We began with the Nativity story. I put all the pieces to our Little People Christmas Nativity Playset in a gift bag. Before beginning the story, I passed the bag around and instructed the kids to each pick out one piece without looking.
As I read through the story using a picture book, I pointed to the child holding that corresponding nativity piece and encouraged him/her to come to the front and place the piece in the stable.
Next, we played the Snowman Right to Left Game.
To Play:Instruct players to sit in a circle. Divide a larger group into smaller groups. (I divided our group into ELEMENTARY BOYS, ELEMENTARY GIRLS, and PRESCHOOLERS.) Give one person in each group a small wrapped prize. Read the Snowman Story. Every time the word RIGHT is said in the story, the prize is passed to the right. Every time the word LEFT is said, the prize is passed to the left. At the end of the story, whoever is holding the wrapped gift is the winner and can open and claim the prize.
Next came a gluten-free Christmas Rice Krispy treat with hot chocolate.
Our second game was Christmas Pictionary. I created one set of Pictionary cards for the preschoolers/non-readers and one for the elementary kids/readers. After dividing the group into two even teams and assigning Christmas carol names to the team, I invited each player to come to a white board and draw a one-minute masterpiece.
Here are the Pictionary cards. I color-coded them so that I could find a preschool-friendly one quickly. By having a simple picture suggestion, each of the preschoolers were able to draw well enough that teammates were able to accurately guess the answer.
- candy cane
- Christmas ball
- Christmas tree
- jingle bell
- gingerbread man
- baby Jesus in a manger
A large-crowd friendly craft came next. The Architect's wife purchased some simple chipboard cutouts, cut scrapbook paper to the same size as the chipboard, and gathered sponge brushes, glue, and ink pads.
The children painted glue on the back side of the chipboard pieces. They placed the top side of scrapbook paper onto the glue so that it showed through the cut-out window.
Use the ink pads to cover the top of the chipboard. Punch a hole in the chipboard and attach a piece of yarn to create a simple cardboard ornament.
Lastly, came the white elephant exchange. Each of the children brought a used toy that they no longer played with. They were instructed to only exchange gifts with someone of the same gender to ensure that everyone received an appropriate gift.
The Announcer's wife had created slips of paper detailing who each player was to exchange his/her gift with. She went around the room allowing each child to pick a slip and exchange his/her gift.
Some suggested gift-exchange instruction slips:
Trade gifts with...
- the person who has the longest hair
- the person to your right/left
- the person whose gift wrap has the most red on it
- the person with the smallest/biggest gift
- the person with the biggest smile
- a person wearing green/red
- the person whose birthday is closest to Christmas
For more Christmas party ideas, be sure to check out the 2011 Co-op Christmas Party.