The winter season is at times exciting and unpredictable, moody and quiet. It’s a time to hibernate and prepare for spring, but also a time to get friends together because, really, what else is there to do? Even for those who love outdoor winter activities, the months of short days, long nights, and bitter cold can become tiresome. Your party doesn’t have to revolve around a particular holiday or tradition — instead, make every day and everything an excuse to celebrate! Following are 11 creative winter themed party ideas to enjoy with your loved ones. Some of these parties can be held at home, while others will be better served in a unique venue. Not sure where to begin? Visit Peerspace, a comprehensive guide to unexpected and creative venues for parties, retreats, meetings, and gatherings of all kinds!
1. Bonfire bash
Guests should come bundled in down jackets and snow boots, as this party is best held (mostly) outside! Light the way to a roaring bonfire with paper bag luminaries; greet guests with a thermos of something warm to drink and flannel lap blankets. The entertainment is simple — songs and games around the fire between roasting hot dogs and making creative versions of s’mores. When it’s time to warm up, invite guests inside to enjoy foods that require a utensil: individual pot pie is always a crowd-pleaser.
2. Tree-trimming party
Recapture the idyllic fairy tale of an old-fashioned Christmas, which starts with a fresh cut tree and hundreds of decorations. When your tree is safely in the stand, drag out the boxes of every single one of grandma’s antique ornaments and your preschool creations. Invite friends for food and drink to decorate the tree and create their own memories to take home! Adult-friendly crafts can be practical or a throwback to adolescence: work together to create a garland, fashion ornaments out of beads and jingle bells, or create mason jar snow globes. All of this can be done while enjoying oyster stew and champagne. If you’re lucky, your guests will break out into impromptu caroling!
3. Scotch-pairing dinner party
For the brave — and, well, experienced — decadent winter themed party ideas can’t get more decadent than one that allows a pairing of warm spirits with rich and hearty foods. This works well with a smaller, intimate group who will appreciate comparing the different scotches and how they work with various foods. Ask your local wine and spirits rep to make recommendations — even better, hire a local chef to create a menu that suits your preferences while allowing the flavors to play off of each other. Add a roaring fire and cigars to keep a consistent theme.
4. Winter solstice
It’s the longest night of the year, so begin the long trek towards spring with a celebration to welcome back the sun! Peerspace offers a variety of venues and interactive spaces that allow the perfect opportunity to create and meditate. Dine on a menu of earth-focused foods among candlelight and sun symbols. Burn a yule log and make lanterns or luminaries. Have a DIY area for guests to design sun ornaments, homemade feeders for wild animals, or orange pomander to take home.
5. Valentine’s Day-inspired occasion
The holiday for lovers falls in the coldest time of year. Spin the idea that Valentine’s Day is just for couples with a romance-themed winter party! Invite friends for a gorgeous meal to celebrate all kinds of love. Present an aphrodisiac themed menu that includes fresh herbs and berries, hot peppers, vanilla and coffee, and, of course, chocolate. Bonus points if the cuisine can be eaten with fingers or chopsticks! Decorate your space with candles and shades of red, of course, but make it unique with contrasting textures. Add Billie Holiday to the playlist and keep it fun!
6. Coldest-place-on-earth party
International Falls, MN, is ranked as one of the 10 coldest places on earth. Sounds like one of the most exciting winter themed party ideas! Embrace it the way locals do by braving the cold with an outing: try cross-country skiing, snow-shoe-in, or the family favorite — sled riding! Move the party indoors for the foods that make Minnesota great: try Scandinavian fare of Swedish meatballs and gravlax, local specialties, wild rice soup, and fresh fruit pies. Or, opt for a nod to the state fair with fresh donuts.
7. Blue party
Hold this event as a potluck to see how your friends envision “blue.” Start with foods that are blue in color — blue corn, blueberries, blue potatoes — and move to blue plate specials — meatloaf and mashed potatoes, homemade mac and cheese, fried chicken and greens. Mix blue-hued cocktails like a blueberry basil martini, then bring in a group to play live rhythm and blues. Of course, it is required that guests wear shades of blue.
8. Cooking competition
Stock the kitchen, break into teams, choose an ingredient, and work your culinary magic. The best way to ensure it’s a surprise to everyone? Assign broad ingredient categories to each guest: grains, protein, sweets, vegetables. A good sense of humor and a sense of adventure is required! Provide aprons and hats and celebrate the winner by enjoying your creations. Loser has to do the dishes!
9. Fondue party
Allow hours and hours to enjoy this DIY dinner party! Stemless wine glasses and comfortable clothes are a must. Set a low coffee table, throw pillows on the floor, and try your hand at fondue. Classic cheese fondue or variations on chocolate are always a hit, but try cooking in oil or hot broth to add delicious protein to the menu. Don’t forget: tradition says that if your food falls off of your fondue stick into the pot, you have to kiss the person next to you.
10. Retro ’50s party
To warm up, choose among throwback winter themed party ideas! Serve American comfort food at its finest: from-scratch tuna casserole, Jell-o molds with fruit, and gin martinis. Learn to mix a Singapore sling or a pink squirrel for those who aren’t in the mood for a dry martini. Women can choose to wear wiggle dresses or pencil skirts, as well as Mary Janes or kitten heels, and accessorize with handbags, gloves, and stockings, of course. Throw on some Henry Mancini and dance the night away!
11. Wake-up brunch
Everyone likes brunch, as there’s something for every palate. Guests may adorn their coffee or dress their Bloody Mary with edible garnish. Set a family-style table, decorated with bowls of fruit and fresh flowers, adorn settings with crystal and mismatched china. Menu items should be a mix of sweet and savory: serve Chesapeake Benedict and brulee french toast with vanilla cream; assorted mild cheeses with fruit and bread. Then get fancy with smoked salmon and caviar with all of the appropriate accouterments.