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If you live in a warmer climate, you may feel like you need to work a little harder to channel the holiday season. Holiday cards, TV specials and seasonal songs all champion soft blankets of snow on the ground and snuggling up with hot chocolate. There aren’t many featuring palm trees and sunny days. Luckily, the spirit of the season isn’t confined to the tundra, and you can use your pool to throw an amazing holiday party.

Seasonal Decor

Hosting a seasonal party means you get the chance to dress up your pool and its surroundings. Strings of white or colorful lights always add to the holiday feel, as do strands of tinsel and sprigs of mistletoe. Wreaths and holly add nice touches over doors and entryways, and poinsettias make beautiful centerpieces.

If you’re going for a kitschy vibe for your party, it’s fun to play up the “holidays in the tropics” theme. Decorations could include sand dollar ornaments and Santa figurines in Bermuda shorts and sunglasses. You can even blow up a Santa or Rudolph on the beach background for guests to use as a photo op. Use an inflatable pool lounger as a decorative piece by wrapping it in lights and setting gifts for your guests on it. Take things to the next level by placing it under a palm tree.

No party is complete without the perfect soundtrack, so put together a playlist of seasonal tunes before your guests arrive. You can even ask them to send you tracks ahead of time to ensure there’s something everyone will enjoy.

Wintertime Refreshments

Warmer weather doesn’t exactly beg for hot chocolate and cider, but why not turn things around and serve your favorite holiday beverages on ice? Frozen hot chocolate makes an incredibly decadent poolside drink, and chilled apple cider is a refreshing alternative. If you’re looking for more spirited libations, check out the recent post, “Host a Holiday Cocktail Party,” [link to post] for some tempting ideas.

As for snacks, it’s hard to beat traditional holiday cookies. Ask each guest to bring samples of a favorite type and then swap in a cookie exchange. Another idea is to have everyone contribute a favorite holiday appetizer.

Holiday Games

Gift exchanges, including white elephant presents, are very popular and a lot fun during the holidays. So, why not have one at your pool party? As long as you give your guests plenty of notice and set clear guidelines, everyone who attends can enjoy opening presents poolside.

If your invitees include children, you may want to have some activities for guests of all ages. Have an adult dress up as Santa and pass out presents around the pool. You can also set up a “pin the nose on Rudolph” game. Another fun idea is to feature a marshmallow snowman assembly station. You can also set out board and card games at different tables for your guests to play whenever the mood strikes.

The pool is an amazing setting for any holiday party. So, rather than wishing for snow, embrace your own version of the season and invite all of your guests to share in it!