If you’re looking for some creative and fun Christmas potluck theme ideas, check out the list below to give you some inspiration! Be sure to grab my FREE Perfect Potluck Planning Blueprint to help you plan your next potluck!
Potlucks are such a fun way to gather with people any time of year, but I know they’re especially popular during the holidays. I have a huge heart for potlucks – I think they bring people together in such a special way! So, I thought it’d be fun to share some potluck ideas that would be particularly fun to do during the holiday season.
Customize these however they work for you, but hopefully these give you some good inspiration. No need to stick with a bland ‘ole theme! Get creative with menu planning with these 15+ ideas!
After you look through these themes, be sure to grab your FREE PERFECT POTLUCK BLUEPRINT! It includes 5 of my most popular potluck themes PLUS menus to go along with them! And, some super helpful menu planning tips to help you get started!
15+ Creative & Fun Christmas Potluck Theme Ideas
1. Christmas Movie Meal
Have fun reminiscing on your favorite Christmas movies and have everyone bring a dish that shows up in one of their favorite movies. What a fun way to prepare food, and this theme would make for a great conversation topic when you’re all enjoying the meal together.
Some examples: someone could bring spaghetti from the notable scene in Elf (although, you can prep the spaghetti sans maple syrup if you’d prefer 😉), pea soup from the classic Claymation, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and cocoa from The Santa Clause (“…not too hot, not too cold, shaken, not stirred.”).
If you’re looking for some extra inspiration, here is a larger list of food inspired by Christmas movies.
Some ideas include:
- Home Alone: Macaroni & cheese, pizza
- Christmas Vacation: Fried turkey, Eggnog
- It’s a Wonderful Life: Mulled Wine, pie
- The Grinch: Who Hash, Roast “Beast”
- Polar Express: Hot Cocoa
- A Christmas Story: Meatloaf
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Tomato soup
- Christmas in Connecticut: Roast goose
2. Christmas Morning (A festive version of “Breakfast for Dinner”)
Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?! And even better, who doesn’t look so forward to breakfast on Christmas morning?! Plan a fun Christmas Morning Potluck full of breakfast favorites. Make it even more fun and have everyone provide a dish they always have on Christmas morning with their family, or something that reminds them of their Christmas mornings as a kid.
Another option could be to “Christmas-ify” traditional breakfast foods – add some diced red & green bell pepper to breakfast casserole (by the way, if you’re looking for the easiest and absolute best breakfast casserole recipe, I have it for you!), dress up a fruit salad with strawberries and kiwis, or add pretty ice cubes made with cranberries and rosemary to glasses of orange juice. Get creative and have fun!
3. Pie Night
Since pies are so popular this time of year, make an entire meal out of ’em! (Yes, totally possible – we’ve done it before!) Get creative with Pie Night!
Here are some recipe ideas:
- Chicken pot pie
- Veggie pie
- Quiche (made in a pie pan)
- Salad served out of a pie dish OR mini salads served in small pie dishes
Here’s a hint: pizza is also sometimes considered pie, so pizza can totally make the menu! You could even do a few different kinds of pizzas if you want to have some options for lots of veggies as a “side dish.” Here’s a delicious green apple, chicken & pesto pizza recipe – add some roasted tomatoes or chopped bell pepper and you’ve got yourself a holiday festive pizza pie!
Of course, the dessert list on this could be endless!
Some pie ideas:
- Delicious caramel apple streusel pie
- Pecan pie
- Pumpkin pie
- German chocolate pie
- Black forest pie
- Chocolate cream pie
- Cherry pie
4. Jazzed-Up Traditional Christmas Foods
Plan a menu full of traditional Christmas foods, but give everyone the extra (and super fun) challenge of putting a unique spin on the foods.
- Southwestern-style turkey
- Instead of regular potatoes, do something like duchess or twice-baked potatoes
- Dressed-up stuffing with pears, walnuts, and bleu cheese
- Apple pie cupcakes instead of traditional apple pie
- Fancier homemade cranberry sauce with dried figs & candied oranges
- Elaborate salad with apples, mandarin orange slices, candied pecans or walnuts, dried cranberries, and feta
Your guests will have so much fun putting a unique twist on a traditional favorite!
5. Red & Green
Everyone has to bring a dish that features the colors red & green. And no, Christmas M&Ms added to every single dish doesn’t count.
- Stuffed red & green peppers
- Green chile enchiladas made with red corn tortillas (I know these enchiladas are for Valentine’s Day, but you could easily adapt them for Christmas by cutting out stars instead of hearts!)
- Strawberry spinach salad (bonus – add some white with the feta cheese!)
- Salad with red & green apples in it
- Veggie tray with veggies spread out in the shape of a Christmas tree (green cucumbers, broccoli, celery, snap peas making up the tree, and then red radishes & thinly-sliced bell peppers making up the “ribbon” on the tree
And desserts would be super easy to make to go along with this theme, but if you’re wanting a fun and festive idea, check out these chocolate chip pistachio Christmas tree cookies!
Other dessert ideas:
- Pretty much anything with sprinkles: cookies, brownies, cupcakes, etc.
- Red velvet cake with a tinted green cream cheese glaze
- Red & green apple slices with caramel dipping sauce
- “Grinch” skewers – with green grape, strawberry hat, marshmallow hat topper
6. Comfort Food
Christmastime gives us all the warm fuzzy feels – probably partially because the food this time of year gives us all the warm fuzzy feels in our bellies! Host a potluck with the theme of Comfort Food, and have everyone bring yummy, cozy casseroles, side dishes, and desserts.
- A decadent, delectable baked macaroni and cheese
- Crock pot chili
- (The world’s BEST) cornbread
- Roasted vegetables
- Green bean casserole
- Chicken noodle soup
- Potato soup
- Squash casserole
- Apple dumplings
- Apple pie
- Banana pudding
- Bread pudding
7. Stocking Stuffer Theme (stuffed foods)
How fun would this be?! Have everyone bring stuffed foods and call it a “stocking stuffer theme” – stuffed shells, stuffed zucchini, stuffed breads, and all sorts of stuffed desserts! Here’s a list of 115 stuffed foods recipes – that’s a lot of ideas!
8. Family Favorites
Have everyone bring their favorite dish from their family gatherings to the potluck – a dish that reminds them of spending time with their family. (If you’re doing this type of potluck with your own family, maybe suggest that everyone bring dishes important to their in-laws’ families since you already know what your own family’s favorites are.)
What a fun way to talk about our favorite foods and hear about the sweet memories associated with each dish!
9. Food You Ate When You Were A Kid
Since childhood and memories are often associated with Christmas, this theme might be a fun one for adults to relive their early years! We all have those foods that we loved eating when we were a kid. Celebrate the “youthfulness” of the season by having everyone bring a dish that reminds them of their childhood.
We did this with one of our regular potlucks back in the day, and it was a really fun theme for everyone!
10. International Christmas
Ok, when I thought of this theme as I was brainstorming ideas for this post, I was thinking about just how fun it’d be to do this theme this Christmas! Have all your guests look up traditional Christmas dishes in other parts of the world and have an international fare. How fun would this be?!
The Smithsonian has a big list of Christmas dishes from around the world – I’m definitely going to be checking out this list and suggesting this theme to our small group.
Some of the dishes on the Smithsonian’s list include:
- Italy: Baccala (salted cod)
- France: Buche de Noel
- Czech Republic: fish soup, potato salad
- Peru: tamales
- Philippines: Ensaymada (sweet bread)
11. Food from the Bible
Jesus is the reason for the season! Celebrate Scripture through food, and have everyone bring foods that contain an ingredient mentioned in the Bible. Sounds intimidating, but I think this would be really fun for people. Just leave the locusts & honey off the menu.
Think of ingredients like:
- honey (locusts on the side, not in the dish, please 😆)
12. Fancy Hors d’oeuvres
Have a reason to get fancy! But, this is a casual potluck, so we don’t want to get too carried away, right? Plan the menu around finger foods, but make ’em fancy finger foods to give the evening a little glam. The harder to pronounce, the better the dish! 🙂
Do a quick search for “fancy appetizers” or “elegant finger foods” and I bet you’ll come up with more menu ideas than you’re able to eat. You can have a pretty balanced (and filling) meal by suggesting heavier/heartier appetizers, ones that have more veggies (like skewers and such), and you’ll have no problem coming up with some ideas for fancy little desserts.
Here are some menu ideas:
- Baked brie bites
- French cheese puffs
- Decadent finger sandwiches (grilled with nice cheese)
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Small veggie pizza squares
- Greek veggie tartlets
- Caprese skewers
- Pesto tortellini skewers
13. Soup Bar
Have a big ‘ole soup night and have your guests all provide a different soup. You can break out of the rules a little and have someone else provide bread/salad, but other than that, stick to a bunch of soups and have fun trying each others’ recipes. It’ll be a cozy night full of flavor.
Soup is like one of my favorite things EVER, so if you need some ideas, try these:
- Pizza Soup
- Cowboy Soup
- Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken Soup
- Hearty & Healthy Copycat Zuppa Toscana
- Easy Roasted Red Pepper & Tortellini Soup
14. Yesteryear Foods
A little different than “Family Favorites,” have everyone get a recipe from an older relative – perhaps a recipe for a dish they used to make regularly. My husband would definitely choose to do biscuits and gravy for this – they’re definitely a favorite of his! His grandpa used to make them all the time.
15. Santa’s Milk & Cookie Bar
Want to bust out of the mold from the typical meal? Or, need to plan for the event to take place later in the evening after people would have typically eaten supper?
Have a fun milk & cookie bar with an assortment of ingredients!
Cookies, of course:
- Triple chocolate peppermint cookies
- Chewy sugar cookies
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Molasses cookies
Different types of milk:
- Almond or coconut
Essentials & toppings for a sugar cookie decorating station:
- Buttercream frosting (one of the most popular posts on my blog!)
- Colorful sprinkles
- Gold/silver sprinkles
- Chocolate chips
- Small candies
Have so much fun planning your Christmas potluck! If you’re looking for particularly Christmas-y (and absolutely delicious, no-fail) dessert recipes to make for your meal, I can help! 🙂 Make sure to check out these:
- Pistachio chocolate chip Christmas tree cookies
- Triple chocolate peppermint cookies
- Decadent red velvet & chocolate poke cake
- Gorgeous pistachio pudding bundt cake
Be sure to snag your free Perfect Potluck Blueprint to help you plan your potluck!
Want to remember these ideas later? Be sure to pin this to your favorite Pinterest board!