10 stylish and sophisticated Christmas party ideas

Elegant yet fun ways to celebrate the festive season with a group.
outdoor entertainment area ideas bar cartPhotography: Alana Landsberry / Styling: Lucy Gough

It’s that time of year again when we’re getting groups of friends together, celebrating with work mates or gathering family members for a Christmas party. If you don’t want to do a run-of-the-mill lunch or an out-there karaoke night isn’t your style, we’ve got some Christmas party ideas that could be exactly what you’re looking for.

These party ideas might just get the creative juices flowing, encourage conversation (which comes in handy if mixing friend groups or mingling with people who don’t know each other so well) and just generally put everyone in a good mood. Pick and mix from the ideas below and have a merry Christmas party!

1. Host a Christmas brunch

Who says you need to do an extravagant meal for your Christmas party? For a more low-key idea, try Christmas brunch where you serve ham-and-cheese croissants with orange juice, tea or coffee. It’s low-fuss for the host and a lovely, casual morning for everyone involved. You could even book a table at a favourite local cafe. This might help avoid the crowds at Christmas and freshen things up with an early kick-off. If you’re after a celebratory morning beverage, mimosas would go down a treat.

Lakeside New Zealand Home Christmas Treats
(Photography & styling: Nicki Dobrzynski)

2. Throw a wreath-making Christmas party

Get together to make Christmas wreaths. Set up a table with pre-bought wreath bases, which you can find at places such as Spotlight. Put out an array of different fresh or faux foliage and greenery, ribbons, baubles and anything else that could be used to make a wreath look festive. Get lost in the wreath-making while you chat and snack, with a glass of something bubbly. This is a great activity for a group who may not know each other so well. There are also plenty of florists and boutiques that throw wreath-making events if you want to really reduce the workload for yourself.

A white Christmas wreath with flannel flowers, lily of the valley and sweet pea.
(Photography: Brigid Arnott / Styling: Corina Koch)

3. Do a festive pet party

Why should the humans have all the fun? If you want to get your furry family members involved in your Christmas party, dress them up in bows, headbands or festive coats and get together with your other pet-owning pals for a park date or backyard play with some special pet treats and toys.

Melanie Parker Christmas wreath front door
(Photography: Hannah Puechmarin)

4. Decorate gingerbread houses or people

This is a fun Christmas party idea for kids, but adults will love it too. Simply set out gingerbread men or gingerbread houses, which you can get from places such as Big W, and get decorating. Put out bowls of lollies, candy canes, Smarties and anything else that could make for a pretty and delicious gingerbread delicacy. Make the gingerbread houses ahead of time to prevent them from falling apart while you’re decorating.

Gingerbread men with whipped burnt toffee icing
(Photography: Con Poulos / Styling: Steve Pearce )

5. Choose an out-of-the-box colour theme

No need to go for a red and green theme just because it’s a Christmas party. You could pick white or blue (or both) for your Christmas party theme colours. Decorate to suit and let your guests know so you can colour coordinate. It adds an extra element of novelty without going into complete dress-up mode.

Melinda Hartwright Christmas Decorating
(Photography: Louise Roche)

6. Go on a Christmas picnic

Looking for easy, budget-friendly work Christmas party ideas? Pack some goodies like fresh in-season fruit, ice-cold drinks and an impressive cake, and get out for a day in the sunshine. Settle on a lovely picnic rug and create a setting that feels suitable for Christmas. Organise a Secret Santa with the group and swap chic but affordable pressies on the day.

(Photography: Brigid Arnott)

7. Hire a house and a private chef

If you’re in a position to splurge, go all out by hiring a house and a chef to do your Christmas catering for you. If you’re not quite at that budget level, you could opt for a Christmas meal pre-prepared and delivered by The Dinner Ladies. It’s just like home-made but without as much effort, so you can enjoy the festivities too. Or a good old-fashioned pot luck where everyone brings a favourite Christmas dish is a great way to share the load and try something new.

Lakeside New Zealand Home Champagne Ham
(Photography & styling: Nicki Dobrzynski)

8. Have a games night

Bored of the usual stuffy Christmas party ideas? Gather everyone together for a games night with your board games of choice. It might be a traditional board game such as Monopoly. Or, if you want something a little more relaxed, try a conversation-starting card game such as The Hygge Game. Get the tunes playing, put out some mince pies and have a little light-hearted fun together.

Hayley sitting in the games room on a light green panelled bench alongside upholstered furniture.
(Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

9. Set up an outdoor movie night

There’s something special about watching a Christmas movie under the stars. Set up a projector, which you can find online and just add popcorn, drinks and any other snacks you desire. Or, you could make it an elevated version of a movie night with a beautifully-decorated dining table set up to sit at while you enjoy the film.

Lakeside New Zealand Home Outdoor Dining Area
(Photography & styling: Nicki Dobrzynski)

10. Enjoy a day of cocktail-making

There’s nothing more festive than a refreshing cocktail (or mocktail). Turn it into a fun event by hiring someone to come and teach you how to make them or set up an area with recipes and all the ingredients so people can let loose and put their own spin on the classics. Get the music playing and set up cosy seating zones so everyone can mix and mingle.

outdoor entertainment area ideas bar cart
(Photography: Alana Landsberry / Styling: Lucy Gough)

Related stories