The holiday party is a subject of joy or chagrin depending on whether you’re the attendee or the planner. If the thought of throwing a holiday party before Christmas has you feeling more stress than holiday cheer, consider waiting until the hustle-and-bustle dies down, and throw a party in January to ring in the new year!
However, if you are hosting a resident holiday party this year, and are dreading planning the same ugly Christmas sweater party as the last 3 years, it’s time to branch out.
These unique–and actually fun–party ideas will have your residents coming for more than just the free food. So sit down with some cocoa and take a page from Santa’s book as you read this list (and check it twice) to find out which party is… an event that your residents will truly enjoy.
As a child, there’s few activities more exciting than decorating cookies. An activity that combines cookies, candy, art and frosting could not be more loved. Did I mention there was sugar involved? If your residential properties are host to a lot of children, this event will provide the perfect amount of holiday cheer. As much as children will adore this theme, make no mistake, grown-ups will get into the spirit too.
Buy pre-made sugar cookies in different shapes and sizes, and throw in a plethora of candies, frostings and spreading utensils. Add a little holiday music and you have an event that even adults can enjoy.
For a more mature crowd, include squeeze bottles or piping bags and how-to’s for advanced decorating techniques so every resident can make a treat worthy of a Martha Stewart magazine.
12 Days of Hors d’Oeuvres:
Just like it sounds, this party centers around appetizers, and lots of them. Don’t let that make you shy away from this party theme, however. With a night centered around hors d’oeuvres you won’t have to spend big bucks on an extensive dinner, or worry about endless cutlery or dishware. Provide simple to make–but delicious to eat–appetizers combined with holiday music, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a festive party that everyone will enjoy.
For entertainment and added cheer, consider making it a tree-trimming party as well! Set an undecorated tree in a prominent area of your party room, organize ornaments in multiple baskets and let your residents decorate with their neighbors and family. It’s a tradition that is sure to bring a smile to their faces, and it saves you the job of decorating a large tree on your own!
Holiday Movie Marathon:
While this is an event everyone can enjoy, a movie marathon is a great laid-back option for multifamily buildings with younger adults or families with children. Set up a room with bean bags and throw pillows and show a couple classic holiday films. To make the movie-going experience truly worthwhile, set up a “concession stand” in the back where guests can grab hot chocolate, winter themed treats, and popcorn.
Perhaps the biggest benefit about this event, is that it requires few decorations or fancy foods, making it low maintenance to plan and fitting for a relatively low budget. Just don’t forget to look into movie licensing laws if you are planning on showing a movie that is not in the public domain.
For a unique event full of laughs host a Christmas karaoke party. Make a faux stage and encourage residents to perform their favorite holiday songs. This event is the perfect time to include that ugly sweater contest you secretly look forward to every year.
Set up a small buffet of simple snacks and drinks– don’t forget the eggnog! For added fun, and great exposure for your properties, make a small corner with holiday photo props where residents can take fun photographs. Don’t forget to have them tag your business or residential Facebook page or Twitter.
Few things are more delicious than a cinnamon roll with a steaming cup of cocoa. Treat your residents to a catered buffet of brunch favorites one weekend morning. A hearty meal and a chance to slow down will be greatly welcomed during the bustle of the holiday season. To make the event truly festive, add fun holiday twists to your standard brunch fare. Include holiday-colored sprinkles for pancakes, purchase or make a christmas tree fruit display.
Gingerbread House Contest:
Can you think of anything more classic than decorating a gingerbread house for the holidays? Set out multiple tables, complete with candy, frosting, and gingerbread house materials on each table. Small groups can ban together to create the winning entry.
Save yourself the hassle involved with baking the frames and purchase a gingerbread kit to place on each table instead, or to allow for more participants at a smaller expense, supply graham crackers and sugar cones to make walls or roofs. Consider setting out a small amount of snacks for participants to enjoy while making their creation, and encourage everyone to post photos of their masterpieces on facebook and tag your business page.
Give & Get Party:
If you and your residents are in the mood to give back this season, this event is ideal. Host a party with a focus on charity by hosting an angel tree or encouraging residents to bring a gift for a toy drive. To make it a true give & get party, host a white elephant gift exchange in addition to the charity drive, or send your residents home with a fun favor.
If your apartment complex caters to a higher-end clientele, a holiday silent auction may be just the event to help out those in need and walk away with an exciting gift. Be sure to gage your residents’ interest in such an event before going forward with plans, while it can be an exciting a fun way to give back, some residents may not be willing or able to contribute as holiday expenses tighten their budget.
Everyone loves a day off for snow! Weather and climate permitting, find a nearby snow park and hire a shuttle to bring your residents to play in the fresh powder. Host the event mid-afternoon and remind residents to eat beforehand, or host the event all day and provide a delicious picnic lunch. Regardless of what you decide, there’s no doubt your residents will make memories that they never would have with a traditionally unexciting holiday party.
Favorite Things Gift Exchange:
What are a few of your favorite things? In this party not only does everyone walk away with a fun gift, but you get to learn about a little more about friends and neighbors. Just set a small cash limit (15 or 20 dollars is ideal) and have your residents wrap a gift for someone else to enjoy. Since the event centers around a gift exchange, decorate well to make the party feel truly festive. Don’t forget to provide music, and be sure that you have extras for just in case someone forgets to bring one.
Provide fun masquerade masks in holiday colors, and set up classic carnival games for an event that will be perfect for families. Decorate with bright bold colors, provide popcorn, caramel apples with Christmas sprinkles, and give out small prizes to children. Put a winter spin on carnival classics by making a snowman sandbag toss or a Christmas tree balloon pop. While doing it yourself might require quite the time investment, purchasing winter carnival games to store afterword might be a great option if you see this event bringing annual fun for your residents.
Regardless of what you chose this year, be certain to host some sort of event to make your residents feel excited to be part of your multifamily community. Tenant turnover can easily be reduced by making certain that your complex has a great community and is an enjoyable place to live.