From tinsel to tweed, let’s find your holiday party hosting style

You might think that a holiday party is already enough of a theme unto itself. But [Gretchen Weiners voice] …you could be wrong. No matter what kind of shindig you’re prepping for—your 18th annual holiday party or your first one ever—it helps to factor in an overarching vibe that complements your own personal style. 

The fact is, narrowing things down to a certain look or feel makes planning a whole lot easier. Because once you’ve got some self-imposed guidelines to work within, things just tend to fall right into place. Want to sweeten the pot? Why not give guests a hint at the holiday fun you’re planning with invitations that reflect your wintertime vibe. Paperless Post has hundreds of holiday party invitations to choose from, so you’re guaranteed to find the perfect one for your personalized party theme. But more on that later. 

We’ve narrowed down our favorite holiday party styles to three ideas you and your guests are guaranteed to love—plus the holiday party invitations we’d send if we were the ones hosting. 

Read on, and know me better man.

 

A cream Holiday invitation featuring a border of holly leaves and berries with a red bow. The background features a rich, brown wooden table and various holiday decor items like plates, ornaments, twinkle lights, and cookies.Houx” by Nathalie Lété for Paperless Post.

 

Home for the holidays

If you’re fond of family-style feasts and windows filled with welcoming light; tons of tartan and mugs of hot chocolate by the fireplace… this traditional (and tasty) holiday party style is the one for you. 

– Dress code: No offense to ugly sweaters, but let your guests know they really just aren’t welcome at this party—in as gentle a way possible. Instead, encourage everyone to go full-on classic holiday with plenty of tartans and plaids in their outfits. Tweeds, velvet, and satin are also encouraged, along with almost anything in rich jewel tones. Provide plush red Santa hats for guests to pal around in during the festivities. 

 

Left: a close up photo of a red record on a player with a soft-focus background; right: a variety of candles and holders surrounded by seasonal greenery.Images via Adobe Stock and The Floral Society.

 

– Decor: Bring your traditional-style holiday party to life with lush decorations that will fill both your home—and your guests’ heart—with warmth and light. 

— Pick placemats and napkins in a handsome plaid. 

— Fill the room and window sills with glowing taper candles.

— Hang a sweet felted mistletoe you can kiss under year after year. 

— Serve pumpkin pie on nostalgic Santa Claus plates.

— “Grow” a small forest of evergreen trees amongst your food displays.  

 

– Details:
Soundtrack: Sinatra, Der Bingle, Nat King Cole.
Lighting: Candles, white fairy lights, and a fireplace, if you have one.
Serve: Spiked eggnog, mulled wine, maple-glazed ham.
Play: An ornament scavenger hunt in your tree.

 

 

– Invitations:

Folks from one to 92 (and beyond) will love these traditional holiday party invitations. 

Farmhouse Garland”: As welcoming as the wreath on your front door. 

Gold Pine”: Go a little glitzy for a slightly glam evening affair. 

Norway Spruce” by John Derian: Nearly as beautiful as the tree in your living room.

 

A white holiday party invitation featuring gold pine details on each side. The background includes several decor items in metallics including a gold fringe garland, glitter stars, and wrapped gifts.Fine Pine” by Paperless Post.

 

A touch of tinsel

What says “merry” more than mucho metallics? If you dream—not in color—but silver and gold, get out your aluminum Christmas tree and throw a holiday party that really sparkles. 

 

– The dress code: 

This is your time to shine, literally. Request that guests show up in their most shimmering, splendid outfits with sequins, glitter, rhinestones, metallics, mirrors… the more reflective, the better. The disco ball should feel some competition.

 

Left: Four disco balls against a dark background; right: A woman pours Champagne into a glass for an off-screen friend.Images via Adobe Stock.

 

– The decor: 

Speaking of disco balls, if you don’t already have one, you need one. Or three. Here’s what else: 

– Small, shiny plates that look like stars. 

Bigger shiny plates that look like a giant sequin. 

Tinsel fringe garlands draped from as many walls as possible. 

Balloon letters to spell out your holiday party mission statement.

Glitter crowns because you and your friends deserve it. 

 

– The details:
Soundtrack: Destiny’s Child, NSYNC, Lady Gaga
Lighting: A spotlight on the disco ball and blinking string lights.
Serve: Champagne, desserts doused in edible glitter and gold flakes.
Play: …that funky music and watch all your friends get doooown.

 

 

– Invitations: Send your guests holiday party invitations that reflect the energy of your heavy metal bash. 

Flash” by CONFETTISYSTEM: Why should the tree get all the tinsel action? 

Tinseltown”: Let your guests know they’re about to enter a shiny new zip code. 

Covet” by Kelly Wearstler: When five gold rings simply aren’t enough. 

 

A white holiday invitation featuring a whimsical illustration of hands holding gifts, drinks, and desserts. The background includes several decor items in bright colors including ornaments, cupcakes with crushed candy canes, presents, and two glasses of Champagne.Gifts and Glasses” by Mr. Boddington’s Studio for Paperless Post. Holly ornament by Craftspring.

 

Christmas with character

What’s Christmas without kitsch? We don’t even want to know. Think beyond red and green with a colorful, retro holiday party featuring character-driven decorations to complement your guests’ big personalities. 

– The dress code: 

There are a few ways you can spin this party theme in terms of dress code. First, you can go the easy, well-trodden route (no shame), which is ugly sweaters. Everyone has one, and if for some reason they don’t, everyone can get one in about five minutes. A favorite twist of ours gives the party a retro vibe, where guests are asked to come in their mid-century holiday party finest. Think “Mad Men” Christmas party, minus the misogyny. If your friend group is really creative and into costumes, have guests show up as characters from Christmas or holiday pop culture, like movies, TV, or music videos. From Rudolph to “Elf” to Mariah Carey, things are bound to be entertaining. 

 

Left: An overhead photograph of holiday table items like a Santa-shaped plate and a reindeer-shaped napkin; right: An overhead shot of bright pink, green, and yellow ornaments.Images courtesy Meri Meri and Anthropologie. The following Meri Meri items are available in the Party Shop: Jolly Santa plates, reindeer with bow plates, festive motif plates, peppermint candy surprise balls, and house napkins

 

– The decor: 

This holiday party is all about throwbacks and kitsch, so don’t be too concerned with being matchy matchy—it’s all about the character. Here’s what you’ll want to have on-hand: 

Cute holiday party hats for all those photo ops. 

Festive flamingo napkins, because pink birds love the holidays too. 

– A kitschy and colorful banner that says it all. 

– A bunch of tiny woodland friends to share in the fun. 

– Serve drinks straight up in a Santa cup

 

– The details:
Soundtrack: Mariah, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” Christmas movie soundtracks on shuffle.
Lighting: Big rainbow string lights and fake candles in the windows.
Serve: Punch in a bowl and gingerbread cookies decorated to look like your guests. 
Play: Holiday pop culture charades, Christmas song karaoke.

 

 

– Invitations: Let your friends know they’re in for some good old fashioned holiday fun with whimsical, retro invitations that have personality to spare. 

Merry Penguin”: Flightless birds in bowties enjoy the holidays (and a tipple), too. 

Festive Fun”: An invitation your guests can sing along to. 

S Is for Santa” by Mr. Boddington’s Studio: Effortlessly sleigh-ing the invitation game.

 

Invitations and decorations for every style of holiday party 

Why choose Paperless Post for your holiday party invitations? Hint: Not only are our online invitations beautifully designed and completely customizable, but our host-friendly tools—like instant RSVP tracking, seamless guest messaging, .csv guest list uploads, and scheduling—makes throwing a holiday party a breeze. Choose between our more traditional stationery-inspired Card invitations, or send out fun, animated Flyer invites. Whichever you choose, you can send them via email, text message, or shareable link. 

 

Overhead shot of Christmast party decor including reindeer crackers, sugar cookies, a Santa plate, a reindeer antlers headband, and white candles.Christmas character crackers by Meri Meri, Santa plate by Meri Meri, woodland antler headband by Meri Meri, and taper candles by The Floral Society.

 

Looking for holiday party supplies, decorations, and small gifts that coordinate with your invitations? Visit Paperless Post Party Shop, where you’ll find a curated collection of unique goods to elevate any kind of party, no matter the theme or style. With Paperless Post, you can spend less time shopping for your holiday party, and more soaking up the season.

 

Browse Holiday Party Invitations

Editor’s note: Party Shop shipping is only available in the continental US.
Hero image by Paperless Post.