Decorating for a Christmas Murder Mystery Party can be super-easy as most people will already have their homes bedecked for the festive season. However, when we were hosting the test party for our Murder at the Christmas Party game, we wanted some more unusual festive decorations.
We think the results give a super festive "wow" feel while being that bit different.
1 Decorating the Main Party Space as a Christmas Hotel
The game is set in the Rizzi Reindeer Hotel on the aptly named Yuletide Mountain. The hotel features an over-the-top Christmas theme and festive lights that the owners claim can be seen all over the mountain.
We, therefore, decided to make the main party space feature a hotel entrance festooned in a riot of Christmas wrapping paper, festive baubles, tinsel and Christmas tree lights. This party space also formed the backdrop for our group photo:
1 Cutting in a front door, adding in cardboard pillars and removing the bars to change the one long window into a door and two side windows. (We left in the non-visible bars behind the pillars to maintain the vertical stability of the structure.)
2 Adding a cardboard roof shape to the top of the structure.
3 Creating brick shapes with a random selection of different Christmas wrapping paper.
4 Adding a large wrapping-paper-covered sign to the top of roof so that it stood above the main line of the roof - thus adding visual interest. (We printed the A3-sized version of the "Rizzi Reindeer Hotel" sign that comes with the murder mystery game then glued this on top of the wrapping paper.)
5 Adorning the tops of the windows and the door with festive baubles.
6 Covering the top of the roof and the bottom of the windows with thick tinsel.
7 Running Christmas tree lights around the edges of the hotel and around the hotel sign. (We used lights that changed color every few seconds to draw the eye and create a lovely warm twinkly look to the hotel.)
8 Adding a few fun accessories from our decorations cupboard - we added a red foil tinsel curtain behind the door, some old felt reindeer antlers on top of the roof and some novelty Christmassy glitter party glasses to the roof and windows. We also added two arrangements of teddy bears to the sides and accessorized with tinsel.
In order to add some extra festive "wow", we painted a festive scene on two light blue flat double sheets. We painted a large moon to be visible above the hotel roof with reindeer and Santa's sleigh flying across the night sky; two large Christmas trees were painted on either side so that they framed the hotel structure.
Tip: if you buy light blue sheets rather than white sheets, it takes less paint to create a colored backdrop. We used two light sky-blue double-sized sheets from GC Gavebo Cavalia.
Tip: paint waves in different shades of blue and blue-purple to simulate clouds in the night sky while adding lots of interesting colors. Don't put too much paint on the brush and simply drag it across the sheets in a wave pattern.
Tip: use different shades of green for the Christmas tree needles in order to add depth and life. Allow each application of paint to dry and then paint on top and to the sides of previous needles.
Tip: to draw the sleigh and reindeer, you may find it easier to copy a picture (in a book or online). I drew a draft sketch on large white paper first so that I was familiar with how to create the reindeer body and legs.
The Christmas hotel looked different when the lights turned blue:
2 Christmas Dining Room Decorations - a "Reindeer Dining Room"
Part of the Canape Treasure Hunt referenced in the murder mystery game takes place in the Reindeer Dining Room. We therefore turned our dining room into an over-the-top festive reindeer room. We used a riot of golds and reds throughout the dining room and then tied the different elements together by continuing the wrapping-paper theme of the Christmas hotel in the lounge.
2.1 Christmas Table Centrepiece
Nothing speaks of reindeer and Christmastime more than Santa's sleigh so we bought an extra large 3D MDF Santa's Sleigh from LaserSmith via Amazon. (Total size = 590mm x 317mm x 226mm. ) We painted the sleigh red and gold and then filled it with an assortment of small boxes which we wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper.
We also bought two 3D wooden reindeer from Garden Mile via Amazon.
Together, the sleigh and reindeer created a stunning and unusual festive table centerpiece.
2.2 Other Festive Table Decorations
To add a fun festive feel to the dining table, we wrapped some old mats and coasters in bright festive wrapping paper and had alternating purple, red and blue mats along the table.
As a small extra, we used a pack of miniature wooden reindeer ornaments from Oulii as place setting names. We used the front two feet of each reindeer to wedge them on the rim of the wine glasses.
2.3 Festive Reindeer Wall Decor
To greet guests as they entered the dining room, we suspended a glittery gold tablecloth from the picture rail and then created a large "Rizzi Reindeer Hotel" sign by covering a large rectangle of cardboard with some Ho Ho Ho wrapping paper and then sticking on an A3 printout from the game's Decoration Pack.
Tip: if you cover a large piece of cardboard with wrapping paper, this makes the printouts stand out and turns a small piece of paper into an attractive visual feature.
A few strands of tinsel added a warm glow to the mantel. We then accessorized it with some of our existing festive ornaments: gold and red baubles and a gold star. We also suspended a wooden sleigh and reindeer from the Rizzi Reindeer Hotel sign.
Finally, we added an oddment of gold festive material to cover the ugly fireplace.
2.4 Printouts Framed in Wrapping Paper
To add a warm feeling to the room, we suspended another gold tablecloth from the picture rails.
We then turned another printout from the game's party pack into a larger feature by covering a large piece of cardboard with reindeer wrapping paper and gluing the printout in the middle.
Tip: by suspending a tablecloth from the wall and covering a piece of cardboard in wrapping paper, we turned a small printout into a large, eye-catching display that echoed the theme of the dining table.
2.5 Reusing a Reindeer Party Costume
Have an old XMAS party costume? Why not turn it into a feature?
We covered some bookcases in a corner of our dining room with red sheets. Then we took a reindeer costume one of our teenagers had worn to our Is Santa Sleighed? party and suspended it from a hook in the picture rails with multiple strands of red cotton so that the threads blended into the red sheets. We then added some twinkly lights.
Finally, we used some red foil metallic fringe curtains from Sumind to separate the lounge and dining room.
3 Secret Santa Corner
Within the murder mystery game, the murder happens when the killer leaves a poisoned Secret Santa present in the Christmas Tree Lounge.
We warmed up the wall over our sideboard by suspending a gold and red fabric oddment from the picture rails. On the sideboard, we then arranged a miniature gold Christmas tree adorned with a selection of baubles and ornaments and some miniature "present ornaments" to represent the Secret Santa presents. We added some tinsel and a string of red bells for a bit of sparkle. A Scrooge Bah Humbug party mask (from BAH) fitted with the party theme as Scrooge is the murder victim.
Finally, we added one of the Secret Santa posters from the game's decoration pack and, once again, framed it on a sheet of cardboard covered in wrapping paper.
4 Winter Wonderland Atrium Decor
We went to town with the decorations for our lounge and dining room and therefore decided to keep the hall decor simple - but we still wanted to set a festive feel for the party as guests arrived. We also wanted to continue the wrapping-paper theme while, this time, using a blue, silver and white color scheme to be appropriate to a winter wonderland.
We covered a large coffee table in light blue festive wrapping paper, then covered an empty rectangular cardboard box in blue paper and covered a large piece of cardboard in a different pattern of festive blue wrapping paper. We stuck the Winter Wonderland Atrium sign from the party decorations pack onto the covered cardboard and placed this on top of the blue box.
To make the snow, we used some white stretchy "cobweb" material that we had previously used for our Horror party. Then we added an assortment of festive and North Pole ornaments and some silver tinsel.