I stumbled onto this one a few years ago, and it’s been successful ever since. Knowing that everyone is busy in December (Christmas parties, shopping, family and work get-togethers), I didn’t want to add one more event parents had to drag their child to, especially when other siblings occupied the house.
So, each year for Christmas, our youth group celebrates as a family. We invite all the students, their parents and their siblings (and all our youth volunteers) to our youth family Christmas party. It’s one of the most popular events I do each year.
It’s simple. We invite all the families and play Christmas games. I usually give them a Christmas trivia quiz and a Christmas carol quiz, and then we play dueling Christmas carols. It’s a blast. Often, the parents get into it more than the students.
What’s even better is the event is cheap to do. On the invitation, I ask families to bring a dessert or an appetizer. As a youth ministry, I provide the drinks. At best, I’m out $20 for some soft drinks. All the food is provided by families, and since we schedule it after dinner, finger foods provide all the food needed.
I keep decorations to a minimum – a Christmas tree and a couple of centerpieces. I use paper products (which can be saved for future events.) I do buy prizes, but that’s optional. (You can also do cheap “gag” gift prizes too.)
Personally, I don’t like white elephant gift exchanges, so I don’t include them. But you can if you want.
Altogether, even including prizes, I often spend less than $50 on the Christmas party. (And you can spend even less if you don’t do prizes and have drinks provided by others.) I do mail out invitations, but you can easily hand them out to save money on stamps.
Best of all, you have intergenerational interaction, families having fun together, younger siblings getting a taste (and hopefully an excitement) for youth ministry and a neat way to celebrate Christmas that requires no volunteers, no food prep and almost no day-of preparation at all. As a bonus, it’s a great way to meet new parents and invite fringe families to a church event. Almost every year, I get to sit with a family who brings their student to youth but never comes to church themselves. It’s a great opportunity.
So, if you’re looking a cheap way to do a Christmas youth event, try it out. If it’s too late this year, add it to your calendar next year. It has a lot of positives and the price is hard to beat.