Planning your holiday festivities can be both exciting and stressful. Are you going on a celebratory out-of-town trip with your friends this year? Should you book reservations at your family’s favorite restaurant? It’s a lot to consider, not to mention you need to think about Christmas party themes.
Do you really need a theme to make the party memorable? Of course! Plus, it gives you and your loved ones something unique to look forward to this season. On top of that, setting a theme can help you decide on décor, dress codes, and your menu. Are you working with a budget? Don’t stress – you still have plenty of options.
5 Budget-Friendly Christmas Party Themes
1. Trendy Asian
Modern takes on Asian cuisine have been all over social media lately. If you feel inspired by the culinary barrage, throw a party highlighting the trendiest fare. Think of it as journeying across Asian food hot spots with your loved ones in tow. You can even suggest a Christmas party outfit theme based on Asian pop culture!
On to your menu: start with a sushi bake and ultra-crispy Korean fried chicken. Offer egg drop sandwiches for entrées. Throw in some K-Drama-inspired kimbap and Tropical Hut-style burgers. For dessert, go for anything ube– ice cream, cake rolls, or turon. Alternatively, make dessert time a crafty, interactive experience by setting up a dalgona candy-making station à la the Netflix hit Squid Game.
2. Garden picnic
If you can find a wide-open garden or live near a grassy public park, consider taking the family out for a picnic. Lay your blankets and savor the fresh air! The best thing about living in the tropics is you can count on bright, sunny days even in mid-December. Just check the weather forecast to make sure no rainstorms come your way.
For your meal, it’s best to keep it simple with finger food and sharing platters. The fewer plates and utensils you need, the better! Sandwiches are classic picnic fare. Try sweet Christmas ham with queso de bola in warm pandesal. You can also prepare a cheese board with local products to cut costs while supporting Filipino businesses. Have a simple garden salad and fresh, in-season fruits ready. And don’t forget to stop by your neighborhood panaderya for bread and pastries.
3. Harvest festival
Different cultures have harvest festival traditions. In Korea, they celebrate Chuseok with special rice cakes, fruits, and rice wines. In China, it's known as the Mid-Autumn Festival and mooncakes are always on the menu. In the U.S., they have Thanksgiving, where families gather around roast turkey and pumpkin pie. Notice a trend? Big feasts are an integral part of these celebrations to show gratitude for the year’s good harvest.
Pull inspiration from these traditions by planning a menu around hearty veggies, grains, and perfectly cooked proteins. Choose the season's produce. Prepare buttered corn, kalabasa soup, and a medley of roasted veggies for your sides. Go for lechon manok since it’s much more accessible. And complete the feast with adlai or baked kamote.
4. Winter wonderland
This Christmas party theme idea leans into the chill of winter with snow-white décor and bright, sparkling lights. You can DIY your winter wonderland at home with all-white pieces, like tablecloths, throw pillows, and dishware. Make little snowmen with foam balls and spray-paint old Christmas ornaments to fit the theme. Get creative!
Ask guests to come dressed appropriately –think shining, shimmering ice princes and princesses. For your white menu, start with creamy mushroom soup and a kesong puti dip. For your main, prepare a creamy baked fish made with Knorr Cream of Corn Soup. Dessert can be a white chocolate bread pudding (yay for reusing stale bread!) fresh out of the oven.
5. Summer in December
On the opposite end of the seasonal spectrum is summer. The country boasts beautiful beaches, pristine islands, and outdoor activities for adventurous explorers. Just take your pick! Throw a coastal-themed party if your family loves their time under the sun. You can also hold a classic backyard barbecue for intimate get-togethers. Are you expecting kids who love sea creatures and swimming? Go for under the sea!
When planning your menu, think about what you enjoy eating on sweltering summer days. Mini hotdog sandwiches make great appetizers: kids will gobble them up, while adults will always be nostalgic for them. For mains, stuffed pusit and chicken inasal are always crowd faves. Pair them with macaroni salad, corn on the cob, and a simple ensalada. Go all out for dessert and serve mango floats and ice cream sandwiches.
What’s your Christmas party theme going to be this year? Go the extra mile with DIY décor and a festive dress code to match your one-of-a-kind menu. You can also do without the extra fuss and focus your energy on making delicious food for everyone to share. Isn’t that what matters most during the holiday season?