If you have younger children, and friends with kids, this party idea might be an easy way for you to organize a memorable Christmas get together that requires very little in the way of planning or money. This idea could also be used as a way to reach out to your neighbors at Christmastime.
WHEN: Some night a couple of days before Christmas. I’d suggest a starting time of 6 or 7 p.m. so that it’s clear you aren’t providing dinner for everyone.
WHAT TO WEAR: Tell your adult guests to dress super-casual and even suggest bringing their kids already dressed in their pajamas. You might also suggest the children bring a favorite blanket and pillow to be extra comfy!
WHAT TO BRING: Tell each family to bring a favorite Christmas children’s story, perhaps something their family likes to read together each year. To clarify what you’re asking for, provide a short list of possible stories (e.g. The Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Legend of the Three Trees) and include the name of the story you will be reading to help avoid duplicates.
FOOD/DRINKS: Provide hot chocolate, milk and cookies.
ATMOSPHERE: Have piles of cozy blankets and pillows available so that everyone is as comfortable as possible. If you have a fireplace, light it up, or light candles for a warm glow. Put a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, and water on the stove to help fill the house with a “Christmas-y” scent. Put instrumental Christmas music on very low in the background. (Not so loud that it interferes with the story telling!)
WHAT HAPPENS: As people arrive have them get hot chocolate and cookies and sit down in the living room. Start the evening by reading out-loud the Christmas story you’ve chose to share. Then invite the other families, one by one, to share their Christmas books. If there is a shyness issue, offer to read their book to the group for them. After the last story has been shared suggest that everyone pile into their cars and drive around to look at the lights! People can then just drive themselves home as they like.
EVANGELISM: If you have friends and families coming to your gathering that don’t know the Lord, consider sharing your testimony at the end of all the stories before going out to see the lights. Or, provide a little gift basket for each family that contains some Christmas cookies and a gospel message, and give them out just as everyone is getting into their cars.