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Celebrate!

Inspire, delight, and captivate everyone in your church with these 12 memory-makers for Christmas.

One of the most treasured gifts you can give another person is a joyous memory. So this holiday season, we're giving you 12 memory-making activities that children and families alike will love.

All these ideas are guaranteed to touch you in some way, perhaps through your heartstrings or your funny bone. However they touch you, they'll leave you with that most wonderful of things-a joyous memory that honors God.

Use these ideas to make unforgettable memories. Celebrate family, celebrate those in need, celebrate giving, and most importantly-celebrate Jesus!

Chenille Angels
This is a terrific craft that doesn't involve glue. These little angels can be used as package decorations, tree ornaments, or gifts.

To make each angel, you'll need:

• ¼ length of one gold metallic chenille wire
• ½ length of one white chenille wire
• 2 bumps from one chenille kraft bump stem (any color)
• 1 large craft bead
(Supplies are available at craft stores or www.dickblick .com.)

1. Fold the gold and white chenille wires in half, then interlock the two.
2. Push the white chenille wire through the bead until the interlocked area is hidden.
3. Push the ends of the white chenille wire back into the bead to form wings.
4. Form a halo with the gold chenille wire.
5. Fold the bump stem in half. Push the folded end into the bottom of the bead.
6. Form the angel's body by folding the ends of the bump stem together.

Vickie Strong
Garden Valley, Idaho

Parable Ornaments
Making Parable Ornaments during December is a great way to remind everyone of the real message of Christmas. Our children make a different ornament each week that reflects a parable from the Bible. We then decorate a Christmas Parable Tree in the our church entrance.

• Week 1-Pour salt into clear ball ornaments to represent Matthew 5:13: "You are the salt of the earth."
• Week 2-Pour mustard seeds into clear ball ornaments for Matthew 17:20: "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move."
• Week 3-Tie Goldfish crackers in netting to represent Matthew 13:47: "Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish."
• Week 4-Pour sunflower seeds into clear ball ornaments for Matthew 13:37: "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man."
You can print the verses and tie them to the ornaments. Top the tree with a thorn crown (available at www.heavensentdesigns.com). For your congregation, print a bulletin-size description of the Parable Tree, giving credit to those who made the ornaments. When complete, the Parable Tree is a powerful reminder of Jesus' life.

Krista Reynolds
Gray, Tennessee

Holiday Muggings
Extend a little holiday cheer to church visitors during the Christmas season. Ask each child to bring in a new mug. Provide hot chocolate packets, cookies, cellophane wrap, and curling ribbon. Place two hot chocolate packets and individually wrapped cookies in each mug.
Then add this printed poem:

You don't know us and we don't know you,
But we hope that'll change in a week or two.
We wanted to show you we're glad that you came,
And we hope we can meet you and tell you our names!
From the children at your church name.

Wrap the mugs in cellophane, and deliver them to your greeting team to give to visitors.

Lori Niles
Portland, Oregon

Trimming the Tree
This is a memorable way to decorate your Christmas tree. Assign each Sunday school class a symbol of Christmas, such as a star, lamb, angel, heart, or crown. Have the children in each class hand-make ornaments of that symbol.

Early in December, invite your congregation to gather for an informal tree-trimming ceremony as each class alternately places its ornaments on the tree. What an awesome sight to see a bare tree beautifully transformed in less than an hour by children.

Holly Davis
Hockessin, Delaware

Bethlehem Star
This easy-to-make craft can be used as an ornament or gift. You'll need cardboard, scissors, yellow felt, glitter glue, and candy canes. Trace the star pattern onto cardboard.
Tell children to:
1. Trace the cardboard patterns onto yellow felt and cut out the stars.
2. Fold the long piece along the dotted lines, and cut along the dotted lines.
3. Weave the shorter piece through the slits in the long piece.
4. Use glitter glue to decorate your star. Then lay your star flat to dry.
5. Once your star is dry, stick a candy cane through its back.

Debbie Holford
Tega Cay, South Carolina

Gift-Wrap Scramble
As a crowdbreaker or team-building game, have everyone participate in a gift-wrapping race. You'll need wrapping paper, scissors, tape, and a box for each team.

Form teams of four. Each team will work together to wrap its gift, but the catch is each person can only use one hand.

Award each team a prize, such as the wildest creativity, neatest package, and best teamwork.

Lori Turner
Fredericktown, Ohio

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