You will need at least two rooms available to you to make this work for your group and to keep the element of the surprise ending. Set up six Holiday Stations around the room. Each station will contain a challenge for the youth to complete before moving on to the next station. You will need at least one adult per station so they can sign each group's "Passport to Christmas" and send them on to the next station. This activity requires a lot of prep work, but be smart about it! The cookies that have made beforehand can be given to church leaders. Bring in your own gifts that need to be wrapped, and when you leave, you will have all your wrapping done. Just be sure to have the teens label each gift correctly! The Christmas cards can be given to a local nursing home. The caroling videos can be watched afterward for a fun time of fellowship. The homeless packages can (obviously) be given to a soup kitchen or shelter for Christmas Day. The mini trees can be given to your church staff or a nursing home as gifts. Nothing needs to be wasted! You also can put together a list of supplies beforehand and ask each teen to bring a few items that will be donated to different organizations. Below you will find a list of suggested stations, but be creative and add a few of your own to personalize this activity for your group.
After you have created each station, make a Passport to Christmas that will be given to each group. This will be the map for the adventure and a way to show they have completed each station. List every station on the passport and leave a spot for a signature, stamp or sticker to be placed when complete. If you have time, personalize each group's with a unique Scripture verse. Of course, leave a spot for them to create a team name. You will need one of these for each team.
Introduce this activity as a race. The team that completes each challenge first will be awarded the prize. Divide your group into teams of five. Send each group to a different station to begin the challenge; it won't work if they all start at Station 1. After the initial station, they will go on to each station in order until they get back to where their group started. When they are finished, they are to race to your second room with their completed passports and knock on the door to receive their prize.The Prize:
The prize is Jesus. Prior to your meeting, you will take time to create an environment of prayer. The teens should come racing in to find Jesus in a manger, pictures of Jesus, worship music playing softly and a place for them to pray. If you are able to have candles, soft lights or white Christmas lights, it will help establish an environment of peace before our King. This room should be a stark contrast to the craziness and chaos of the race they just left behind. The prize is that those who completed the race the fastest had the most time to spend with Jesus. When all groups are finished, immediately enter your time of worship.