Mormons, I need your help!

The Relief Society is in charge of the ward Christmas Party this year. I already have my decorating theme (Candy Canes! Everything will be red and white.) But I’m not really jazzed about any of the program/activity ideas that that we’ve been considering.  Have you been to any church Christmas parties that  you’ve really liked? Has any activity really stood out to you? Have you read about any ideas that seemed particularly cool? Please tell me!  Links are great too. These are the only requirements:

No Santa. I believe church should be the one Santa-free zone.

No Old-world christmas or Bethlehem-type themes. We’ve already started buying red and white decorations.

P.S. Non-Mormons, feel free to give me any ideas as well if you’ve been to some great church parties.

| Filed under Christmas, Church

22 thoughts on “Mormons, I need your help!

  1. My favorite one was where (almost) everyone had home-made hand bells (out of electrical pipe- you’d need someone with pitch to be able to make some, or borrow some, etc) and we all sang favorite carols and played along. It was a riot. It takes a few songs to warm everybody up, but it was super fun once we got going. And I’m NOT saying that because I’m a singer! EVERYONE said how much fun it was. You DO need someone who isn’t shy about leading the whole deal (I bet Mister would be great), and some research for which songs are real crowd pleasers. Call me if you need more details.
    Christmas parties just aren’t any fun without enough music!

  2. Stafford ward always does a “favorite things” night, were everyone brings one of their favorite things, under $5, for a gift exchange. You draw a name, that person explains why it’s their favorite thing, then draws a name to give their gift away too. It’s so fun learning a little more about everyone, and you get something fun to take home. They usually have a quick little program/Christmas thought beforehand with some musical numbers, while people are munching on snacks/desserts. I always look forward to it and the turnout is always good.

  3. Well, we do have Santa at our party but we have a breakfast/brunch (which seems to work out for the bazillion kids in our ward). Santa gives each of the kids a candy cane. We usually have a short program with musical numbers from the Primary (songs they know) and the R.S. (songs from our wreath making party) so nobody has to rehearse ahead of time (it’s a busy time of year!). We usually have materials for the kids to make cards for the missionaries (in the ward and serving from the ward). We keep the food pretty simple too (bagels, muffins, pastries, fruit, milk, juice). It’s pretty simple but always very fun.

    1. Im intersted in hearing about this Paper Bag Nativity….I’ve googled it and can’t find anything. Our ward party theme is The Nativity and we re looking for more ideas and activites. I look forward to hearing from you if you don’t mind sharing!

  4. A part that sticks out in my mind was a musical program. The stage had a light post with ribbon and greenery, and a platform. Singers would stroll across the stage or stand on the platform. There were story tellers, too. It was very Dickens!

  5. The best ward Christmas party I went to was one where the theme was Around the World or something, and there were tables of food representing different countries. So the Asia table had chow mein and egg rolls, the Mexican table had tacos, etc. I think it was a potluck. I’m not sure since it wasn’t my ward–it was my Mom’s, and she was in charge. (She’s a HUGE party planner, so you could always ask her. She did my entire wedding.) She also organized different ward members into musical numbers, so we could have a mixed program instead of listening to the primary, ha.

    Other than that… giving trees are always great and in the spirit of Christmas. It’s tricky with ward functions, since a lot of people are sticklers with participating. How big is your ward? Smaller wards = more awesome activities.

  6. I have a great Word document showing the 12 Gifts of Christmas. It’s a simple program where you have 12 kids each bring out a present while you introduce each gift. Each family then goes home with their own gift tags to do as a family for the 12 days of Christmas. I’ll email it to you if you’d like to look it over! (gift of: letters, music, sharing the gospel, warmth, food, time, charity, secret santa, service, knowledge, hope, Christ)
    kjrscott@yahoo.com

  7. I guess it depends on how much effort you want to put into it. The best parties have something to interest all age groups. The first year I was Activities Coordinator for our ward I had a ton of people involved. We used the Stake Center. In the different classrooms we had various Christmas crafts making stations for kids and youth. We also had some rooms that had been decorated with different holiday themes for people to view. (One room with nutcrackers, another with snow villages and one filled with nativities.). We also had a missionary room where people could write letters to the missionaries serving from our ward. Also, members could introduce their non-member guests to our ward missionaries. The gym was set up with tables covered with paper and markers so kids (adults) could doodle while they visited and snacked on the pot luck desserts. The tables were decorated with our service project. (We bought 13 twelve inch trees and had ward members take them home a few weeks before to decorate. Then they brought them to the party for the table top decor. After the party we gave all the trees to the local nursing home.)
    We had a brief talent show by the youth and an ugly sweater contest. A few carols were sung at the end.

    The following year we went much simpler with a country Christmas theme. We rented a barn in town and had a chili pot luck dinner. We had a few crafts for the kids to do and a D.J. We had a barn dance and there was a big playscape outside for the kids. There wasn’t a formal program. Just a relaxed and fun Christmas party.

    I personally like parties away from the church building–especially outside.
    You mentioned a candy cane theme, you could ask members ahead of time to dress in red or white.
    The most important thing to remember is that RS is planning the ward party. Not doing all the work. Be sure to assign tasks to members from all the other organizations, too.

    Good luck, Hildie!

  8. I’ve never commented, but really enjoy your blog and figured since you asked, I’ll add my opinion. Like most people, I have strong opinions about what makes a great church party, and at Christmas time, I think simpler and less decadent is better.
    I am a huge fan of a Christmas brunch because it’s relaxing, low-key, and doesn’t tie up an evening. We have some members who prefer not to drive at night or in bad weather (I’m in MA), so this helps, too. The years I organized this we had brunch from 9-11 a.m., with music playing in the background (sometimes a pianist, sometimes a CD). Brunch was clementines, wassail, homemade baked goods, juice, etc. The ym/yw had constructed graham cracker houses in advance (yikes!), so those were ready to be decorated. Kids and grown-ups loved decorating, and we had arranged for those to be delivered when the youth went caroling at another activity. Yes, some people complained that they missed their over-the-top dinner and that there was no Santa (blech, not a fan), but most people appreciated a chance to talk with each other, offer a small service and enjoy a relatively healthy and quiet Christmas spirit.

  9. Ornament exchange – everyone brings a wrapped ornament. Everyone picks a random box to take home. Everyone ends up with a lovely ornament for their tree.

    Photos – supply silly Christmas headbands, red and green boas, red white and green glasses, silly scarves and hats, a big white beard, maybe some elf and santa hats, have someone paint pretty holiday themed background on large paper and let people dress up and pose for a silly picture.

  10. I was thinking lately that Christmas would be a great time to have a talent show, because people seem to be braver about singing Christmas carols. There are so many fun songs and even spiritual ones that aren’t appropriate for sacrament meeting. Good luck!

    Love your blog!

  11. Not to toot my own horn, but the most fun Christmas party I’ve ever been to was the Gingerbread House party I was in charge of when I was the activity committe chair. I was so sick of the usual ham dinner, Christmas carols by the primary, Santa visit thing. So I found a local bakery who would make the gingerbread for us. They were big pieces, about 9 x 12″, and they made around 10 sets for us, baked nice and hard, about 1/2″ thick. We had people volunteer to make house icing and deliver it ahead of time in baggies. And then we bought 10 sets of various candies and put them on each table. Then we had a soup/salad/breadsticks dinner, someone read the nativity from Luke, and we made gingerbread houses! It was a blast! EAch table came up with a plan (we had butcher paper on the tables for drawing up plans). We spent about 45 minutes making them, then we had a panel of judges. We gave out awards for various categories, and took pics. It was so much fun, and so participatory, as opposed to the sit there and try to keep your kids quiet while someone sings or does a skit type party. Honestly, it was sooo fun, and very little work. People raved about it for months afterward.

  12. Service! Have kids decorate stockings or dollar store wreaths and christmas trees for nursing homes, have silly games as well like elf on a shelf olympics. Teens can write to soldiers, and/or youth in places where other youth may not have the support of many members. Then some minute to win it games. Adults who arent occupied with those two can wrap gift baskets for nursing home recipients or homeless shelters. The simplest of things are so appreciated by each of these populations. Corny Christmas joke contest from the EQ? Simple food like hot chocolate bar and appetizers. I echo that the RS should not be in charge of this, its just another example of Men still believing in Santa to pull off Christmas.

    1. What church auxillary isn’t busy? How is the RS so busy that they can’t plan and carry out a Christmas party? They have a WHOLE WARD OF WOMEN to get the job done if they choose to do it all themselves. OR, they can plan it and then delegate, delegate, delegate! RS activities only need to happen once a quarter, in reality, so the ward Christmas party could be considered one of them if they choose. It’s not like they are planning General Conference! It’s a PARTY!

      1. Well, This is the one time a year when we are in charge of feeding dinner to the entire ward. Plus we’ve got to decorate nicely and that adds a whole other layer of stress. While we do have a pretty large committee, we end up having to cook a lot of food in order to be able to afford a nice dinner. So there are a lot of small details that add up to a bunch of things.

        Our ward has quite a large number of needy people as well, so we’re trying to coordinated and pull off a giving tree at the same time as the party. It’s totally do-able but when you’re in charge of basically everything Christmas-related for the entire ward, it can be a bit much.

  13. I’m curious what you wound up deciding on ?
    I’m in charge of ours next week and am hating that there is no $ for decor. Any thoughts? How will you decorate?

    1. The party is on friday and we will be doing a peppermint-themed party. The decor consists of white strings of lights (we borrowed as many as we could find and ended up with about 30 strands) with little strips of tulle tied here and there (somebody found the idea on pinterest. I haven’t seen it yet.) We’re also doing red and white striped tissue paper poms. They’re pretty cheap and a lot of bang for the buck. We’re using red and white tablecloths with certerpieces of boxes wrapped in striped wrapping paper. I’ll do a post next week so everyone can see. It’s really hard to find good ideas for ward parties.

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