Are you one of the moms who has vowed that THIS Christmas is going to be more peaceful, more fun, more meaningful, and less stressful? One of the best ways to celebrate the Christmas season is to make it a priority to have fun with your kids.
Is this the year you’re actually going to host a Christmas party? On my blog, Spaceships and Laser Beams, I specialize in parties. That means I know some terrific ideas to help you plan a great get together.
There’s no denying that once you’re in the midst of December, frenzy can become contagious if you haven’t thought through what your holiday priorities are. Usher more joy into your season by making a plan. Get yourself a little piece of quiet for just a few moments: close your eyes, take a deep breath—now daydream.
Remember some of your best Christmas memories. Next, think of what you wish Christmas could be. Find any ideas there that make you grin or give you the warm fuzzes?
You may have just found a theme for your holiday celebration!
Perhaps you’re one of the rare moms who have all of the time, energy and resources needed to single-handedly throw the most spectacular Christmas bash for a huge crowd? I’d like to meet you! Don’t make yourself crazy thinking of every glossy party picture you’ve ever seen; decide what is realistic for your life in the very present now and go from there. Whether you decide you can host a few cousins or a few dozen of the neighbors, your kids will enter into the joy you offer. The main points you’ll need to plan for are invitations, food, an activity and some type of party favor. Since your home is likely to already be decorated for the season that is one job to check-off the usual party to-do list.
Invitations are a great way to jump-start eager anticipation for a party. My preference is hand delivering or sending an invite via the postal service. There are lots of seasonal images to choose from: stars, snowmen, angels, nativity scene, candy canes, snowflakes, toy soldiers, candles, pine trees, or ornament shapes are just a few. Even the outside of the envelope can be a visual treat; you might want to have a star shape around the address or a few snowflakes decorating the front. There are lots of stickers and special stationery available nowadays. This is one of the jobs your kids might enjoy helping with. If you want to host a gift exchange, be sure to include that information on the invitation—and have a few extra gifts wrapped just in case, so no one feels left out on party day. If your activity entails getting messy or being outside, let them know so they can dress comfortably.
Decide how elaborate you want your menu to be. Do you want to offer a main course or only focus on a dessert table? There are tons of wonderful recipes and you probably have your own favorites. It’s a good idea to keep the food simple when planning for a kids’ gathering. Food items that can be pre-made allow you to focus on guests instead of standing at the stove.
A pot of simmering soup with an array of cheese and crackers would be a better choice than grilled cheese sandwiches, for example, unless you have someone else to (wo)man the stove! A dessert might be something as easy as strawberry ice cream with a hot fudge topping and a sprinkle of crushed peppermint candies accompanied by a candy cane shaped cookie. Don’t forget the holiday napkins!
The main focus of a kids’ Christmas party is the activity they will share. Here are just a few suggestions to prime your imagination:
1) SING-A-LONG: If you have the musical ability to accompany little voices, great! But there are Christmas CD sing-a-longs available. If your party guests are old enough to read, provide copies of the words. You can also make this a caroling party if you want to bundle up and visit neighbors or a shut-in.
2) COOKIE DECORATING: Bake or buy the cookies before the party. Set up several small bowls with a variety of frosting colors and fun sprinkles. You might allow each child to decorate a dozen. Be sure to have holiday treat bags or boxes so each guest can take their masterpieces home.
3) STORY TELLING: Whether you opt to read the Christmas story or a children’s holiday book, practice a bit beforehand. Is it a story you can have them act out? If so, a few suggestive costume pieces add a lot.
4) PLAY A GAME: The “I Wish” game is a fun one for Christmas. The first time around the circle of kids, ask each one what they wish for themselves at Christmas. The second time around, ask each one what they wish for someone else for Christmas (and why). As long as they are attentive, additional rounds can generate silly giggles, but some answers are pretty amazing.
5) SNOWMAN BUILDING CONTEST: Unless you provide paper components for an inside build, this idea only works when the weather is cooperative! Either way, have a variety of snowmen accoutrements ready for imaginative building.
If you are able, send little guests home with a holiday themed favor. It doesn’t have to be a big ticket item. If you have time, make ornaments with your own kids to give as party favors. Or, a cruise around your local dollar store is certain to produce a worthy offering.
One more thing: Remember to have a camera ready for those precious photo ops! You’re making special holiday memories for them and they’ll last a lifetime.
Merry Christmas, Mom!