Guide to Throwing a Holiday Party to Remember
Select the Date NOW!
2019 is going to be tough to schedule a holiday party. Last December there were four weekends before Christmas. This year the first is on a Monday and Christmas is on a Wednesday. So that means there are only three weekends in December before Christmas to schedule your ugly Christmas sweater party in 2019.
So, you are going to end up competing for people’s attention against office parties, travel, festivals, Christmas shopping and all the other things that make December exhausting. Add to the normal Challenges of pulling people away from Netflix for a few hours and you see the problem.
Communicate to your friends that you are holding a party and send a save-the-date early. That way you can mark your weekend territory like a Corgi marks a tree.
Ugly Christmas Sweaters Dress Code
Tell everyone up front that it is an ugly Christmas sweater party and failure to participate will lead to public shame and ridicule. Include this Amazon listing link in your announcement and your lazy friends don’t have to do any real research.
They can make one or buy one, but suits and t-shirts are surprisingly cheap so no excuses. If enough people want to make them consider a party before the party but be realistic about your time.
If you have a few extra then keep your ugly sweaters on standby for improperly attired guests. This is like a snooty club that keeps spare sport coats for their dining room.
Ugly Christmas sweaters are more than a theme. They serve as great conversation pieces and they get people in a party mood as well as alcohol but with significantly less vomit and drunk texting your ex. Add ugly sweaters and alcohol together with some music and yes, Virginia, you have a party.
Turn the air down or cool it off a bit more than you would for a regular party. A lot of sweaters are pretty hot, especially with all the polyester and tinsel.
Don’t Forget Ugly Hanukkah Sweaters
Hanukkah? Chanukah? Hannukah? I don’t know. Ask your Jewish friends if they want to wear an ugly Christmas sweater. They may think it is funny and may like to annoy their bubbe with a picture or two decked in red and green.
But they also can get Hanukkah themed sweaters if they prefer. Check out our Amazon guide or send this link to your Jewish guests and let them know they can buy an ugly Hanukkah sweater too.
The selection of Hanukkah sweaters isn’t as big as ugly Christmas sweaters but there are still enough options to get everyone in on the fun.
Take lots of pictures
This one should go without saying but you are going to want to savor this. Or live stream when things are going well and before the cops show up.
Your guest list is key to an ugly Christmas sweater party in 2019
Invite cool people that you like. If everyone already knows each other it is a gathering of friends but if a lot of people are meeting for the first time, then it is a different vibe. Over invite because people will bail on you. A little crowded beats a little under crowded for a good time.
Food & Drinks
Depending on your crowd you may find people drink more and eat less than you are expecting. If you are on a budget, then don’t overspend on food for your ugly Christmas sweater party in 2019. Remember you went tacky. Maybe pick tacky foods to go with it or throw a potluck.
Don’t overdo the holiday themed drinks. Most people really don’t want to get drunk on mulled wine or eggnog so don’t buy too much and stick to what your friends normally drink.
One fun variation is a mojito or margarita bar. This is surprisingly easy. Modest priced rum and tequila along with agave, lots of lime, mint and a variety of sweet and spicy seasonings and juices are enough. Print out instructions and have a contest or a taste test.
Avoid distractions like TV or kitties
No TVs, kids or pets. They are too much to compete with. Don’t schedule a party during a football game or other big event.
Before you pick a date just Google a phrase like “sports events December 14 2019” and “events December 14 2019.” This should tell you what is going on from football to festivals to concerts. Ask your best friends to let you know when their office Holiday party is scheduled.
Take a look at the NFL schedule. Every Monday, Thursday and Sunday evening includes games. If you want to compete against them then at least make sure the home team or big rival isn’t playing. Ask a football fan if you are not. Nothing is worse for a party than people parking on your couch watching the game. They could do that at home.
With decorations either do too little or too much. Ugly Christmas sweaters are about bad decisions so extend that to décor. My suggestion is lots of the cheapest, ugliest decorations you can find. Amazon has lots of cheap and bulk items. You can get 50 feet of plastic garland for $15. They also sell sets of Christmas tree balls for $8.
Buy bulk icicle tinsel or garland tinsel on Amazon. Go to dollar stores or thrift shops and buy the cheapest stuff no matter what they look like. Don’t coordinate and don’t plan. Look for stuff on clearance.
You can even make decorating your tree part of the fun if you want. Just have the tree set up and ready so your guests just need to add the decorations. If they do an ugly job you can redo it when they leave.
Music is Key
The key to a great party is to know what to make tacky and what not to. Don’t plan on playing lame Christmas music all night. People will probably already be sick of it by the time the party comes along. Think about what your guests like to listen to. Consider copying a long playlist of songs people like and throwing in the occasional tacky song. The songs from those Rankin Bass could be a winner if used sparsely.
If you want to play tacky music then stick to something tacky that people actually do like. Throwing an ugly Christmas sweater party in 2019 doesn’t have to mean playing current hits. One hit wonders, boy bands or disco can all work. But maybe keep that to a couple of hours of that at most so you don’t overdo it.
Invite the neighbors
Make sure your neighbors aren’t going to be a buzz kill. Don’t have parties on work nights or extremely late if they will call the cops. Invite them if you like them or nicely inform them about the party in advance. Good walls make good neighbors to don’t spend you party trying to keep your neighbors from trying to knock down your walls.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Contests
This one is going to get its own article so check back. But a contest can be a fun addition as long as it doesn’t require too much. Know your audience and don’t start until everyone has had time to show up an hour late and drink four or more drinks. Vote on funniest, most original, tackiest, best couple’s (you won’t get many entries), etc. Don’t do too many. One or may be two prizes for every 10-20 attendees is plenty.
Don’t forget to choose a great sweater for yourself. You will want to choose a different sweater than you would for family events or your office party. For more on that see our guide to The 6 Types of Ugly Christmas Sweaters You Need to Buy. The guide even talks about Santa Crawls and Christmas Bar Crawls.
If you do go wild, don’t risk it by bringing it to the office. Save yourself a trip to human resources with our 10 Ugly Christmas Sweaters You Can’t Wear to The Office.
Make Christmas Great Again!
Even if wearing this wouldn’t lead to arguments among your guests, be aware this will lead to some political discussions. Be prepared to keep it light.
There are a lot of ways this can go wrong. I suggest you make it crappy gifts then do a white elephant exchange. Tell people they can’t spend more than $10 and suggest they make things or buy the tackiest, ugliest gift imaginable. Tacky holiday decorations are a good choice.
For most people, the less you ask of them the better. So you are already insisting they dress up so be selective of how much more you expect. If you do a ugly sweater, pot-luck, BYOB, gift exchange people may chose to just stream Friends at home instead.
Bring a Tinder Date Contest
If you really want wacky times and you have a lot of single friends, then consider throwing a Tinder party. Throw a variation on the premise of the 2010 movie Dinner for Schmucks. In the movie Paul Rudd invited odd but sincere Steve Carell to a party where all the “cool” guests tried to find the most “uncool” oddballs to invite. But Tinder delivers oddball dates without even trying.
Be good natured about it. All this means is tell people to bring someone they matched on Tinder. When it is over you can vote on who reeled in the best and who got stuck with the schmuck. Extra points for each person who is stood up or ghosted last moment but make sure you have a cover story for the kids if you actually meet “the one” (you won’t).
Don’t forget that parties are about good times with people you like. Do you planning and prep but don’t make it a chore. At some point you just need to relax and enjoy the ride.
Hopefully these tips will get you started and on the road to a great ugly Christmas sweater party in 2019. Let us know your suggestions and what we should add to the list.