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10 Community Event Ideas for a Happy HOA Holiday

The holidays are the perfect time for getting together with friends, family, and neighbors. Whether you’re sharing laughs at a block party or heartfelt moments at a close-knit gathering, a holiday event doesn’t have to be extravagant for people to feel cherished, included, and joyful. A homeowners’ association (HOA) board of directors can foster that warm-inside feeling by hosting a community-wide celebration that everyone will enjoy. Read on to learn what to consider when planning an HOA event and 10 community event ideas for the holidays.

What to Consider When Planning a Community Event

Scheduling a fun holiday event allows residents to connect, enhancing the positive environment of the association. To ensure your event is a success—especially one on a large scale—first consider these factors:

  • Budgeting
  • Scheduling
  • Weather
  • Safety and liability
  • Health guidelines

Preparation is key to keeping the event fun and engaging. By addressing these factors before hosting a community-wide event, everyone’s guaranteed to have a very merry time.

Don’t let the weather put a damper on your plans! Download our “Winter Maintenance Checklist” and check off these seasonal to-dos.  

10 Fun Community Event Ideas for the Holidays

No matter your budget, there are many exciting activities HOAs can do to celebrate the season. Here are 10 great ideas for HOA community events.

  1. Cookie Swap

Ask community members to bake their favorite cookies and organize a trade of the delicious treats. Invite people to meet at a central location, like the HOA clubhouse, for an eventful exchange. Other ideas to elevate the experience include:

  • Host a class with a local baker.
  • Share cookie recipes.
  • Hold a blind taste test and reward the best cookie.
  • Add other treats for a full spread of snacks.
  1. Association Friendsgiving

A modern twist on the traditional Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a Thanksgiving-themed meal with friends. This year, consider hosting a Friendsgiving with the neighborhood. Plan a potluck-style feast where residents can contribute dishes. It’s easy; simply:

  • Plan a location, date, and time.
  • Send invitations and create a sign-up sheet for members to add their dishes.
  • Recruit volunteers to help prepare, set up, and decorate for the occasion.

Once everything’s in order, sit back and relax as neighbors get to know each other, express gratitude, and savor what they’ve prepared. 

  1. Holiday Decoration Contest

Encourage community members to decorate their homes and front lawns with seasonally appropriate décor. While you’ll need to communicate any holiday decoration rules and guidelines beforehand, this is a fun way to incorporate a little friendly competition. Coordinate a panel of judges to score the design choices based on:

  • Creativity
  • Coordination
  • Quality
  • Theme

Award the highest-scoring home a prize that’s attractive to all residents and let the creativity shine! 

Is your HOA handling the holidays correctly? Download our ebook, “5 HOA Holiday Best Practices for A Very Merry Season,” to find out.

  1. A Merry Movie Night

With so many movies about celebrating the holidays, why not organize an event to do the same? Put out a call in your newsletter to gauge everyone’s preferred festive flicks, or send a poll of movie choices and ask for votes.

Then, settle on a movie and a date for the event and provide popcorn and other theater snacks for viewers to munch on. Popular movies that are appropriate for all ages include:

  • A Christmas Story
  • Home Alone
  • Elf
  • The Polar Express
  • The Santa Clause
  1. Santa Meet & Greet

Bring some of the magic of the season to life by putting together a Santa meet and greet. Arrange for a Santa to visit your community or have a board member take the mantle themselves. Set up enough time for all the kids in your association to visit the jolly fellow and have cameras ready to go.

  1. Ugly Sweater Party

Embrace the humor of holidays with an ugly sweater party. Ask community members to don their most outrageous seasonal sweaters while everyone mixes and mingles over food and drinks. You can host a competition for the ugliest sweater or give out superlative-based awards to a variety of outfits, like:

  • Best/Worst Dressed
  • Most Colorful
  • Most Creative
  • Best Accessories
  1. Gingerbread House Decorating

If you’re looking for a family-friendly learning experience, a gingerbread house decorating content is a must-do. From icing to gumdrops, supply all needed ingredients and decoration kits for gingerbread houses and let guests get artsy.

  1. Holly Jolly Mixology

Make spirits bright with a holiday mixer for adults. Hire a mixologist to lead a webinar on crafting the best holiday cocktails. An event in which members don’t have to leave the comfort of their own homes, when residents learn together virtually, it nourishes the sense of community—and eliminates the need for community equipment and cleanup.

  1. New Year’s Carnival

The holidays aren’t complete without a New Year’s event. Ring in 2024 with a carnival-style party for all community members. Set up game booths and entertainment that you’d find at a carnival, like:

  • A bounce house
  • Maze
  • Balloon art demonstration
  • Cornhole

Creating a playful atmosphere will give your community members the opportunity to feel like a kid again, leave worries behind, and relish the excitement. 

  1. Charity Drive

Get into the spirit of giving with a donation drive to support your local community. Organize an event to collect:

  • Clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Canned goods
  • Toys

Promote the drive, set clear collection deadlines, and let residents know what their contributions are going towards. Giving back allows residents to work together, generate positive change, and spread joy.

Happier Holidays in the Community

The holiday season should be a time for building connections and making cherished memories with neighbors. That’s why hosting community events is so important. For even more holiday tips, download our ebook, “Your Guide to Navigating Common Holiday Issues in Your Community.” In it, we share expert insights to help you navigate the most wonderful time of the year.