Looking to create some winter magic for your next party or event? These winter wonderland party ideas are sure to make it a success!
The Winter Wonderland Party theme is all about making your guests feel like they are outside in the winter (without the cold of course).
I did this for a New Year’s Eve party but it would work well for lots of other types of parties as well (birthdays, anniversaries, and holiday parties to name a few). You could even do this on a bigger scale for a winter wedding and it would look awesome!
If you want to go all out, ask your guests to wear clothing that matches the theme. Pretty much everyone owns something white or silver and your pictures will turn out great!
Keep reading to get some ideas for decor, food, and drinks to make your Winter Wonderland Party a success.
1 | Use Outdoor Structures
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Bringing garden features (such as gazebos and arbors) indoors makes it feel like you are outside.
Cover them in sheer white fabric* with white lights and it will look like there is snow everywhere.
The structures also provide great photo ops for your guests!
I used an arbor arch with net lights* (often used for weddings) over the entry way.
And a 3-sided gazebo* (from Amazon) for the arbor over the table in the middle of the room.
Note: Both of these feel a little flimsy when you are putting them together, but they are beautiful once you get them up. I did attach blocks of wood at the bottom to keep them a little more stable.
2 | Add White Trees
Adding trees to your decor creates even more of a feeling of being outside.
The easiest way to get trees indoors is to use Christmas trees.
A white Christmas tree* does double duty. It acts as an “outside” element and adds to the wintry white decor. You can find some tips on how to decorate a Winter Wonderland White Christmas tree HERE.
I had my party around Christmas so I already had the trees up, but I think they would make a great addition to the decorations even if it wasn’t the holiday season. You don’t even have to decorate them (especially if they are flocked like this one).
3 | And More Trees
These candle trees* look like bare tree branches in the winter…with the added benefit that they also hold candles.
Putting them in front of a light colored backdrop really makes the branches stand out.
4 | Add a Wintry White Backdrop
Speaking of backdrops…
I actually have ivory white velvet drapes in my living room, so I just pulled those closed to create the white backdrop for my winter wonderland party.
However, you can also buy party backdrops* that are meant for this purpose.
5 | Use Lots of White Lights
Using lots of white lights everywhere in your decor adds to the wintry look.
String lights are particularly useful because they are inexpensive, you can hang them pretty much anywhere, and they don’t get hot enough to cause fire concerns.I only hung some of these sphere lights* from the ceiling. They kind of look like big lighted snowballs.
6 | Cover Your Chairs In White
If you’ve seen some of my other party pictures, you know that I love to use chair covers as party decorations (yes, the kind that are normally associated with weddings).
They are really inexpensive, come in all kinds of colors and can totally transform the look of your room. And if you get the one-size chair covers, they will fit over most straight-backed chairs (like dining room chairs) with no problems.
For this winter wonderland party, I paired white chair covers* with silver and white tablecloths. They really make the room feel wintry.
7 | Reflect Candle Light With Mirrors
Mirrors reflect the light from the mercury glass candle holders* and white candles adding sparkle to the scene.
I used mirrored chargers* as the base here, but you can also used cut mirror glass or mirror tiles to accomplish the same thing. Rhinestone ribbon laid on the table outside the chargers expands the centerpiece.
8 | Create Snow
Okay, white feather boas* aren’t really snow…but they can sure look like it!
You can use them anywhere…wrap them around candle holders, arrange them on tables or drape them on the mantel. They make it look like you have light, feathery snow all of the place!
If you have any boas left over, you can also hand the out to your guests to wear.
Note that these feather boas are really inexpensive…so they are not really thick and they do tend to shed. For decorations and party favors, I think they’re fine…but you definitely get what you pay for when it come to boas…
9 | And More Snow
If you don’t mind having to do some clean-up after the party, you can use fake snow* to create realistic-looking mounds of snow.
It comes in crystals that expand to look like snow when you add water. After a day or two the crystals will revert back to their original form (which is where the clean up will be required…they will go everywhere).
You can also use sheer fabric scrunched around the bottom of Christmas trees and candles to look like piles of snow (much easier to clean up).
Just make sure that the fabric is out of the way of where people are walking…you don’t want a guest to get their feet caught and fall.
10 | And Still More Snow
If you are having a dance party, you can use a snow machine* to create occasional snow flurries over your dance floor.
Install it high enough that the snow will fall downwards and close enough to the dance floor that the snow will fall in the right place.
The “snow” is actually made of soap and usually disintegrates before it hits the ground…so no clean-up issues!
11 | Hang Stars From The Ceiling
Hang clear tea-light candle holders with flame-less candles from the ceiling at different heights to look like stars. Make sure to use flame-less candles instead of the real ones…the real flame can cause the thread to break (and you don’t want to have a burning candle fall on one of your guests).
Add some paper lanterns with flame-less tea lights inside, and some electric snow ball decorations* to add some larger decorations. This is especially effective if you have covered the ceiling with black fabric, plastic or paper to give the illusion of the night sky.
To make your life easier, use the flame-less tealights that come with timers*. That way they will automatically turn on, and you won’t have to be up on a ladder turning on all of the candles right before your party starts.
I also covered the ceiling in a black plastic star backdrop*. The dark ceiling makes it feel like you’re outside and all of your lighted “stars” seem to glow.
If you don’t want to go through the effort of hanging candles, you can also string white lights across your ceiling behind some silver or black sheer material to accomplish a similar “starry night” effect.
12 | Make Faux Ice Candle Holders
These DIY faux ice candle holders take a little while to create, but they look so much like ice that I think they’re worth the effort.
Definitely a cool addition to your winter wonderland party decor!
13 | Set a Silver and White Tablescape
Since my winter wonderland party wasn’t a dinner party, I didn’t have a formal table setting.
But if I did, this silver and white tablescape would go perfectly with the theme.
See all the details of my winter tablescape HERE.
14 | Create A White Candy Buffet
White food is a little hard to come by, but there are a few desserts that fit the bill.
A candy buffet featuring white and silver candies in glass jars (like the one above from newenglandfineliving.com) doesn’t require any cooking and can be set up in advance.
15 | Add White Desserts
Any dessert that has white icing will look white until you bite into it.
These Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese icing are always a big hit. See our recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Similarly, any type of cheesecake will also work. I like to serve cupcakes at parties (unless it is a sit down dinner) because they are easier for people to eat without making a mess.
These Oreo Cookie Cheesecake Cupcakes are really easy to make and everyone loves them! Add some whipped cream on top if you want them to look really white.
16 | Serve White Cocktails
To make a White Russian:
Mix 1½ oz vodka, ¾ oz coffee liqueur, and ¾ oz cream in an old fashioned glass over ice.
Or make a whole pitcher of it so that you don’t have to keep mixing them all night long.
White Chocolate Martini
To make a White Chocolate Martini:
Mix 1 oz white chocolate liqueur and 1 oz vanilla vodka in a shaker with ice and then strain into a martini glass.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shot
Although the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shot is supposed to be a shot, I actually like to serve it as a martini…similar to the white chocolate martini:
Mix 1 oz Rum Chata and 1 oz Fireball Whiskey in a shaker with ice. Then strain into a martini glass.
All of this adds up to one magical winter scene that your guests will be talking about for a long time to come!
Other winter wonderland party ideas you might like
Have comments or questions about the winter wonderland party? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on November 11, 2014 but was updated with new content on September 5, 2023.