Tips for a FUN Christmas and Holiday Party

by Sharon Planer, Pianist for Parties

Here is a tip to put your guests in a festive mood...Hire 'live' music!

 

I love arriving at a venue before the party begins so that I can greet the guests with my piano music when they arrive.

Live piano music adds a sparkle to Holiday and Christmas parties! 

Live piano music adds a sparkle to Holiday and Christmas parties! 

At the start of a party live music is a great ice breaker and brings smiles to the faces of the guests.

As guests arrive, get their beverage, and settle into conversation, I keep my piano music light and easy going. The music creates a pleasant atmosphere without being distracting. Guests sometimes stop by the piano to request a favorite song or even want to sing along. Children seem especially attracted to songs with a lively beat...for their dancing feet! If the event is a cocktail reception, upbeat jazzy holiday tunes create the perfect musical setting. If a sit down dinner is part of the event, I play quiet elegant holiday piano music while the guests are dining.

Guests often love to gather around the piano to sing their favorite Christmas carols. I have my songbooks ready to hand out for just that occasion!

Holiday sing along at the piano. 

Holiday sing along at the piano. 

Activities that involve music are a great form of entertainment.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas

'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. If some of the guests have a dramatic flair, selecting 12 people to act out 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' while the rest of the guests sing the song can really get the action going. Providing appropriate props can add to the fun or you can encourage your 12 participants to use their imagination in acting out their part of the song. You might be surprised by the crazy and creative ideas they come up with!

'Frosty the Snowman' .  This activity involves TP (yes, toilet paper...clean, please!). This can be done as several teams or as one activity. Each team selects one participant that will be their 'Frosty'.  When the song begins, each team will 'decorate' their Frosty with toilet paper and whatever items they can find to make their 'Frosty' look the most clever or original. The 'decorating' ends when the music stops. Guests vote on the winner. Have a prize for the team that wins....a bag of candy is an easy prize.

Musical Dice Game. Ask each guest to bring an inexpensive wrapped gift. Everyone sits in a circle, with all the wrapped presents on the floor in the middle. Players take turns rolling two dice on a pie plate. If your group is large you can use several pie plates each with a pair of dice. Start the plates going different directions. Have your musician play some lively holiday music.

 

Holiday dice game.

Holiday dice game.

If a player rolls a double, that person gets to pick a gift from the middle. The dice continue around the circle until all the gifts have been taken. At this time everyone that has a gift opens it. Going around the circle, those with gifts hold up the gift and explain what it is. They set their gift on the floor in front of them so everyone can see what they have. Set the timer to the length of time you want (10-15 minutes is decent). Ask your musician play some lively holiday music until the timer goes off. Send the dice around the circle as long as the music is playing. If a player rolls a double, he gets to steal a gift. Keep the dice going until timer goes off and the music stops. Anyone with more than one gift keeps only one gift and puts the rest in the middle. Those without a gift move their chairs in to make a smaller circle and continue the dice rolling (with music!) until each of them has won a gift.

 

Christmas caroling around the piano.

Christmas caroling around the piano.

Planning a 'Winter Party' is a good alternative if you wish to avoid religious connotations of a Christmas Party. 

Some clients, especially corporate clients, are sensitive about hosting a holiday party that reflects religious views. In order to make all guests feel included and comfortable, the client may want to keep the music and party plans secular in nature.  Hosting a party with a 'Winter' theme is a good approach. I always ask the event planner to let me know what music I am allowed to play. Some clients ask me to only play secular holiday music and avoid Christmas carols. A few clients have even asked me to avoid songs that reference St. Nick. Even though this limits my repertoire, I am respectful of such requests. If the event is longer than an hour, I will ask if I can include some non holiday music.

 

The enthusiasm and joyous spirit of the guests makes Christmas parties great fun to play for!  You can listen to several samples of my holiday piano music on my 'Listen' page.

 

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'Tis the Season to Make Music!

Have you enjoyed some fun holiday party activities that involve music? Share your ideas in the comment box below.  

Impressive BPM and MPG at Key Cadillac

My fingers were flying across the piano keyboard as guests arrived at the beautiful showroom at Key Cadillac in Edina.

The guests had one thing on their minds ... to view the unveiling of Key Cadillac's hot new vehicles. They were not disappointed! I wondered if any of these vehicles' MPG's (Miles Per Gallon) could surpass my BPM's (Beats Per Minute)!

Key Cadillac Escalade ESV 2015

Key Cadillac Escalade ESV 2015

Behold the epitome of luxury! Mike and Penni took us through many amazing features on the ESV. With handpicked woods, premium leathers and the Bose surround sound, why would an owner ever want to leave this gorgeous vehicle?


Key Cadillac ELR Luxury Electric Hybrid Coupe 2014

Key Cadillac ELR Luxury Electric Hybrid Coupe 2014

When Mike described the MPG of the ELR Luxury Electric Hybrid Coupe, the numbers were right up there with my BPM's (Beats Per Minute) on the piano . . .  a stunning 82 MPG from electricity stored in the battery plus electricity developed by the generator!


Key Cadillac ATS Coupe 2015

Key Cadillac ATS Coupe 2015

Quentin highlighted the fun features of the sleek and zippy ATS.


If you missed the unveiling last night, don't let that stop you! The wonderful people at Key Cadillac would love to have you take a look!

When I played 'Pink Cadillac', I got to wondering if they have one on their lot. I'll have to check that out the next time I'm there!

Avoid an acoustical nightmare

I especially liked reading what the Central Minnesota Wedding Association September blog post had to say about the checking out a room's acoustics ahead of time. You can see a link to their blog post below.

When a client hires me to play piano music or accompany another musician, I want to do my best to make sure the environment will be conducive to a musical performance.

piano musician

Clients and venues put a lot of planning into the visual and culinary aspects of their weddings and events.

Sometimes sound quality gets overlooked. I have learned that it pays to visit a venue to find out not only the acoustical attributes of the room but also other noises that might affect the acoustical comfort level of a room or venue. 

Last weekend I played for a wedding that was supposed to be on an outdoor patio. I visited the patio ahead of time and discovered the HVAC unit for the building was right next to the patio and was unbelievably loud. The venue had no control over when it would come on or off. I mentioned this to the couple getting married. When they visited they also noticed the noise and finally decided to move the wedding indoors. I was pleased with their decision. My piano music and the beautiful songs of the vocalists were much more appreciated in the lovely ballroom.

Read Central Minnesota Wedding Association's venue guide blog post HERE.

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Sharon Planer

Outstanding Twin Cities event pianist and wedding pianist performing live piano music for private and corporate events in Minneapolis, St. Paul, central Minnesota. Pianist for Parties, Sharon Planer, has the 'keys' to make your event sparkle with music!