Need some sweet winter dinner party ideas to delight your guests’ senses? The dinner party is the quintessential winter gathering. But planning a night of fine dining for your family and friends involves more than just putting dinner on the table. For instance, do you have the perfect setting? Not everyone has space in their home or apartment for a gathering of loved ones. And even fewer people have the time and patience to cook a feast, decorate their homes, and clean it all up after.
Luckily, you have Peerspace at your side! As the largest online marketplace for hourly event space rentals, you’ll have access to stylish, pristine, and private venues with just a few taps of your finger. You’ll also have the support of your chosen venue’s local host. They strive to help make your dream event come true and may be able to help with anything else you need to bring your winter dinner party ideas to life, like catering and waitstaff.
When it comes to winter dinner party ideas, there’s a lot more to consider, like entertainment, decorations, drinks, and ambiance. This guide will help you plan for it all! So warm up the fireplace and invite some friends over for a cozy evening of good food and good times with these winter dinner party ideas.
1. Dine in style with Peerspace
Elevate your dinner party by hosting it in a mansion, loft, historic home, or outdoor garden space. The best part? You don’t have to clean up at your place or worry about having enough chairs or table space. Peerspace can help you live vicariously by renting a unique space. You can even search specifically by “dinner venues.”
Here are some of our favorite dinner party venues include:
- This charming in Little Italy, NYC (pictured above) for up to 26 guests with a chef’s kitchen, outdoor space, and a beautiful rustic setting
- This 26-person dinner party venue in Marina Del Rey, CA set in a charming garden with a grill, heating lamps, string lights, and a conference table
- This spacious and well-lit studio in Franklin, TN with space for 60 guests, dining tables and chairs, a kitchen, and an open, stylish layout
- This BYOB dinner party rental in Chicago, IL with space for 30 guests, decorations, luxury dining chairs and banquet tables, a kitchen, speakers, and a photo room
- This luxury private dining room in London, UK with room for 20 guests, modular furnishings, tables, chairs, and optional catering
This is only a small sample, an appetizer course, really, of the types of venues you can book on Peerspace for your dinner party. And as we mentioned, the venue’s host can be on hand as much as you like, helping to take the stress out of your hosting duties if you like. By booking a unique Peerspace venue, you can treat your friends and family to a special night of dining with these winter dinner party ideas in a fabulous setting.
2. Raise a toast and stay toasty
Coffee isn’t the only drink that comes in seasonal flavors. Get in the holiday spirit with festive spirits. Think sangria, hot cider, and mulled wine; ditch regular old eggnog for eggnog coladas.
For an extensive list of decadent drink recipes, check out this slideshow on Delish. Add a little flair with festive drink charms (for identifying everyone’s drink and preventing mixups) and coasters.
3. Host a White Elephant gift exchange
A classic holiday party game and an easy answer to the question: What can I bring to the dinner party? This winter dinner party idea can add a touch of humor to the night, especially if guests choose gag gifts based on what they know about the other guests who are attending.
To refresh your memory in case you haven’t played in a while, White Elephant requires that everyone bring a wrapped gift. The players then draw numbers to determine the order in which everyone will get to unwrap a gift. On each person’s turn, they can either choose to unwrap a new gift or steal an already-opened gift from someone else. Once all of the gifts have been unwrapped, set a timer and let the gift stealing commence. Once the timer runs out, everyone must keep the last gift they were holding.
New to dinner party hosting? Then you need to read our guide on how to host a wow-worthy dinner party first!
4. Curate the perfect playlist
Set the tone for the party with some dinner music. Think jazz, holiday songs, secular winter songs, piano music, and coffeehouse acoustic songs. To get you started, Spotify already has a 100 Greatest Dinner Party Songs playlist. Don’t let it be a silent night (pun intended). No matter what you are planning for your meal, don’t skip this winter dinner party idea.
5. Don’t forget the appetizers
Pre-game for the main meal with light bites. Use limited edition snowflake Ritz crackers for festive bruschetta, serve a warm brie dish, offer plenty of cheese and crackers, and get creative with puff pastry to create bite-sized snacks. A veggie tray and fruit salad are also perfect complements for an assortment of appetizers.
Make it easy (and more fun!) for yourself by renting a winery through Peerspace for this suggestion. Most wineries not only offer you a delectable selection of their house wines, but they also provide some of the tastiest small plates anywhere. This is one of those winter dinner party ideas your guests will adore!
6. Let the games begin
Keep the party alive with games and conversation starters! Headbandz and Cards Against Humanity are always crowd favorites. If you have access to a projector or TV that hooks up to the internet, Quiplash is a hilarious online party game that allows you to show off your comedy chops.
To keep conversations flowing, toss some conversation starters on the table. Ice-breaking questions can be printed onto napkins, coasters, or table cards, or you can use Table Topics cards. If you’re feeling extra creative, try typing up and printing your own.
7. Design a festive tablescape
The dining table will be the focus of your dinner party, so the most important dinner party ideas on this list are for table decorations. At each place setting, set up place cards with your guests’ names on them, and consider including a small gift or chocolate. Use a cloth tablecloth or placemats, and consider adding a table runner (it could even be a strip of fake snow made of cotton).
You can top the table with snowy trees to create a winter wonderland look or pine cones and holly from a craft store. Pier 1 Imports is a treasure trove of tabletop decor, especially if your theme is winter dinner party ideas. Don’t forget candles! You can use real or battery-operated votives to set the mood. Go for pine or cinnamon scents, or use unscented. Whatever you choose, just make sure the scent isn’t so overpowering that your guests lose their appetites.
If you book a pre-decorated Peerspace venue for your dinner party, it may already come with a festive tablescape. That saves you time and money right there!
8. Munch on mini desserts
Forget about cutting up cakes or pies. Set up a self-serve dessert bar featuring mini pies, sugar cookies, whoopie pies, cake pops, snowy brownies (brownies dusted with powdered sugar), mini bundt cakes, red velvet everything, cupcakes, peppermint bark, peanut brittle, and toffee. Buy a stack of festive paper plates and use cake stands, colorful platters, and trays to display everything.
A chocolate fondue fountain with fruit and angel-food cake bites or a s’mores bar could be another perfect winter dessert station option as well. You can find inexpensive fondue or indoor s’mores makers online or at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. For fancy s’mores, buy an assortment of different graham cracker flavors (including cinnamon and chocolate-covered crackers), colorful marshmallows, and different kinds of chocolate bars.
We’re all dreaming of spring at this point! Give your spring dinner party a fun theme by using our “May the Fourth” dinner ideas!
9. Set up a hot cocoa or coffee bar
When the weather outside is frightful, hot cocoa or coffee is a delightful treat to serve to your dinner guests along with their desserts. Don’t forget the whipped cream (which comes in different flavors now!) mini marshmallows, snowflake marshmallow cutouts, sprinkles, cinnamon sticks, cookie straws, and festive syrups like peppermint, gingerbread, and caramel. To make a large batch of hot cocoa, just use a crockpot!
Once you have gathered all the right toppings, remember that display is everything. You want your cocoa bar to be festive and aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious. For a more in-depth guide to setting up the perfect hot chocolate station, check out this blog.
If you want to spend less time planning and more time enjoying, consider booking a local cafe on Peerspace. Most are happy to accommodate your hot bevy requests and usually offer servers and baristas as part of your rental. All in a cute cafe setting!
10. Host an ugly sweater contest
Make it a casual dinner party by hosting an ugly sweater contest so no one has to stress over what to wear. While department stores have no shortage of ready-made sweater options, you can also encourage guests to get crafty and decorate their own sweaters from thrift stores. This is one of those winter dinner party ideas better served at a lovely Peerspace venue to offset the eye-sore sweater vibes!