One of my favorite things to plan, in youth ministry, was the youth Christmas Party. It was a highlight of the year as well as a tremendous community builder. Here’s my ultimate checklist for planing a successful Christmas Party for teenagers.

When should I schedule the youth Christmas Party?

The earlier the better. My sweet spot was usually the second week of December.

In House or Outreach?

Is this for the kids inside your church or is this a a “bring a friend” event? I always chose the latter because the bar is so low to bring a friend to a Christmas party.

How long should the party be?

There are several ways to throw a Christmas Party. You could have a one night Christmas party. Mine usually lasted two hours on a Saturday or Sunday night, but Friday’s are good too.

If you can’t nail down one date, spread your “party” over the weekly youth meetings you have in December. You could call to The Worlds Longest Christmas Party.

Will the party have a theme?

Ugly Sweater, Luau, Fiesta, Star Wars (teens look for any excuse to dress up) Progressive Dinner, Lock In, Lock Out (which is a great option in this season of pandemic) etc.

How many games should we play?

That depends on whether you are doing dirty Santa or not. Dirty Santa can take a long time with a large group so you may want to have less games. With a smaller group, you can afford to play a few more games and still have time for Dirty Santa.

Here’s a playlist of a dozen Christmas games you can play.

Will there be prizes?

What will you give away as prizes for winning the games? I recommend going to a store like Five Below and get some cool stuff for $5 and under. These don’t have to be great gifts, although, you could scale the gifts as the night goes on. The first person who wins get a $5 prize, the second person wins a $10 price (or two $5 prizes) etc.

What kind of food should I serve?

You can go with pizza, but think outside the box a little. You could go with your theme and do taco’s if it’s a fiesta or BBQ if you go with a western theme.

If you have a multi-cultural church why not do a Christmas Around The World Buffet

Get parents involved by doing a pot luck and having them bring part of a meal. Someone can do meats, some can veggies, some can do desserts etc.

I recommend asking some of the grandmas in your church to make their famous whatever, then have kids sign thank you notes to them for sharing with them.

Should I have a worship worship/devotion time?

I would not use your Christmas party as a chance to preach, but you can present the gospel through a short devotion or video. Like this one or this one or this one.

Play some Christmas worship music for a time of prayer and mediation. Have slides with topics teens could be praying about. These could be prayer needs in your church, your city, your state, the country and the world.

Dirty Santa Advice (the game where you steal gifts from children)

Last person gets to choose of all the gift. The person who get’s number one is our of luck if keep to the rules. They will not get a chance to steal unless their gift is stolen and if they get a clunker of a gift, well they’re stuck. This could be a great illustration of the first being last and last will be first.

Have extra present ready in case someone did not bring a gift.

Gifts can only be stolen twice and then they are dead.

I expand on many of these ideas in this video

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