Everyone loves a party. And the holiday season is chock full of them: Tacky sweater soirées, Secret Santa exchanges, year-end office galas. But here’s one idea you may not have considered: a “giving back” bash. A party for the purpose of charity can be just as fun, festive, and eggnog-filled as the rest.
If you already host family or friends during the season, why not add in a “giving back” component? And if you weren’t planning a get-together, this holiday could be your time to shine. A giving back theme livens up any party! And who knows? Your party could become a holiday tradition in your neighborhood for years to come.
Don’t have time to plan a huge fundraising gala? Don’t worry, not many people do these days. As you begin to brainstorm, start by gauging your energy level, resources, and availability (and factor in some extra for that inevitable holiday-time stress). Giving-inspired gatherings don’t need to overwhelm you—or cost a lot. You can scale your party however you want. There are plenty of easy, affordable ways for your group of guests to do good. And you’ll likely discover that guests will be more than willing to chip in and do whatever it takes to make your celebration a success.
Create the Good invites you to try one of these theme ideas this season. (For many, your guest can provide some of what's needed.)
Elf Yourselves: Call up a local family-oriented charity and offer to wrap gifts that people have donated for children. Then, gather a group together for some gift-wrapping fun! Tell them you’ll provide the supplies and holiday tunes if they bring their favorite treats. For an extra holiday bonus, ask guests to wear their tackiest holiday sweater.
Second-Hand Santas: On your party invitation, ask friends to bring gently used items or clothing that can be donated to others. Place a few big boxes at your door for guests to drop items in as they arrive. After the event, compile the donations and deliver them to a local charity.
“Cause” it’s the Holidays: This one’s easy. Pick your favorite or local cause first, then ask guests to donate money. One way is to charge “admission” to your gathering. If you don’t feel comfortable specifying an amount, simply request they give whatever they feel is appropriate. You might also try posting QR codes around (on the invitation, on the wall, printed on napkins) to make it easy for guests to link up to the organization’s website.
Bake Sale & Share: This idea involves both eating and giving! Ask guests to bake and bring their favorite holiday cookie or dessert—but to make two of everything. One will be for guests to enjoy; the other will go to a local nursing home or homeless shelter. (Check first to be sure they accept home-baked items.) After the party, grab a friend to help you deliver the goodies.
Homemade for the Holidays: Write holiday cards to military troops overseas, make centerpieces for nursing home dining rooms: the items you can create for others this time of year are countless. Find a craft idea on our Crafts for Good page. Then gather friends around your dining room table to get creative. Provide them with snacks or a meal as an added incentive.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. There are countless ways to get creative and have fun with charitable themed holiday parties. If you have a favorite local non-profit, consider contacting them first. They might have specific needs or ideas you may not have considered. Now make your guest list and check it twice—we’re certain your bash will be quite nice!
Don’t get lost in the details or stress over perfection. You and your guests will have a better time if the focus remains on the greater goal of giving back and helping others.
Create the Good continually posts inspiring ideas on ways to give back, including volunteer events and gatherings. You can also find event planning resources on Create the Good.org in the project organizer guide. Or search by topic or zip code for events already happening near you.
If you’re already planning on attending a holiday-themed celebration, it’s easy to add a charity component. Office holiday party? Ask your boss if you can put up a big box in the corner for a canned food drive. Going caroling? Add a “donations bucket” to your rounds in support of your favorite charity.