Youth Ministry On the Cheap: Youth Family Christmas Party

Do you want an inexpensive and echristmas partyasy Christmas ?

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 .  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 to do.  On the invitation, I ask families to bring a dessert or an appetizer.  As a , 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 .  (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.

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Wayne Yeager is the pastor at Glasford Baptist Church in the small town of Glasford, Il. As a 12-year veteran of ministry, his experience comes from small, rural churches and congregations. Wayne is married to Sara and they have two children. Wayne attends Liberty Seminary, studying for a Masters of Divinity in Christian Counseling. You can follow Wayne's blog at http://wyeager.blogspot.com.

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