How To Host A Tree Trimming Party | Tips, Ideas and More

This year, kick off the holiday season a little differently by inviting friends and family to help decorate your tree. Tree trimming parties are a great chance to get into the Christmas spirit together, before the whirlwind of shopping, travel, office parties, and kid-related holiday programs takes over.

How to Host a Festive Tree Trimming Party

Check out these tips from expert party planners on hosting a festive tree trimming party—from a relaxed family-friendly brunch to a more sophisticated evening gathering.

Set the scene

christmas tree decorating
Many hands make beautiful work. | Image courtesy The Spruce

There’s no need to go too crazy on the holiday décor for this one. It’s the Christmas kick off, after all, so there’s no pressure to be decorated to the hilt. Be sure to have your tree bought, up, and strung with lights before guests arrive. Put on holiday music, light the fire, and fill your home with the scents of the holidays by simmering cider on your stove. If playlists are your thing, ask guests to let you know ahead of time their favorite holiday songs performed by their favorite artists, and make sure everyone’s top pick makes the list.

Invite your guests to bring an ornament

California-based party planner Greg Jenkins suggests asking guests to bring an ornament that “says something about their interests or personality, which sparks conversation and makes storytelling part of your event.”

If you don’t want to ask guests to bring an ornament, you can set up a station where guests can decorate ornaments you provide. Consider a garland-making station, too, and provide popcorn, cranberries, and string. For something a little different, origami cranes make beautiful and unique garlands. Either hang the decorations your guests make on your tree—or let them take them home, the perfect homemade party favor.

Consider a theme

holiday party
Pick a theme for your tree, such as rustic Christmas. | Image courtesy Pexels

New York interior designer and famed Christmas tree decorator Francis Toumbakaris says tree trimming parties are more fun when there’s a theme. “One way to make this affordable and creative is to ask people to dress in accordance with a theme and bring a single ornament that also incorporates that theme. For example, if you have a purple and Champagne gold themed tree, ask your guests to bring a purple and Champagne gold ornament and to dress in purple and Champagne gold. The more specific you are with the theme, the more fun it is.”

Want to be a little less sophisticated with your theme? Jenkins says asking guests to come in Ugly Christmas Sweaters will instantly break the ice and keep guests laughing throughout your gathering.  

A tree trimming party is certain to fill you with holiday spirit that’ll take you and your guests all the way through the season with joy.

Make It a Secret Santa

Before the party, use the online Secret Santa generator, which will manage and generate everything you need for a successful Secret Santa gift exchange. Have guests bring their Secret Santa gifts to the party—wrapped and labeled “To” but not “From.” Gifts can be dropped in a large basket or bag as guests come in—so no one sees who brought what. When gifts are opened, have the recipient or the whole group try to guess the giver.

Food should be stress-free

holiday drink list
Create a signature holiday drink for a festive twist. | Image courtesy Etsy seller SugarSpiceInvitation

Last but not least, the food. Consider a brunch-time party. Provide a couple of egg casseroles, bagels or croissants, and fresh fruit. If you’d like an afternoon or evening party, heavy hors d’oeuvres will do. You want guests to be able to make a little plate then mix and mingle. Jenkins suggests festive holiday appetizers like cranberry and cream cheese pin wheels, bacon-wrapped apricot bites, brie cherry pastry cups, and turkey sliders with cranberry relish. (Hello, Thanksgiving leftovers!)

If you want to serve cocktails, don’t feel like you need to lay out a full bar. Perhaps beer, white and red wine, and one signature holiday-themed drink. Look on Pinterest for something that strikes your fancy—like a Mistletoe Martini, Candy Cane, or the classic—Egg Nog with whiskey or rum.

Want to have a little more fun with your drinks? Shelley Grieshop of Totally Promotional says personalized mood cups are always a hit. They are clear until you pour your drinks, then turn colors to fit your theme. And yep, they come in red and green.

Invite a surprise guest

santa at party
Extra elf points if everyone’s favorite party guest is in attendance. | Image courtesy Pexels

There’s one guest who’s welcome at every Christmas party. If Santa can visit, kids will be thrilled to share their holiday wish list—and parents can start the good behavior bribes early. If it’s an adults-only party and it’s in your budget, booking professional carolers to show up at your door will be the highlight of the gathering.

No matter how big or small you go, a tree trimming party is certain to fill you with holiday spirit that’ll take you and your guests all the way through the season with joy.

Still not sure what to get for your Secret Santa recipient this year? Check out Elfster’s Christmas Gift Guides for inspiration, and don’t forget to share your favorite ideas with us on Elfster’s Facebook page, on Instagram @Elfster, and on Twitter @Elfster.

Top image courtesy of Pixabay

About Amy G 9 Articles
Amy is a writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her passions away from work include hiking Bay Area trails, traveling the world with her husband and two sons, and advocating for the wonderful but woefully underfunded California public school system. She’s an avid reader and moviegoer who can’t get by without a healthy and regular dose of girlfriend time. When it comes to the world of gift giving, Amy proudly admits that she’s just as happy to receive as to give.