WFMW: {Guest Post} Easy Holiday Parties

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I work with a group of middle school students and adults at church, and despite the fact that December will make me eight months pregnant, I’ve decided to invite them over for a Christmas party.

Of course, being the slightly crazy person I am, I immediately clicked over to Pinterest – where my eyes quickly glazed over as visions of gift bag tags and tiered appetizer trays danced in my head. Thankfully, I quickly came to my senses and remembered, Hello! Middle school students. And eight months pregnant!

So while I’m still excited to invite my team over to celebrate Christmas together, I’m reigning in my tendencies to go overboard and get overwhelmed. Planning a fabulous party without losing my mind? Yep, that works for me!

I actually wrote a book about planning parties that’s part how-to and part manifesto on preventing the very event planning craziness I’m prone to myself. I’m taking a page out of my book and following these tips for an easy Christmas party.

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Thinking of My Guests First:

  • My first [brilliant] idea was to hold a cookie exchange for my church friends. But then I remembered that two-thirds of my guests are kids and the cookie-making responsibility might fall to their parents . . . who might not be too thrilled with adding that to their holiday to-do list. So instead, I’ll make a big batch of cookies [probably the slice-and-bake variety] and have them ready to serve my guests.
  • While it’s easier for me to invite people to a party at a specific time, I know how busy the holidays are for everyone. So I’ll make my party an open house and welcome guests anytime they can drop by on a Saturday morning and afternoon.

Serve Simple Food:

  • The kids I work with love peppermints, so I’ll make sure to have a big bowl of those – and then follow a red and white theme for the rest of the food.
  • Kids and busy adults alike seem to enjoy finger foods (I know I do), and these things should keep decently throughout a longer open house: Pizza Poppers, chips and salsa, brownies with peppermint Hershey’s kisses, and a veggie tray. If I’m real ambitious, I might even make candy cane shaped rice krispy treats – but I’m playing that one by ear. (Remember? Eight months pregnant. Not losing my mind.)

Choosing Streamlined Decor:

  • In my book I talk about using the Rule of Threes for party decor. Pick a theme, then use it with one larger decoration and two smaller ones.
  • I’m planning a candy cane theme (to go with the peppermints). While I may or may not get my tree up and decorated before the party, I’ll hang some candy canes (such a budget-friendly decoration!) from greenery on top of my blinds and on a few shelves.
  • Then I’ll serve our food on red platters (like this Jesus is the Gift plate from DaySpring) and red and white paper goods (like these adorable Peanuts Christmas plates and napkins). And I’ll tie little candy canes to their gift bags.

Just like that, I’ve got a fun (might I even say fabulous?!) party – and I didn’t have to go crazy or spend tons of money or time. Planning fabulous parties without losing my mind works for me!

Mary Carver 1

And I’d like to help you do the same. I have a discount code just for We Are THAT Family readers, taking 80% off my ebook. Just use the code WFMW between now and December 31, and you’ll receive Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind} for just 99 cents!

Mary Carver is a writer, believer, wife, mom and recovering perfectionist. She writes about her imperfect life with humor and honesty, encouraging women to give up on perfect and get on with life at And she’ll give you a free ebook about romance and real life when you subscribe to her blog.


  1. 1

    Wendi says

    Great post! I wanted to add that when I want something hot to last throughout an open house or event and I don’t want to have to worry about it I use my crock pot and fill it with either sloppy joe meat or a bbq shredded meat and turn it on warm – works perfectly. Have a great party. :)

  2. 3


    Ok, Kristen, this post taught me that I really need to read more carefully. I was tracking through the post thinking, I didn’t know Kristen was pregnant. Eight months? How did I miss that? Then I got to the bio at the end — AH! MARY, not Kristen! Of course, if I’d been reading carefully, I would have noticed GUEST POST at the top. . . sigh. . .

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