If you want to have a great get together for your students, then here's a planning guide that will save you lots of time, and create a great Christmas experience for your students.
Following is a list of things to consider, as well as some fun tips. (Yes, even a recipe for brownies!)
THE TIME AND PLACE
The first step is, of course, to plan when and where you'll have your Christmas party. Will it be at the church? At your house? Or at the home of one of your students? Thoughts on location:
- Trash -- If you have it at someone's home, be sure and provide some big trash bags and perhaps a way to take the garbage back to the church dumpsters.
- Decorations — Decorations can really tap out your budget. If you're doing the party at the church, consider seeing if some families will either loan you decorations, donate money for them, or a mixture of both. (It's a great way to involve families in your youth ministry.) The nice thing about doing it at someone's home is that it's not as much of an issue, as most homes will already be decorated.
- Music -- No Christmas party is complete without music. You can control this at your church a little better. If you're doing the party at someone's home, make sure you have this covered.
When? What time works best for your group? Plan your time and place early, and start promoting the event as much as possible. Thoughts on time:
- There is no perfect time. Consider traffic and work schedules. Set a time and stick with it.
- You may want to schedule it at a time when students are already planning on being at church (say, in place of your mid-week service, or after Sunday morning small group).
FOOD AND DRINKS
You're probably a pro at this by now. But maybe some of you are just starting out. Or maybe you're just really not that great at details. Following is a list of supplies and other details to consider:
- Purchase napkins, plates, cups, plastic utensils, and table covers. (All these items are available in Christmas designs at a variety of prices.) Again, this is a great way to let parents help you. Ask parents to sign up for one of these, or to donate their extra supplies from "Christmas Parties-past."
- The easiest way to plan for drinks is to have students each bring a 2-liter soft drink. To kick it up a notch serve a Christmas punch with one half gallon of lime sherbet for every 6 liters of ginger ale or lemon-lime soda.
- Decide what to serve to eat. You could have students bring either an appetizer or a dessert. If you provide the food, we know pizza is always the easiest thing to do. If you're really daring (or have an assistant!) coordinate with the moms and dads to bring dishes. While this increases the planning, it also dramatically increases the quality of food!
Who doesn't love Awesome Christmas desserts? No one, that's who!
Try this recipe for brownies. You won't be sorry!
YOU WILL NEED:1 brownie mix and all the ingredients it requires, PLUS one package of Christmas Oreos.
- Prepare the brownie mix according to directions
- Grease a regular muffin pan
- Spoon just enough brownie batter to cover the bottom of each muffin section
- Place one Oreo on top of each dab of batter
- Barely cover each Oreo with brownie batter
- Cook according to the directions on the brownie mix
These brownies are delicious, and the red Oreo center makes it a perfect Christmas treat.
Many times at the close of the youth Christmas party, I'll lead a short devotion. Then we'll do a gift exchange. Here are some ideas on ways to close your event.
- Individual Gift Exchange -- Ask each student to bring a gender neutral (and inexpensive), wrapped gift and let everyone choose a gift either by age or by drawing numbers.
- Prize Drawing -- Provide one really nice gift or several good gifts, and give everyone a number based on the number of students at your event. Then, draw a winner. A cool way to draw a number is to use a random number generator. Give the gifts to the students with the winning numbers.
- Prize Drawing, Part 2 -- There is another way to give away prize gifts that's a little more expensive. Coca-Cola usually produces small, round bottles of Coke this time of year that look like ornaments. The caps are usually white so you can write your numbers on the caps. Let each student pick a drink then use your random number generator to award the prizes.
- Gifts As Donations -- Many student ministers are opting to use the Christmas party as a time to teach about missions and ministry. You can have your students bring a small, wrapped toy for a needy child. Many organizations head up toy drives at Christmas. Students could also bring monetary gifts and the money can be used to help a specific family in your town.
THE GUEST LIST
Remember to invite special people to your youth Christmas party, like those who teach in your program, those who volunteer to help you out during the year, and other ministers in the church. This can be a great time to show your appreciation for those who are a vital part of your ministry to students.
So have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and of course have a great youth Christmas party!