inspired hors d’oeuvres throughout the house where partygoers will gather. Think of also setting a display table for guests to drop by and stock up on festive treats. A small variety of seasonal drinks like eggnog and hot chocolate is a must. A selection of seasonal beers also makes a nice addition to the bar.

Sound. You’ll definitely want to have Christmas music playing ever so softly in the background, but don’t spend too much time creating a fancy two-hour playlist. Write down a few song types (classics, modern, Motown, etc.) and log onto a radio site like Pandora or AccuRadio to create a tailor-made radio station that’ll play all night.

Touch. For touch, plan a hands-on event or two. A standard gift exchange, White Elephant or Secret Santa will work, but request that guests wrap their presents so receivers have something to rip open. Plenty of hugs and handshakes are sure to ensue!

Finally, for a Christmas party, keep the home comfortably toasty. A room will inevitably get hotter as partygoers get to chatting, so know when to crack open a window to let in the brisk winter air. The last thing you want is people feeling uncomfortable, leaving early or associating unpleasant moods with the Christmas party you worked so hard to create.

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