Christmas parties are often seen as a celebration for the young or for families to gather and spread cheer. The classic image of Grandpa snoozing on a comfy chair as the party occurs around him doesn’t have to be a reality, especially if your friends are all over a certain age. In fact, older adults have the most reasons to host their own parties, if only to avoid senior isolation during this crucial time of the year.
Seniors also have the best opportunities to throw parties, since their children are often grown, and many seniors live in communities or care facilities. This creates a situation where friends are often close by and ready to celebrate without worrying about getting the kids home at a certain time.
If you’re a party-hosting newbie who’s looking to throw an unforgettable senior Christmas party for their friends this year, we’ve got some tips to help you ensure everything runs smoothly!
Planning the Basics of Your Holiday Party
Deciding What Type of Party You Want
Picture your perfect Christmas or holiday party. How are people dressed? What are they eating or drinking? Is there music? Is it loud or a sit-down soiree?
The most important decision regarding your holiday party you’ll make is picking the kind of party you’ll be throwing. This influences every other decision you’ll have to make. As we continue, we’ll discuss that a little more. Just keep in mind, deciding early on what type of party you’ll host ensures that everything will fit together and feel cohesive.
Finding Your Christmas Core
What would a Christmas party be without your friends and neighbors around to join in the festivities alongside you? Choosing the right guest list is the second most important decision you’ll be making for your party. When picking a guest list, include the people that you simply won’t throw the party without. This is likely your core group of friends and family.
Once you find your core group, list out the other guests you want there. A smaller list will fit with a more intimate and, often, more formal affair. Large guest lists lend themselves to less intimate, but more boisterous and laid-back parties.
Picking the Date
Once you’ve decided who you want there, you should decide when you’ll have the party. Weekends are the easiest time to throw a party, but they’re also the most popular. The closer to Christmas you throw the party, the more likely guests will have plans set. Also, consider how much time you want to have to plan the party.
It may be helpful to ask around to make sure nobody else is hosting an event that night, too. Then, you won’t have to worry about a split guest list. One way to find the best day and time for your party is to talk to your core group of guests and try to plan the event based on when they’re available.
Inviting the Guests
Now, it’s time to invite everyone. Any invitation you send needs to do a few key things. It must share the date, time, and location of the holiday party. It also has to define the party. (Is it fancy-dress, laid-back, potluck-style, etc.) Finally, it should instruct those who’d like to attend how to RSVP.
To invite people to your party, you can send out a card, which is traditional, but they tend to cost more and are considered more formal. You can also send an email, which is simple and free, but not everyone has an email address, and that method wouldn’t fit a fancier party. Simply making phone calls, which is more direct, is another option, though it requires the guest to remember to RSVP, and is the least formal type of invitation. Finally, you can also create an event on Facebook to let people know. It’s easy and free to set up and allows for an instant RSVP, but like email, not everyone has an account. Each option has its pros and cons. Just do your best to pick the right form of invitation for you and your guests and the party you want to throw.
Defining and Setting Up Your Senior Christmas Party
Picking Party-Smart Food & Drink
It’s important that you choose the right food for your group and party setting. A fancy-dress party probably won’t serve chicken wings, while a more informal get-together most likely won’t have chicken pâté. If your group isn’t very adventurous with food, you may want to save your rare, exotic pork dish. You’ll also most likely want finger food or hors d’oeuvres instead of a complex entrée, since a Christmas party is usually more about mingling and less about having a sit-down dinner. Finally, decide if you want alcohol at your party. Alcohol is a common component to many Christmas parties, but some choose to host dry parties for a variety of reasons.
Finding the Right Tunes to Set the Mood
Just like food, your music should fit the type of senior holiday party you’re throwing. Slower songs or instrumentals will usually mesh well with a quieter, more refined party. Peppier, happier, Christmas pop songs will fit a wilder gathering. If your guest list has more older adults, they may want more Christmas classics instead of newer Yule time hits. Luckily, many online streaming services, like Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora make it easy to find or create a playlist of similar music so you don’t have to stress yourself!
Decorating Your Space
As the party day nears, it’ll come time to start planning your decorations. Ultimately, you’ll want to showcase your decorating style, but there are a few ways that the type of party you’re hosting will skew what decorations you’ll use. For example, simple, but tasteful, decorations pair well with a fancier party. If you’re hosting a fancier party, try tactically placing fewer decorations around the house and using silvers and golds or another color theme, like a blue Christmas. For this type of celebration, less is often more. Conversely, a lively neighborhood get-together should have lots of bright colors, with lots of Santas or ornaments scattered around the house.
Scaling for Your Lifestyle
What’s so great about a senior Christmas party is that you can host one no matter what your living situation is. Whether you’re living in a single-family home, an apartment, or in a senior care facility, you can most likely still hold a party. Just make sure to adjust your aims and expectations of what it will look like and how it will it go.
If you’re living in an apartment, you may want to invite fewer people, purchase less food, and use fewer decorations. Or, residents of a care facility can work together to throw a holiday party hosted on their floor with the assistance of the staff to ensure it flows seamlessly. All you have to do is be a little creative and you can host a Christmas party no matter what your situation is!