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Holiday Pool Party Decoration Ideas

It's December, and that means a whole month of holiday parties to attend. For those of you in the sunbelt, your pool can become a festive focal point. Decorate the area in bright red and green, glittering silver and gold, and don't forget the lights! Lots of lights! But it doesn’t matter if you live in a warm climate or in the great white North – if you want to throw a holiday party near the pool, you can!

Holiday pool party decorating is really taking off. Just a few short years ago, you'd be lucky to find just one picture online that looked like a pool decorated for Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other winter holiday. But now the internet is flooded with images of all kinds of festive holiday pool party decorations. Well, maybe not flooded. But at least enough pics to fill a blog post!

Regardless of whether the pool is going to be open for use or not, there are plenty of fun activities that will be sure to keep you and all your guests happy. The ultimate holiday pool party is just around the corner!

Holiday Pool Party Safety

Before we get to the pretty pools decorated with holiday swag, there are a few safety precautions for your holiday parties by the pool.

  1. Lighting within 5 feet of the pool should either be solar or battery powered. DO NOT use 110V plug-in colored lights strung above or around the pool. Fatal electrocution could occur.
  2. Floating candles are pretty, but block the entrance to the skimmer so you don't have a black and melted skimmer lid. Tape wooden dowels or chicken wire across the skimmer opening to make a temporary skimmer grate.
  3. If swimming is not planned and there's no lifeguard on duty, post several "No Swimming" or "Pool Closed" signs around the backyard. If there will be swimming involved, designate two people to watch swimmers or help any "accidental" swimmers safely exit the pool. When there are children at the party, also designate a kid watcher to keep an eye on safety both in and out of the pool. Get a lifeguard hat for your pool watchers to remind them of their importance.

If the Pool is Closed:

When your pool is closed and winterized for the off-season, meaning it's covered or not operating, it's often best to close off the pool area unless you have a safety pool cover.

Traditional tarp-style winter pool covers can be dangerous if one of your guests falls onto the cover. In these situations, make sure that the pool area is properly blocked off with safety barriers, locking gates, gate alarms, or any other safety measures.

If the Pool is Open:

If swimming in the pool is a viable option for you and guests, turn up the heat! Gas heaters are normally required this time of year, except for the very Southern parts of the U.S., which can still use heat pumps or solar heaters.

You can still enjoy a game of pool volleyball or basketball if weather permits. These types of activities are always popular at pool parties, because everyone can participate. Use a beach ball for a slower paced game.

OK, on to the pictures! We've assembled a pictorial of pools decorated for the holidays. These are great ideas for any holiday pool party, but they're also perfect if you just want to decorate the pool area for the holidays!

Festive Holiday Decoration Ideas for Pools

Pool water dye is fun for all parties. In The Swim has red and green pool dye, the most appropriate colors for the festive holiday season. Just don't use both colors at the same time, or else you'll get a murky brown color instead of a vibrant holiday hue.

Pool lighting can be festive for any outdoor party, even if you're not using the pool. Find a floating pool light to use in the water, or set up string lights around the yard. Wrap your trees or patio posts in lights, or run them along the fence. But remember, don't run these lights around the pool. It's a tempting idea to try, but it could be very dangerous.

holiday trees made from balloons floating in a pool

votive lights surrounding edge of swimming pool
Hundreds of lighted votives make for a beautiful backyard setting. Battery operated plastic versions are safer and easier to manage, but keep them safely out of splashing range if there will be any swimming going on. Design by Sugokuii Events.

Santa floating in the pool
Santa took an early vacation this year. This pool owner took a plastic model of Kris Kringle and set it afloat on a comfy pool lounge. Hopefully he remembered the 50 SPF!

lighted luminaries around the pool
Candle luminaries around the pool twinkle under the winter night sky. Battery operated candles are safer and easier, and the plastic covering will protect them from splashing water.

swimming pool decorated for the holidays
If you'll be dining near the pool, set the scene with a floating pool centerpiece and strings of lights around the yard. Just remember to keep all electrical cords and light strands away from the water at all times.

festive lights and poinsettias around the swimming pool
Surround the pool with bright lights and colorful poinsettias. Just like in the previous image, these pool owners also added a decorative centerpiece in the middle of the pool.

Holiday Party Drinks and Foods

Hors d'oeuvres are great for any party. Keep the food warm with a low setting on electric griddles or gas grills. Make traditional holiday cookies or desserts, or pick a theme for the party and play it up with the food selections!

A nice bowl of holiday punch is always appreciated. You can also go with a homemade eggnog or other signature drink with lots of warm winter spices. In addition to the Yuletide cocktails, be sure to offer lots of non-alcoholic beverages for your guests.

Break out the music and let the party really get lively. Set up a dance floor area around the pool, patio, or deck, and let guests enjoy the holidays with a memorable celebration.

Holiday Party Goody Bags

Last, but not least, a fun thing to incorporate to any holiday pool party is a goody bag or grab bag for your guests. Whether it’s a party for adults or it's a kid party, there are plenty of cool party favor ideas for guests of any age group.

Sugar cookies, candy canes, and fudge can be thrown into the bag as a sweet treat. If there's room, add some warm mittens, fun holiday socks, or fuzzy earmuffs. For a finishing touch, you can even include an ornament inside the bag or wrapped on top of the bag. Or, instead of bags, can even add apple cider or hot chocolate drink mix packets into festive mugs for your guests to take home.

See?! You really can throw a holiday pool party that will be remembered by all guests. It doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming now, does it?

To all of our friends and loyal customers, we wish you and your families a very happy holiday season! If you decorate your pool this winter, send us a picture and we'll add it to this list!

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.