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A Different Kind of Holiday Party

Christmastime brings rounds of holiday gatherings. A reason to decorate. Light candles. Dress up fancy. Find the perfect gift to delight a special someone. Mingle and be merry. And remember the Reason we celebrate.

But frankly, all the peace and joy can be exhausting! Totally in a good way. But still. You know how it is, every weekend is booked. Cramming in one more batch of cookies. We also have not one, but two birthdays Christmas week in our family. So our December is jam-packed.

When I got married I wanted to finally “host” a holiday party. But it seemed impossible to work another event into everyone’s schedule. If I planned something in December, either people wouldn’t come because of prior plans, or they would pile another “to-do” on their plate. So I looked for an alternative.

And came up with: The New Year’s Day Brunch Open House! My husband and I hosted this party on January 1st. It was well-attended and well-received. Here were some of the benefits of this kind of party:

  • Most people do not have anything planned on this day, and other holiday parties are over, so a lot of people have potential to attend
  • No RSVP takes pressure off (most people mentioned they were coming), and made for fun surprises as people we didn’t expect to come rang the doorbell
  • The brunch/open house format lets people sleep in after staying up till midnight the night before
  • An open house adds flexibility – it removes the obligation to arrive at a set time or stay for a large chunk of time
  • The timing (10-2) meant people could bring kids without worrying about bedtime
  • Brunch food is easy to make in quantity and great to eat any time of day
  • An open house format allowed us to invite a TON of people, because we knew people would be coming and going… we invited probably 90 people from family, friends, coworkers, church, etc.
  • People brought leftover holiday cookies to share – helping people clear their house of goodies in preparation for New Year’s Resolutions, and reducing our work to prepare for the party!
  • Filling the house with 50-60 of our favorite friends and relatives was an amazing way to kick off the New Year!
  • We used up leftover holiday plates, cups, napkins and decor – so the cost was low and we also cleaned up odds and ends extras.

Overall, it was a fantastic twist on the typical evening holiday party. And it was the best way for friends and family from all facets of our life to finally meet each other. We are unsure if we will do host this type of party again THIS year, because of the timing of New Year’s Day, but we hope to do another one soon!

What kind of holiday parties do you attend (or hate to attend!)? What makes a party enjoyable for you?

Crunchy Beach Mama

Sunday 7th of November 2010

I love the Open House concept. I think it works great in many situations!

T Rex Mom

Sunday 7th of November 2010

Three out of four of us have birthdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (I insisted when planning for our second that she not have a December or November birthday - glad it worked out!) It's like running the gauntlet!We've given up on trying to have birthday parties for any of us unless we incorporate it into an already established gathering. For example, we're celebrating T Rex's birthday at Thanksgiving. He's still young so I don't think he'll mind but let me tell you, when I was a kid, I would get pretty disgruntled when I couldn't have a birthday party outside with my friends because it was the middle of winter everyone was on vacation and don't even get me started on birthday gifts wrapped in Christmas paper. Hmmm - I'm thinking a blog posting is in order there!I really like your idea. We've been wanting to do something for our neighborhood to get the neighbors together. We know several of them but they don't seem to know each other so we thought we'd try to pull something together so everyone could mingle. Great suggestion.I'm guessing they'll also be some apple pie at your gathering?!? On a side note, do you make your own applesauce? We've been doing that for the kids and they LOVE it!We used to both have work parties that we attended but now we have just the one for T Rex Dad and we're not even sure if we'll be going to that one - it's a lot of work to get sitters for the kids. We'll see. But I'm sure looking forward to sharing the holiday season with the kids this year. Especially the almost 3 year old, he is SO excited to "see the lights".