Something Different: 8 Fresh New Party Ideas

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The holiday season is here again, which means gatherings with friends and family for the rest of the year. Are you tired of the same old parties? If you're looking for some fun and fresh ideas to kick the party season off right, then follow me...

Crafts & Cocktails: Gather your DIY friends for an evening of shared creativity. You can either all bring your own individual projects to work on together, or have one shared idea that you all participate in. Top it off with some classic cocktails, lots of laughter, and call it a night well spent.

Slideshow Party: Start with a theme, like worst hair styles, or your best fashion fails. Then have people shuffle through their old slides and bring them to the party to share with the group. You can put a max limit on the number of slides and time to show them so it all remains equal. You can even have a sign up sheet for the number of people that can participate so it doesn't go on forever, and guests know what to expect. Then just light some candles, throw some pillows on the floor, pop some corn, have everyone bring their favorite six pack of microbrew, and let the good times and memories begin.

Story Party: Similar to the slideshow above, but just swap slides out for stories instead. It could be your story, a story you've heard, or one that you make up. You could even make it into a game and try to guess what kind of story is being told.

Donation Party: Have everyone bring a used or new toy that will be gathered up and brought to the local shelter for the holidays.

Gift-Making Party: Make a mass homemade gift that everyone makes together and gives away for the holidays, like herbaceous soap, hot buttered rum, or coconut ganache bourbon balls. The host can either buy the supplies and get paid back or divvy up the responsibility amongst the guests. Another twist could be that each guest demonstrates how to make a simple gift that can easily be replicated by others on their own time. Make sure to hand out directions for your DIY.

Music Sharing Party: This is a fun way to hear new music and get to know other peoples' tastes at the same time. Everyone brings three songs, maybe based on a theme, that they would like to share at the party. Try to bring songs and musicians that others don't know so everyone can experience something new. Have the participating guests send you the song details beforehand and then write up a playlist so others can buy the songs if they want to.

Tasting Party: You can do this with just about anything, like cheese or beer. You can even take it a step further and make it a pairing party.

Book Party: (Invite your bibliophile friends) Have everyone bring one of their favorite books that they are willing to loan out, and give a brief synopsis of the plot to the group. Then it can turn into a kind of white elephant book game, where books get chosen and stolen from each other.

(Image credits: Gabriela Herman / 5 Tips for Throwing a Dinner Party in a Small Apartment)

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Alysha is a photographer and designer living in Seattle who loves dark chocolate, tea, and all things furry. In her spare time you'll find her with paint in her hair renovating her 1919 Craftsman and sharing the process on her blog Old House New Tricks.