Skip Nav
Twists on the Traditional Holiday Party

POPSUGAR / paid for by /

Make sure your next holiday party is anything but basic. We partnered with Pier 1 Imports on this post that shows you how to put a spin on your usual holiday traditions.

The holidays are a time steeped in tradition, so surprise your party guests with twists on the basics to make any gathering unique. From enticing guests through the door with unseasonal scents (think jasmine mingled with cinnamon) to table settings that surprise, your friends and family will appreciate the wonder of a Winter celebration that doesn't suck. Check out these unexpected twists for a bit of party-planning inspiration.

  1. Make ingredients work double-duty: If you're cooking a squash-based soup or even fruit chutney for dipping, reserve the rind of the item to use as a serving container. It's so pretty and a smart way to put your food to good use.

Source: Shutterstock

  1. Explore other cultures: If you usually stick with the basics when menu planning, consider offering guests traditional food from another country as a fun spin. Pasticcio al forno, or pasta filled with surprises, is a typical Italian offering alongside roast beef or stewed chicken during the holiday and, of course, served with lots of Champagne. Cheers!
  2. Turn it into game night: Raise your hand if you've ever attended a never-ending holiday party, filling you with excuses for how to sneak out. Yeah, been there. Instead, leave out a collection of games to play, enticing guests to mingle and get to know each other while battling each other for a win. The evening could even end with a final play-off between two rivals.

Source: Shutterstock

  1. Frozen party! Just succumb to the overexposure of this movie classic and invite your holiday guests over for an adult-friendly Frozen party. Think icy-blue frozen drinks, swedish meatballs, and icebox cakes.
  2. Make a statement: No one gets excited about a blah spread, so pick a theme for arranging food, such as using vintage serving platters; swapping a nontraditional material, like wrapping paper, for a tablecloth; or introducing a musical theme, with sheet music as a place setting. Or, use things you already have around the house for decorating — like copper mugs as flower vases!


Source: POPSUGAR Studios

  1. Use cookie cutters: Instead of leaving premeal eats in basic, boring shapes, use cookie cutters to create cute appetizers, like snowflake tea sandwiches or tree-shaped puff pastry bases for goodies.
  2. Holiday photo booth: It's as easy as creating a backdrop with colored plastic plates, leaving out a few props, and snapping pics. Your guests will loosen up and get festive pictures.

Source: Shutterstock

  1. Have a luau: Crank the heat and invite your guests to a holiday luau. Make a few fresh leis to give guests upon arrival, and have a hula break after dinner. Decorate your space with shells, a bit of sand, and sparkling lights. Light lots of floral-scented candles, and everyone will be transported to the fresh isle of Hawaii.
  2. Create your own Seussville: Just like the magical place you know from your childhood, invite guests over for a Seussville-inspired party filled with ideas for how to grow your heart, and even give out How the Grinch Stole Christmas! books as party favors. Decorate your walls with shiny red and green wrapping paper along with a few offbeat decorations.
  3. Play holiday bingo: Sure, it might seem a bit cheesy, but create personalized festive bingo cards for guests and have an exciting game pre- or postdinner. Toss the winners some holiday candy.
  4. Cookie swap: Not just for the elders, a cookie swap is a tasty way to celebrate the holidays with friends. And everyone gets something delicious to take home once the festivities are over.

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

  1. White elephant raffle: A white elephant gift swap is pretty typical during the holidays, so mix it up and turn the event into a raffle. Your guests will have a blast while rooting for others to win their special surprise.
  2. Karaoke! Use your festive playlist for a holiday karaoke sing-off. Select three judges, give each guest a chance to belt out a tune, and crown one partygoer the big winner.
  3. Music: Speaking of music, let your classic holiday beats take a backseat to these fun and festive tunes with a twist! Hit play on the Spotify playlist below, and get your party on.

Looking for one more unexpected twist? Watch this video, and pin the how-to for later!

All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds