A Christmas Party, Re-Imagined

TOAST's pick of the best alternative Christmas party ideas

Christmas is undoubtedly one of the jolliest times of year to throw a party, but if the mere thought of mulled wine makes you queasy, and Wizzard screaming ‘it’s Chirstmassssss’ makes you want to scream, then why not add a splash of the alternative to your Christmas bash this year?

Here are TOAST’s top picks of some of the best non-festive food and fun that will thrill your guests more than Father Christmas flying down the chimney.

Christmas music and mince pies are like Marmite to most, but even as a lover of both I can often reach saturation point long before Christmas day. At the start of the party season I could easily devour a whole plate of pigs in blankets, but by the second week of December I am usually quite seriously considering veganism. And don’t even get me started on turkey.

Don’t get me wrong, the classic combination of fizz, smoked salmon canapés and a Christmas hits playlist is always a winner, but why not mix things up a bit this year and give your guests a bigger (and almost certainly better) surprise than whatever Auntie Carol has wrapped up and left waiting under the tree.

There is a plethora of really inventive and genuinely exciting catering and entertainment options out there just waiting to help you throw a truly memorable alternative Christmas party. Here are TOAST’s top picks of some of the best non-festive food and fun guaranteed to create the coolest Christmas bash in town, without a mince pie or plastic reindeer in sight.

The Best Alternative Christmas Party Ideas

Spice things up 

For something truly alternative then why not say bye bye to the British winter and throw a Caribbean Christmas bash instead – and who better to cater than Dave, Steve and Big H, also known as White Men Can’t Jerk. Celebrated for their bold flavour combinations and feel-good vibes, their menu is an ode to all things Caribbean, but with a twist. Think Curried Mutton Shepherd’s Pie with a sweet potato mash topping, Red Stripe poached Fried Chicken Wings, and signature Jerk Chicken cooked on their custom made smoking grill, Tallulah. And for veggies there’s Jerk Bean Burgers, Jerk Halloumi and Tobago Casserole.  Perfect for spicing things up this Christmas.

White Men Cant Jerk 

White Men Cant Jerk


Cheesy Christmas

Sausage rolls are OUT, but you still want something substantial and hearty for your guests to nibble on this winter and what, I ask you, is more comforting than mac and cheese? And not just any old mac n cheese, I am talking about the pimped variety – courtesy of London-based Anna Mae’s. Served up fresh from a giant cast iron skillet, they make their mac from scratch and serve it with toppings such as crispy bacon, basil oil and fresh chipotle (‘The Don Macaroni), chipotle, jalapenos, sour cream and fresh coriander (‘The Spicy Juan’) and beef hot dog, homemade BBQ sauce and crispy onions (‘The Kanye Western’). All this trendy, cheesy goodness is guaranteed to delight your festive guests.

Anna Maes 

Anna Mae

Anna Mae Pots

Naughty and Nice 

And after all that you’re going to need to serve up something a bit sweet (well, it is Christmas after all…) and nothing is more on trend than award-winning creative caterers Kalm Kitchen’s incredible doughnut wall. Yes, we’re talking about a wall covered in beautifully glazed, totally delectable doughnuts ready for your guests to lift off their individual handles and devour. From chocolate sprinkles to cookie crumb, strawberry and lime to triple chocolate, these doughnuts truly taste as good as they look, and they look a-mazing.

Another one of Kalm Kitchen’s awesome dessert creations is their liquid nitrogen ice cream bar, where your lucky guests are able to choose their flavour and toppings and watch as their bespoke ice cream creation is quite literally made from scratch before their very eyes.  

Kalm Kitchen  

Kalm Kitchen Dounut Wall Image By Marianne Taylor

Kalm Kitchen Ice Cream Station Marianne Taylor

Bring in some sassy sophistication

So you’ve got the food nailed but I am afraid you’re going to have to call and cancel the carol singers, because stylish singing duo Verity and Violet are in town. Their glitzy vintage style and sound is sassy and sophisticated – think glamorous flapper girls with super smooth vocals and friendly, happy personas. When they’re not busy entertaining the Downton Abbey wrap party or A-list guests at London Fashion Week, they smile and sparkle at plenty of other private events, weddings and parties. And yes, they can do Christmas songs, but forget ‘Santa Baby’ and think more Great Gatsby mixed with a few modern numbers.

Verity and Violet 

Verity And Violet Christmas

Verity And Violet Duo

Create a Momento 

If we suggested you hired The Portrait Machine for your alternative Christmas bash you might think we were suggesting a photo booth, but we’re not. The Portrait Machine is not in fact a real machine, it is a very special box (that looks like a bit like photobooth) with a real-life artist hidden inside, ready to draw your guests’ portraits.  No, we haven’t gone mad. Standing inside The Portrait Machine is artist/illustrator Amy, who takes a mere 3-4 minutes (on average) to draw an individual portrait, which works out as an impressive 15-20 portraits per hour. Portraits are drawn on A6 pieces of card (which you can add a personalised party message to) and then dispended through a hole in the Portrait Machine (via Amy's hand). Amy also uploads them on to Instagram as she goes along too. A unique and truly original way of entertaining your guests – plus they get a neat little portrait present to take home with them. 

The Portrait Machine



The Portrait Machine

Bring in some animal magic 

I know that Uncle Alan likes dressing up as Santa but let’s be honest – the kids of 2016 want something a little more interesting. To keep them entertained how about inviting some animals to your alternative Christmas do? And no, we are not talking about Nativity-inspired donkeys or sheep, we’re talking about Oreo and Friends. Oreo (who is a very friendly and charismatic raccoon, by the way, and star of the recent Guardians of the Galaxy film. Seriously) counts armadillos, kinkajous, a fennec fox, creepy crawlies and even a meerkat amongst his friends, and they can all happily hop along to your event ready meet your guests, whilst their handlers will share some fascinating wildlife facts. Oreo himself is guaranteed to make any Scrooge smile, and although we’ve suggested this as entertainment for kids let’s face it - if there’s a meerkat in the house then everyone will be excited.

Oreo and Friends

Oreo And Friends

Botanical Beauty 

You’ve sorted the food and entertainment, so now on to the flowers. As this is a Christmas party re-imagined, it’s time to say no to shiny berries, lush foliage and festive wreaths and instead channel one of this year’s biggest trends; spikey cacti and smooth succulents. Super trendy botanical stylists geo-fleur have a fantastic selection of beautiful bonsai, cacti, succulents and other understated flora; choose your desired plant(s) and then your pot (we love the super stylish grey concrete with copper and gold accents) and geo-fleur will make it to order, before delivering directly to your door.

Their fantastic handmade hanging terrariums would look striking and oh-so-chic at any event, and are available to buy with a special planting kit complete with instructions on how to build your terrarium, including cacti soil and gravel and three cacti.

As well are hiring out large cacti and other house plants with the wow factor – geo-fleur also specialise in events and bespoke work, and so would happily transform your home with some fabulously non-festive greenery this Christmas. 


Geofluer Christmas

Geo Fluer Pots

The Tipsy Fountain   

Looking for a showstopper that will make you more popular that Santa Claus on Christmas Eve? Well look no further than experimental food and drink installation experts Lick Me I'm Delicious. Their Tipsy Fountain is the thing that dreams are made of, and will make the usual glass of festive fizz with a pithy clementine segment floating in it look BORING.

Park this pineapple-topped Georgian-style ever-flowing fountain of delicious cocktail in the middle of your party and watch your guests’ wonder and amazement as they help themselves. Whether you fancy flowing strawberry daiquiri, endless passion fruit martini or a fountain of minty mojito the geniuses at LMID can fill this beauty with pretty much anything you like and have it ready to roll in just one hour. This is the stuff that legendary Christmas parties are made of - just don’t forget our invite… 

Lick Me I'm Delicious

Lick Me Im Delicious Tipsy Fountain

LMID Tipsy Fountain

For more exciting ideas for your Christmas party take a look at The Edit for inspiration or our Little Black Book for some of the very best suppliers in the industry to bring your party to life. 


- Explore the vendors featured in this article -

Search our Little BLACK BOOK for hand-picked experts & suppliers