The holidays are here, the Old World Christmas elves are bouncing with glee, and ready to party. It is truly the best time of the year, and what makes it so great is time together with those you love. And there are many ways to celebrate! With a little creativity and planning any Christmas party can be special, memorable, and become a new tradition. Here are a few of our favorite Christmas party ideas to plan for some of your favorite people.\nNeighborhood Hot Chocolate Bar\nInstead of dropping off a plate of cookies this year, why not up the game and host a hot chocolate bar for your neighbors? With a 10 foot tent, a table, and a few supplies, gathering neighbors together creates warm hands and hearts for the year to come. Pick an evening before Christmas, drop off quick and easy paper invites to the neighbors, and keep it short and sweet! People might feel more comfortable doing it outside instead of inside someone’s home, but generally neighbors appreciate kind gestures and connection, and will be thankful you went to the effort to host the event. Of course a few cookies complement a nice steaming cup of hot chocolate. \n\nSibling \u0026amp; Spouse Soiree\nIt might be time to change up the Christmas routine with your siblings and their spouses. Instead of exchanging gifts this year, why not opt for a dinner out? A shared experience with conversation over dinner and laughing about childhood memories might be a lot more fun than the stress of more shopping. We can all use a lot less stuff, and a lot more connection. If you love to play chef, then treat your siblings, and their spouses, to a wonderful gourmet dinner at home. That china collecting dust in the cabinet above the fridge can finally see the light of day. And of course, each sibling and spouse should get a Christmas ornament to hold their place card. A sister-in-law who hikes? A brother who loves ranch dressing? A sister who’s obsessed with her mini van? No problem, you know we have those covered. \n\nCookie Open House\nAnother festive party for all ages should involve cookies. Hosting a Christmas open house gives flexibility to the guests, and having plain Christmas-shaped sugar cookies not only gives those in attendance an activity, but something sweet to eat. There is no limit to the creativity with colorful frostings and loads of sprinkles. Serve a simple spiced cider or hot chocolate, a few small munchies that are easy to replenish, queue up some swinging Christmas tunes, and welcome in all your friends. \n\nServe Somebody\nIt’s great to connect with the ones we love, but harnessing the power of that connection and spreading it to others multiplies it beyond what we expected. Instead of hosting a cookie open house, host a “kit-making party.” Ask each family to bring a specific item—socks, snacks, hand warmers—and make kits to keep in the car to pass out to people who might need them. As a group, write an encouraging note to slip in each bag and divvy up the bags between everyone in attendance. Giving out the bags in the months to come will pay it forward, and warm your heart. \n\nThere’s no limit to the amount of parties you should host and attend in the month of December. Connecting with the ones we love, and expanding our circles to the ones we don’t yet know, is what makes Christmas special. Set the tone this holiday season to plan parties with purpose. The effort is worth it for years to come.