christmas partyThinking about hosting a holiday party with a six-course sit-down gourmet dinner, expensive over-the-top decorations including ice sculpture centerpieces, and real live Christmas carolers as entertainment?

Then you must be completely crazy -- that's the only way to explain adding this amount of stress and anxiety to an already stressful time of year.

There are plenty of ways to put together a low-key yet still memorable holiday party. Here are 10 easy but fun ways to celebrate the holiday season:

Fun Finger Foods

Skip a formal dinner altogether and serve a simple selection of fun bite-sized finger foods -- fondue, mini meatballs, kabobs, cupcakes, etc. -- and cocktails.

 

Tree Trimming Party

This type of get-together cuts stress by eliminating the need to decorate beforehand. Ask each guest to bring a small ornament; then put them to work on the tree while you serve them festive food and drink.

 

Brunch

Daytime events tend to be more casual than evening ones. Pair a few delicious breakfast dishes with some fun holiday brunch cocktails and you've got yourself a laid-back celebration.

 

Cookie Decorating

Bake -- or better yet buy! -- a bunch of plain holiday cut-out sugar cookies. Your guests will love decorating them with frosting, sprinkles, candies, etc. The best part: They get to take home their creations.

 

Cookie Exchange

Ask guests to bring batches of their favorite holiday cookies -- then swap!

 

Wine and Cheese

You provide the best cheese you can find -- the stinkier, the better. The guests bring wine. This sounds like the best holiday ever.

 

Potluck

The classic, easy way to celebrate together: You provide drinks and a festive setting; your guests each bring a favorite dish to share.

 

Tacky Christmas Sweater Party

It's the perfect conversation starter: Have each guest don the ugliest Christmas sweater they can find. Socks and earrings are totally appropriate here, too.

 

Charitable Giving

Here's a unique twist on a classic celebration: Instead of having guests bring food or drink, ask them to make a small donation when they arrive (a couple dollars are fine) to a charity you think needs help this time of year.

 

Open House

If the thought of hosting guests for hours and hours on end is stressing you out, throw an event where people stop by for an hour or two before moving along to the next holiday event.

What kind of holiday celebration are you hosting this year?

 

Image via Fimb/Flickr