Have one! Ok, this isn’t really one of my three thoughts on Christmas parties… but if you aren’t having a Christmas party with your students, you are missing out! Some of the best memories (and photos) come from youth group Christmas parties. For real, though, here are three thoughts I have on youth group Christmas parties.
1. Theme it out
Get with your leaders and brainstorm. Here are a few ideas we have come up with over the years:
- Flapjacks and Flannel – We did this one a couple of years ago, and it was a blast. Everyone wore a flannel shirt (or onesie), and we made pancakes. Students were invited to bring their favorite topping for their pancakes. Some we mixed in the batter; others were sprinkled or spread on top.
- Christmas Luau – This idea came from one of our leaders this year. Especially for those of us who live in a colder climate, thoughts of palm trees, warm sun, and flowers are great during the colder months. You can encourage students to wear Hawaiian shirts, leis, etc. It is also easy to theme your food around this.
- Ugly Christmas Sweater – This one may be overused, but if your group has never done this–or if it has been several years–this is a classic. No explanation needed! One of my favorite activities at an ugly sweater party is to have premade plain sugar cookies in the shapes of sweaters and provide colored icing so students can decorate them like an ugly sweater.
2. Lots of games
It is best to have several games that are easy to explain and can be played in a relatively short amount of time. Consider a variety of styles.
- PowerPoint games – A great resource for PPT and other types of games can be found from our friends at DYM.
- Kahoot – I’m sure you are familiar with Kahoot. If not, it is a great way to do trivia using your phone. Make sure your leaders are ready to sit near a student who doesn’t have a phone so they can share with them.
- Cellophane wrap game – I found a YouTube video that explains this game well. You can use candy as the prizes, and if you have the budget, you can mix in some gift cards or other small prizes.
3. Have a plan for gifts
If you are going to exchange gifts, be sure to have a plan. White elephant exchanges are fun, but you need to set clear guidelines on the purchasing of gifts. For example, you may tell your students that their gift must be purchased at a thrift store.
Also, have a plan for how the exchange will happen at the party. There are tons of different ideas out there. Do a Google search and pick one that sounds fun for your group. Be sure to have a few extra gifts on hand for those who forget to bring one.
Have fun with your students as you celebrate the birth of our Savior! Comment below on any ideas you want to share.
Brian has been in youth ministry for 23 years. He is passionate about communicating truth to young people and the leaders that work with them. Brian loves to play, watch and talk about all kinds of sports. He and his wife Lynn have three awesome teenagers and live in upstate, NY.