The holiday season is officially upon us, and while it’s wonderful to visit with old friends and to see family members, it’s also really stressful because you inevitably end up hosting a party for said friends and family members. The fix? An easy holiday party idea that will take most of the work load off your shoulders. So string up some festive decorations, and whip up one of these parties because goodness knows I (unfortunately) don’t have enough money to do all of these myself.

Hot Chocolate Bar

What could be better than a customized hot chocolate bar? The answer to that question would be nothing. Absolutely nothing is better than homemade, velvety hot chocolate. You can make a few different hot chocolate variations, such as a basic dark and milk chocolate base, and leave the mixture in crockpots to stay warm.

Put out your favorite toppings and mix-ins (nutella, crushed cookies and whipped cream, anyone?) and you’ll have successfully created your own gourmet hot chocolate get together. If you need ideas for toppings, check out this recipe for an easy tutorial on how to make the best hot chocolate bar ever.

holiday food

Photo by Charles Wetherbee

White Elephant Cookie Exchange

You can forget the huge holiday meal and skip straight to dessert with this party trick. Just put out a few appetizers for people to snack on and start the white elephant exchange. Encourage party-goers to get creative with the cookies they bring and wrap accordingly. With this game, everybody goes home with cookies, which means everybody goes home happy.

holiday food

Photo by Krysten Dorfman

Cupcake Decorating Party

Whip up a batch of your favorite cupcakes and lay them out for people to decorate. This is a great idea for college students and family gatherings alike because, after all, who doesn’t love decorating cupcakes? The best part of this plan is that you can freeze the undecorated cupcakes after the party’s over and thaw them out when you need to bring dessert to the next holiday event you’re invited to.

holiday food

Photo by Dar Ades

BYOP—Build Your Own Pizza Party 

This is every college student’s dream. Get a group of friends together for an epic homemade pizza party (bonus points for whoever makes their personal pizza look like a snowman). You can either make your crust from scratch or use a box mix to speed up the process. Have your friends bring their favorite pizza toppings and try to make your pies look as festive as possible. This is a great way to cater to all your friends’ diets because you can easily make gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan pizzas.

holiday food

Photo by Marci Green

Create Your Own Cocktail Night

If the hot chocolate bar is too tame for you, try hosting a cocktail creation night instead. Have people bring their favorite liquor and put out a variety of fruits and juices for them to find the perfect combination. Make sure you don’t party too hard though, because no one likes getting sick during the holidays.

holiday food

Photo by Natalia Frankie

More Holiday Inspiration: