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  • Writer's pictureJeanette Schenk

LEVEL UP THIS YEAR'S HOLIDAY PARTY

Updated: Jan 11

Elevate your holiday festivities and make this year's celebration unforgettable. Get those jingle bell's rockin' by diving into one of these creative themes for your next holiday party.

Holiday party
From the desk of Jeanette Schenk, owner of Shortcake Photo LLC and Hammie The Photo Booth

HOME ALONE HOLIDAY HIJINKS:

  • DECOR: Embrace the chaos with booby trap-inspired decorations like toy cars, trains, paint cans, and hanging pans. Decorate with glitter, feathers and maybe even a few fake tarantulas and an iron (not hot!) for display. Make a sign that says "Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!"

  • ATTIRE: Pajamas (bonus for wearing a robe over your PJ's, like Kevin's).

  • FOOD: Popcorn, pizza, ice cream sundaes (with a cherry on top), and cookies.

  • BEVERAGES: "spiked" hot chocolate, cranberry sparkler, sparkling cider, festive eggnog, and iconic soda pops with a DIY vanilla ice cream float station.

  • MUSIC: Dust off that old record player and play some of your favorite holiday tunes!

"Kevin McCallister," Home Alone
  • MOVIE SCREENING: Put the TV on mute, and play the "Home Alone" movies series in the background.

  • THEMED PHOTO BOOTH: Set up a photo booth with props and backdrops inspired by iconic scenes from "Home Alone." Include cardboard cutouts of the "Wet Bandits" for hilarious photo opportunities.


MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL'S MISTLETOE MINGLE:

  • DECOR: Transport your guests to the glamorous '50s and '60s. Set the scene with mid-century modern furniture, rich colors, tinsel, vintage ornaments and MCM accents. Hang mistletoe strategically throughout the space.

  • CLASSIC COCKTAIL BAR: Hire a mixologist or set up a DIY cocktail bar featuring classic drinks like Old Fashioneds, Martinis, and Manhattans. Use vintage glassware and garnishes for an authentic touch.

  • VINTAGE HOLIDAY PLAYLIST: Play classic holiday songs and jazz standards. Even better, consider hiring local jazz students from Beaverton's Arts & Communication Magnet Academy or Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra .

  • PROVISIONS: Serve era appropriate bites like carved meats, deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail and cheeseballs with crackers.

  • RETRO PHOTO BOOTH: Install a retro photo booth with props and backdrops reminiscent of the mid-century. Be sure to include accessories like fedoras, pearls, and faux fur stoles for added flair. And don't forget the mistletoe, martini glasses, and candy cigarettes!

  • VINTAGE DESSERT BAR: Offer a dessert bar featuring classic '50s and 60's sweets like baked Alaska, fruitcake and retro Christmas and Hanukkah cookies.


YELLOWSTONE YULETIDE GATHERING:

  • DECOR: Embrace the rugged elegance of "Yellowstone" with a Western-themed winter party. Cozy log cabin decor, a whiskey tasting bar, and hearty cowboy cuisine set the stage for a Yellowstone-inspired winter retreat. Incorporate wooden accents, antler decorations, and flickering lanterns for an authentic feel. If you can, be sure to include wagon wheels, vintage string lights, bales of hay, and saddles.

  • DRESS CODE: Encourage guests to embrace Western chic attire with cowboy boots, denim, and cozy flannels.

  • DRINKS: Serve trailblazing cocktails with a Western twist, like "Rancher's Rye Punch" or "Yellowstone Winter Mule." Set up a whiskey bar featuring a selection of top-shelf choices reminiscent of the Dutton family's preferences. PNW's very own Hot To Trot Beverage Buggy traveling bar service would be perfect for a party like this!

  • CAMPFIRE DINING EXPERIENCE: Create a cozy dining experience with communal tables and serve sliders, chili, wild game sausages and cornbread muffins. How about "cowboy caviar," meat skewers, campfire grilled veggies, and baked beans too?

photo by Ginny Haupert
  • PHOTO BOOTH IDEA: Place a dark colored loveseat in front of a tall backdrop made of wood. String warm Edison lights, rustic stars, and fresh garland across the backdrop and set up a couple of faux frosty evergreens, cozy pillows and a warm blanket.

  • CLASSIC WESTERN DESSERT: Huckleberry pie toped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


SUCCESSION SOIREE: WINTER ROYALTY REVELRY:

  • DECOR: Enhance the atmosphere with winter-themed tablescapes featuring crystal glassware, silver accents, and ice sculptures.

  • UPSCALE WINTER ATTIRE: Black-ties and glamorous gowns.

  • CHAMPAGNE GREETING: Welcome guests with a white-gloved greeting, champagne towers, and sparkling mocktails and cocktails inspired by the characters, such as "Shiv's Sapphire Spritz" or "Logan's Legacy Martini."

  • ICE SCULPTURE MARTINI BAR: Feature an ice sculpture (or ice-like sculpture) backlit with twinkle lights. Have a professional mixologist craft exquisite winter-themed cocktails. Include a selection of premium spirits and unique, handcrafted garnishes.

  • LIVE MUSIC: Elevate the ambiance with a string quartet performing classic winter tunes and contemporary hits. If you are in the Portland/Metro area, look up Stumptown String Quartet.

  • WINTER WONDERLAND DINING EXPERIENCE: Opt for an elegant sit-down dinner with white-gloved service, and dine under crystal chandeliers. Offer gourmet options like roasted chestnut soup, winter greens salad, truffle-infused entrees, and pear and gorgonzola stuffed chicken. Include wine pairings to elevate the culinary experience.

  • DECADENT DESSERTS: Provide whimsical edible snowflakes made from dark and white chocolate. Serve an array of petit fours, including seasonal macarons, mini fruit tarts and snowflake-shaped cookies.

  • ART GALLERY: Incorporate local artists by displaying and showcasing their work.

  • CIGAR & WHISKEY TASTING STATION: Reminiscent of the show's sophisticated characters, be sure to include premium cigars & top-shelf whiskies for a refined touch.

  • COFFEE & DIGESTIFS: Offer a selection of premium coffees and digiestifs. Options like a rich espresso or a spiced winter cocktail are sure to warm and delight your guests.

  • RED CARPET PHOTOGRAPHER: An upscale event like this needs to have a red carpet and a professional event photographer. Hire someone like Shortcake Photo to capture your glamourous guests as they arrive to the extravaganza.

  • CORPORATE-THEMED PARTY FAVORS: Engraved pens, monogrammed business card holders and/or money clips are perfect parting gifts, and Portland based company, "Performance Promotions" has some wonderful options to choose from!

  • SNOWFALL FINALE: Conclude the evening with a simulated snowfall, using snow machines as your guests exit the party. Or, if that's not feasable (could be difficult to obtain these, I image, haha), how about a bubble machine?


COZY CABIN RETREAT:

  • DECOR: Embrace the warmth of the season with a cozy cabin-themed party. Adorn your space with natural elements like pinecones, twigs, and evergreen branches. Use warm earthy colors such as deep greens, browns, and rich reds for a cozy ambiance.

  • FAUX FUR & PLAID BLANKETS: Provide faux fur and plaid blankets to create a snug and inviting atmosphere. Arrange comfortable seating areas around the fireplace and/or outdoor fire pit.

  • HOT COCOA BAR: Set out different types of hot chocolate with various toppings (whipped cream, marshmallows, crushed peppermint, and cinnamon sticks). For the adults, be sure to include a variety of festive liquers (Baileys, Amaretto, Kahlua, Peppermint Schnapps, Bourbon...)

  • NIBBLES: Chocolate dipped strawberry "pinecones," roasted mixed nuts, mushroom and gouda fondue served with crostini & green apple slices, and bacon wrapped dates.

  • COMFORT FOOD BUFFET: Serve hearty and comforting dishes like chili, mac & cheese, and slow-cooked stews. Incorporate a DIY baked potato station smorgasbord

  • DESSERT: S'mores, of course! 1927 S'mores Company offers delishous kits that your guests will love.

  • WINTER WONDERLAND PHOTO BOOTH SET UP: Create a winter wonderland backdrop using a fuzzy white blanket, twinkle lights, and faux snow. Offer cozy mittens, hats and scarves as props for festive photos. For a more up-scale party, consider going with Portland's newest and most luxurious photo booth, "Hamlet."

  • BLANKET FORTS: For the kids (or the kids at heart), blanket forts with fairy lights is a must.








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