“I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. Today … a Savior has been born to you … the Messiah, the Lord.” —Luke 2:10-11 NIV
You’ve invited your family and your friends and their children to your home to share your Christmas joy. You’d like to celebrate the birth of Jesus with something other than people sitting and standing around counting off the minutes until they can politely leave. You’d like to keep the cost down and the joy up. You’d like your preparation to be easy and uncomplicated.
Here are 3 tips that will send your guests home with ideas for their next Christmas celebration because they had so much fun at yours.
Tip 1. Serve one hors d’oeuvre that’s so cute it delights adults and children and starts icebreaker conversations.
Sign on to Pinterest if you’re at a loss for an idea, or use the super easy penguins John and I made last Christmas.
It’s okay that people don’t like their ingredients and don’t eat them or you catch them wrapping them in napkins and stowing them in their purses, like my sister did. She brought a penguin home and showed it to me. I went out and bought jumbo and small black olives, cream cheese, and carrots to make penguins to delight my children and grandchildren during our celebration.
Tip 2. Provide a fun activity to get the children’s wiggles out before sitting down to dinner or simply to expend their sugar-induced energy.
The activity you choose must cause the children to use their large muscles. One that’s perfect when it’s too cold to send them outside is a friendly indoor snowball fight using snowballs made from white panty hose or tights and polyester fiberfill. I’ve used them for years with preschoolers and no child was ever hurt when bonged in the face with one of these snowballs.
If you don’t have a playroom or large area free of fragile or dangerous items, back your car(s) out of the garage. Make sure you have a low barrier like wrapping paper roles or yardsticks laid end to end, which teams are not to cross. I suggest you have at least one adult on each team. Usually ten to fifteen minutes is a good length for a friendly snowball fight.
Tip 3. Offer a craft activity that gathers people around a table to chat and laugh while making something to take home.
One that’s good for older children, teens, and adults is making graham-cracker houses using icing for glue and candies for decorations. As an alternative, your group could construct the little town of Bethlehem with flat-roofed tall and short buildings.
Another craft activity I’ve enjoyed with family and friends of all ages is making ornaments from inexpensive prepackaged kits. Usually, even the craft humbuggers will join in for a simple craft.
What have you done that spiced up your Christmas celebrations?
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Love these ideas, Zoe! AND feel so blessed to have you and your creativity in our family! The boys treasure time with you and John.
I could write a book on this topic.
1. Make popcorn with a popcorn maker. Many little kids have never seen popcorn popped like this. I talk to the popper—telling it that we only want a little bit of popcorn, then pretend to try to stop it before it fills up the house or gets on the Christmas. Tree…
2. I made felt mice that I hide. (Depending on the age of the children how much of the mouse I hide—at least a tail must be exposed.) They’ll want their turn at hiding the rodents too. Instead of making the mice, buy a package of cat-mice in the pet section.
3. Each year I’ve held a Christmas card contest. Each participant gets to put a 5 in their favorite card, a 3 in their second, and a 1 in their third favorite. First judging is for favorite card. Some years we judge for best message. (Good discussion here)
4. I have the kids look for cards with nativity scenes to reinforce the Christmas story.
5. I make simple puzzles by cutting cards from the previous years. Into about five pieces. If there are several children present I give each child a piece of a different card then mix all the other pieces together.
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Jill, I think your graham cracker house is the one pictured.
Marcia, the mice you gave me have been a hit in Sunday school, Bible Study Fellowship, and with the grandchildren. I also have popped popcorn for preschoolers. It always delights them. All your ideas were great.
Marcia, wonderful ideas! Have a blessed new year.