Use this full Family Christmas Event Plan to tap into the anticipation, excitement, and wonder that are the hallmarks of the Christmas season, especially for children.
Can we decorate Christmas cookies?
Do you think it’ll snow on Christmas Eve?
I wonder what’s in those boxes under the tree!
In the midst of all the decorations and goodies, the parties and presents, is the greatest gift of all-just waiting to be discovered for all to see. Help your families unwrap the most glorious gift this season—Jesus. Use these crafts, activities, and games to host an evening for families to rediscover the miracle of Christmas and help them keep Jesus at the center of the busy holiday season.
1. Follow the Star
Families can journey together to arrive at a birthday celebration for Jesus.
- A host dressed in a shepherd’s costume,
- glow-in-the-dark stars,
- one large star cutout,
- a nativity set,
- a Bible,
- a birthday cake,
- matches, and
- three candles.
Before families arrive, make a trail of stars. You’ll need to make a starting point, three middle stopping points, and an ending point. Place the appropriate characters and animals from the nativity at the corresponding stops.
Greet families when they arrive and announce that something exciting has happened but to find out what it is, they must follow the stars.
Let children discover Mary and Joseph and read aloud Luke 2:1-5. Have children carry the figurines to the next stop.
Let children locate the angel and a shepherd at this point. Read Luke 2:8-20, then continue down the path.
Children will find the wise men here. Read aloud Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11 before continuing.
Families will find the large star hanging over the cake with three candles and the baby Jesus. Explain that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth. Light the three candles, representing these things:
- 1. The Star of Bethlehem shone brightly over baby Jesus.
- 2. Jesus, the Light of the World, was born into a dark night.
- 3. God wants us to be a light for others and show them the way to Jesus.
Sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and share the cake.
2. Star Search
Families get to search for the baby Jesus in a maze of stars.
- A large manger with a doll wrapped in a blanket,
- glow-in-the-dark stars,
- fishing line,
- a flashlight,
- preprinted discussion sheets, and
- a glow-in-the-dark star for each person to take home.
Place the manger with the doll in a corner far from the room entrance. Spread glow-in-the-dark stars on the floor and hang them from the ceiling using fishing line, with a large star attached to the manger. Turn off the lights.
Challenge families to find their way through the stars until they find the manger. Then have them turn on their flashlights while they talk about the activity using the following preprinted discussion questions.
- Was it easy or difficult to find the baby Jesus? Explain.
- How is this activity like or unlike searching for Jesus today?
- How can we learn about Jesus?
- In which ways can we help others learn about Jesus?
Give each person a glow-in-the-dark star to take home. Say: Place this star next to your bed to remind you that Jesus is the Light of the World who helps people learn about God.
3. Family Snowflakes
Families can celebrate their uniqueness with this cooperative craft project.
- Small craft sticks,
- assorted buttons, and
- a hot-glue gun.
Have family members each create a stick person representing themselves using craft sticks and buttons. Small families can create extra stick people to represent extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, or uncles. When everyone’s finished, glue the feet of the stick people together to form a snowflake.
- Is it really true that no two snowflakes are alike?
Say: Scientists say the differences between snowflakes are limitless. Many snowflakes look alike-even under the microscope-but at closer examination, they differ. God created each person in your family unique, which makes every family one of a kind—just like your snowflake.
Families can hang their unique snowflake in a window to remind them to rejoice in the uniqueness of the family God’s given them.
4. Door Hanger Gifts
Family members can create gifts to remind them of holiday blessings.
- 6×9 envelopes,
- assorted markers,
- tape, and
- scrap paper.
Have each person decorate the front of an envelope to look like a Christmas gift. Tie a loop with an 18-inch piece of yarn and tape it to the interior fold of the envelope flap, then tuck the flap inside the envelope.
Have families share the Christmas activities they’ll participate in.
Say: It’s easy to let the busyness of the Christmas season distract us from what’s truly worth celebrating-the gift of Jesus. Hang your gift on your bedroom door. Take home scrap paper, and throughout December write encouraging words or notes of gratitude to Jesus for your family members. Place the notes in the gift door hangers for your family members to tell them how special they are to you.
5. Keepsake Ornaments
Put a holiday spin on scrapbooking by inviting families to make personalized holiday ornaments.
- Tell families to bring favorite photos from the previous year of memorable events.
- Provide ornament-making supplies such as:
- juice lids,
- ribbon, and
Families can create memorable ornaments by gluing their favorite memories, such as vacations, celebrations, and special days, on the lids and writing a memory on the back.
- Why are good memories precious to us?
- How do photographs help us remember special times?
- If you could photograph a special memory you have with Jesus, what would it be?
- In what ways can we remember our “good times” with Jesus?
6. Mitten Angels
Help families make a craft project that brings comfort and warmth to homeless children.
- 11/2-inch foam balls,
- 12-inch squares of white netting material,
- gold chenille wires, and
- assorted pairs of children’s knit mittens.
Place one foam ball in the center of a piece of white netting material, then fold the netting around the ball to form the angel’s head. Use a pair of mittens to create the angel’s wings by wrapping a chenille wire around the angel’s neck and the mitten thumbs. Another chenille wire can be used to form a halo.
- Describe the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received. Why was it so special?
- How would Christmas be different if you didn’t receive any presents?
Say: Many people go without gifts at Christmas. These mitten angels can be a very special gift for children in need. I challenge you to make more angels together at home. Bring your mitten angels to our Christmas Eve service, and we’ll deliver the warmth of mittens to a local family or women’s shelter on Christmas morning.
7. Berry Heart Ornament
Families can create these sweet-smelling ornaments for Christmas and save them to use again as a Valentine’s Day gift.
- Chenille wires,
- pony beads,
- glue, and
Have each person thread one pony bead onto a chenille wire. Push the bead until it’s approximately 1 inch from the end. Then thread a cranberry onto the chenille wire until it meets the pony bead. Alternate pony beads and cranberries, leaving enough room to connect and twist the wire at the ends. Mold the chenille wire into a heart shape. Glue a ribbon bow to the heart’s bottom point. Tie a loop hanger made from ribbon at the top of the heart.
Have family members describe what love feels or looks like. Allow time. Say: God showed his love for us on Christmas when he sent his son, Jesus, into the world. Hang your sweet-smelling ornaments on the Christmas tree as a reminder of God’s love for us. Then save your ornament and give it to a friend on Valentine’s Day. Include a note with the heart to share God’s love with others.
8. Inheritance Ornaments
Families can begin an ornament-making tradition to decorate the Christmas trees of future generations.
- Red chenille wire,
- red and white tri-shaped pony beads, and
- resealable plastic bags.
Have each family member make two candy cane ornaments by stringing a white pony bead onto the end of the chenille wire and wrapping the wire around the end of the bead to secure it. Continue to string beads, two white and then two red, onto the wire until it’s full. Wrap the wire around the last bead to secure it. Form the beaded wire into a candy cane shape.
Have parents tell their kids Christmas traditions they’ve continued from their childhood. Say: These decorations can be the start of a new tradition for your family. Place two of the candy canes on your tree this Christmas. Then find a box at home for each child. Decorate and label each box, “(Child’s name’s) Christmas Ornaments.” Divide the remaining candy canes between the boxes and store them. Each year your family can create new ornaments-enough for your current tree as well as your children’s ornament boxes. When your children leave home someday, they can take their boxes of ornaments with them. Then they’ll have the same ornaments as the family tree.
9. Good News Garland
Families can spread the good news of Christmas to their neighbors with this simple craft.
- Plastic cling wrap,
- red and green ribbon,
- Christmas invitation, and
- hard Christmas candy.
Give each family 2 feet of plastic cling wrap. Place candies in a line lengthwise on the cling wrap about one inch apart. Carefully roll the cling wrap around the candies to create a 2-foot candy rope. Tie ribbons on both ends of the rope and between each piece of candy. Family members can share their favorite things about Christmas for each tie. Attach an invitation card to the garland that includes the time, date, and location of your Christmas Eve service.
Have families imagine and describe what it would be like to celebrate Christmas without knowing about Jesus.
Say: Christmas is a great time to invite your neighbors and friends to church. Use this Good News Garland to extend an invitation to our Christmas Eve service.
10. Christmas Giving Tree
Families can lend a helping hand and be a light in their community this Christmas.
- White construction paper,
- yellow construction paper circles,
- green tempera paint,
- paper plates,
- roll art paper, and
Pour green paint onto paper plates. Have families paint each others’ hands, then press them to white construction paper. As the paint dries, family members can brainstorm how they can be a light for Jesus in their communities or neighborhoods during the holidays. When the prints are dry, cut out each person’s handprint and arrange and glue all the prints on the roll paper to form one giant tree shape.
Ask families to share their ideas for being a light in their communities.
Say: This tree represents the hands of our church family. Hold up the yellow circles. During the holiday season you can light our community with the ideas you shared. When a family member does something to be a light for Jesus in the community, please write it on one of these “Christmas lights,” then attach it to our tree. This tree will be a visual reminder of how our families are impacting the community for Jesus this holiday season.
11. Naming God
Give families a new idea for decorating a second tree in their home that represents the names of God. Families can make their first ornament at your holiday celebration. Provide them with ideas to create and collect more ornaments at home.
- 6-inch wooden dowels,
- linen fabric,
- permanent markers,
- fabric glue,
- yarn, and
- photocopies of the Names of God reference sheet.
Have family members create an ornament for the name of God, Jehovah Nissi, which means “the Lord is my banner.” Fold one end of the cloth piece over the dowel and secure it with glue. Tie yarn at each end of the dowel for a hanger. Write “Jehovah Nissi: The Lord Is My Banner” at the top of the banner, then have each family member draw a symbol that represents God, such as a rock or a shepherd.
Say: The names of God in the Bible reveal God’s character. Take home this sheet to create more symbols that’ll remind your family of how great our God is.
Names of God
El Roi: The God Who Sees
Decoration: A mirror. Add family members’ names to the mirror to remind them that God is always watching and protecting them.
El Elyon: God Most High
Decoration: Dollhouse chairs (sold at local craft or hobby stores) painted gold to remind your family that God is King of the universe.
El Adonai: Master
Decoration: Go to the hardware store as a family and pick out a master key and remember that God holds the key to our hearts.
El Shaddai: God Almighty and Source of Comfort
Decoration: Have each family member make a small pillow. Remember that as our pillows bring us rest and comfort when we sleep, God always comforts us.
El Olam: Everlasting and Eternal God
Decoration: A soft pouch with a rock enclosed to remember that God is our solid foundation.
Jehovah: Never-Changing, Self-Existent One
Decoration: Glue blocks together that spell “I AM” and remember that God’s love is so big it has no beginning and no end.
Jehovah Rapha: God Who Heals
Decoration: Write the name of each family member on a bandage and tie them together with ribbon.
12. Sweet Angels
A host of heavenly angels can remind families to spread the good news of Jesus’ birth.
- Paper plates,
- plastic knives,
- sugar ice cream cones,
- small pretzels,
- Life Savers candies,
- doughnut holes,
- star-shaped sprinkles, and
- vanilla frosting.
Have each family member make a sweet angel by placing a sugar cone upside down on a plate and pressing a doughnut hole onto the tip. Cover the cone and doughnut hole with frosting. Frost and press the two pretzels to the cone for the angel’s wings. Use a Life Savers candy for the halo and sprinkles to decorate the body.
- How can we share the good news of Christmas with other people?
- Do you think the Christmas story is important to share? Why or why not?
Say: God sent a large group of angels to shout the wonderful news of Jesus’ birth. Use these sweet angels as a Christmas centerpiece to remind your family to share the good news of Christmas.
The combined creative talents of Patty Anderson, Courtney Branson, Kristy Coughlin, Kami Gilmour, Joanne Reho, and RoseAnne Sather contributed to this article.
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