Christmas is the time of the year that we celebrate the Newborn King through hot cocoa, ugly sweaters, service projects, and crazy games. Here are 25 ideas that I’ve tested myself that you can use this Christmas season during youth group, special events, and other activities!
1. Saran Wrap Ball Game: Wrap candy and small prizes in layers of Saran Wrap. Form a circle and go around the circle, rolling dice. When a player rolls a double, they unwrap the Saran Wrap and get the next prize.
2. Hot Cocoa Bar: Set up a station of hot water with cocoa and apple cider packets. Include cinnamon sticks, peppermints/candy canes, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, marshmallows in fun shapes, whipped cream, pirouettes, and sprinkles!
3. Ugly Sweater Party: Take the classic ugly sweater party to the next level by having a station where students can make their own! Include: fabric markers, ribbon, stick-on bows, bells, felt Christmas shapes, and lots of hot glue.
4. Christmas Pajama Party: Host a movie night where students can wear footie pajamas and binge-watch some holiday classics. Invite students to bring Christmas cookies or other snacks!
5. White Elephant: To keep your gift exchange cheap for families, consider having students bring random things from around their house, their best gag gifts, or regift something from last year.
6. Gingerbread Houses: Make a station where students can create their own gingerbread house, or have a contest! Include items such as frosting, graham crackers, lots of candy, and pipe icing.
7. Christmas Cookie Decorating: You can use the same items as with the Gingerbread houses, except students can eat their art!
8. Christmas Photo Booth: This is your easiest photo booth you’ll ever create: collect Christmas hats, garland, ornaments, and anything else you might have on-hand to use in the booth. Students can take selfies or you can have a volunteer take Polaroids!
9. Christmas Cards: Have students create cards for all of your church staff, small group leaders, volunteers, or whoever they might be able to make an impact on. They can make their own, or you can supply the cards!
10. Salvation Army Red Kettle: Volunteer as a small group together to ring the kettle together and sing Christmas carols.
11. Progressive Dinner Party: Identify three host homes, and take students around for each piece of the meal: Appetizer, Main Course, and Dessert.
12. Reindeer Games: Divide the group into reindeer teams and host an evening of games with a grand prize.
13. Angel Tree: As a youth group, host a family for Angel Tree. Encourage teens to donate money and buy gifts together or divvy up gifts among the group.
14. Reindeer Hunting: Have a small group pile into a car, grab hot-chocolate from the gas station / Starbucks, and go around neighborhoods with Christmas lights. Together, count the amount of reindeer you see. Each year I try to break the record from the year before!
15. Elf on the Shelf: For each week of Advent, hide the elf around your youth ministry space. Award a prize for the person who finds it first each week.
16. Santa’s Beard: In this game, rub Vaseline all over the chin and cheeks of the willing participants. Give them a minute to place as many cotton balls on their face as possible. Person with most cotton balls wins!
17. Snowball Dodgeball: Host a dodgeball match, but with balled up paper!
18. Marshmallow Man: In this up-front game, give students a bag of mini marshmallows and one minute. Person who can stack the most three-marshmallow snowmen in a minute wins!
19. Reindeer Antlers: Place two to three minutes on the clock. Teams must blow up and tie balloons, then stuff them into a pair of panty hose, and then put the pantyhose on one player’s head. Team with the best-looking antlers wins.
20. Oh Christmas Tree: Give each player 36 Red or Green Solo Cups. First player to stack the 36 cups into a pyramid (Christmas tree) and put them back into a single stack wins.
21. Wrap Battles: Place five minutes on the clock. Give each team one roll of wrapping paper, tape, Christmas bows, and ribbon. Each team wraps one player, and the best-wrapped player’s team wins!
22. All Through the House: Hide cut-outs of Santa throughout your building or space. In teams, players relay to find a Santa, then come back to tag the next person their team. The team with the most or fastest time wins.
23. Trim the Tree: Give each player a bag of shatterproof Christmas Ornaments. Players race to get their ornaments on the tree by tossing them at the Christmas tree.
24. Fill the Stockings: Get teams of two, and give one person a Christmas stocking and the other ping pong balls. Have the players toss the ping pong balls into the stockings. Team with the most in their stocking in a minute wins! If the teams run out of ping pong balls, they can run around and grab them off the ground.
25. Bow Roll: Take a bunch of bows and take the stickers off the back. Scatter the bows on the ground. Have no more than two or three participants put their arms at their side (I recommend taping the arms down) and give them one minute to roll around on the ground, collecting bows. Person with the most bows stuck to them in a minute wins!