Every December, I try to mix up my Youth Group nights for both Middle and High School with a few fun and a few meaningful youth group meetings/nights/activities. I have been crazy busy this year (I’m sure you can relate!) so I have simply listed below some ideas without the usual “Jenn Lists” of what you need, how to run the meeting etc. I think I have given enough info that you can take an idea and run with it, but if you need more info please let me know and I will be happy to share with you more info on a specific night/idea. I usually split up my December with a meaninful discussion night, a game night, a movie night, a christmas party night, an outing to a local christmas display, and also a mall scavenger hunt.
Meaningful Discussion Night
I have previously posted a meeting idea which I’ve used a few times before with both Middle & High School Ministries. I call it “The Precious Present” after the story that inspired the game/night idea. Here is a link to that post with full info.
This year, at the start of the season (actually before Thanksgiving for us but it’s still very relavent now) we had a meeting/discussion meeting on the Red Cup Controversy surrounding Starbucks and their seasonal cups. The link to my previous blogpost with full info on that is below.
We have also had nights where we just have simple sharing/discussions on what Chistmas means to them. Sharing their family traditions. Finding the Real meaning of Christmas, etc.
There are SO many wonderful Christmas movies but there are a few that I especially love for High School Youth Group teens.
Each year either I let them choose one which we haven’t seen in the past two years at least (so no one movie gets old). I usually hand out Candy Canes or Cookies instead of the usual Movie Night Popcorn.
My three favorites are:
The Christmas Shoes
(More serious….prepare to hand out tissues!) This movie (lifetime type) is actually inspired by that beautiful song “The Christmas Shoes” by Newsong, and stars Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams Paisley. It is a heartwarming movie (although sad) and is a really wonderful message about taking the time to celebrate Christmas with loved ones and not getting to wrapped up in the hecticness of the season. One man, who will do anything to succeed in business and has a future in sight for his family, misses the real meaning of Christmas until 1 little boy helps him to discover what matters most is not money or gifts, but love and family. Yes, you and your teens will be wiping tears away, but I promise they will all leave the room with Christmas in their hearts and a renewed spirit for the season!
Christmas with The Kranks
This is a comedy starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Tim Allen, & Dan Aykroyd. It has just the right amout of humor, ridiculousness, and heart! It’s about 10 years old so many of your teens have probably never seen or heard of it, although it is still very current. My teens have really enjoyed it in the past. A man and his wife decide to ‘skip’ Christmas this year. Their daughter is grown up will not be in town so the man decides to ‘save’ money and take his wife on a cruise instead. But, that isn’t quite how it works out. (I won’t spoil it for you). It ends with true Christmas spirit among the family and the neighborhood.
Deck The Halls
Another comedy, this one stars Matthew Broderick, Danny Devito, Kristen Davis, and Kristen Chenowith. This is also about 10 years old, but still very current. Especially with the Extreme Light Displays which are so popular now (multiple TV shows about them and many of our towns have families who decorate their homes in extreme ligths) this one is definitely teen friendly and current. It is the hilarious battle between 1 man who wants his home to be seen from space, his neighbor who is on a mission to make sure that doesn’t happen, and the wives and children who really just want their father’s to make special Christmas memories with them.
I have tons that I have used over the years. Usually a mix of Minute to Win It type games (you can find Christmas Versions online) and some others I have created on my own. I usually print out a list of “Christmas Elf Names” (you can find this online) and all the teens make a name tag to wear so we can refer to each other by that name during the game night. (Cookie Sparkly Toes, Sugarplum Stripey Socks, etc.) There are literally hundreds of games you can use. Here are a few of my tried and true ones…
Christmas Tree Decorating (Like a mummy wrap but with green crepe paper to be Christmas Trees. Use stickers to decorate etc.)
Candy Cane Pick Up (an actual Minute to Win It Christmas Game)
Rudolph The Red Nosed Relay (I have red noses and antlers and the teens push a christmas ornament down the hall with their red noses)
Christmas Candy Bible Verse Game (Each teen gets a piece of candy with one word on it. They must find others to create a phrase or bible verse like “For Unto Us A Child Is Born” etc.)
Finding The Christmas Spirit in the Christmas Shopping (Mall Scavenger Hunt)
I typically do this the first day of Christmas Break. I have the teens meet me in the mall at a designated place and once divided up into teams, each team gets 1 clue. They must figure out the store, then the specific item the clue/poem is referring to. Once they have found it, they take a cell photo and return to me. If the item is correct, they get their next clue. If it is incorrect, they must go back until they find the right one before getting their next clue. I find specifically CHRISTMAS things (nativity, Mary & Baby Jesus surrounded by roses, Angel, etc.) and I also find creative things (an Old Navy Baby Onesie that says “BE(lieve) THE HYPE” (tell me that doesn’t have Baby Jesus’ name written all over it!) and I have also used Teavana’s Rock Sugar (in a clear glass jar) as Frankencense (in my mind, they look the same!). I have 12 clues and the team who completes the challenge first all gets a starbucks beverage of their choice as a prize (Starbucks is in the middle of the mall so that is our home base for the hunt).
White Elephant Gift Exchange Game
If you haven’t been to a White Elephant Gift Exchange party yourself, it’s definitely a good time and very teen approved!!! I set a limit of $10-$15 and tell my teens to bring a wrapped gift that they are sure EVERYONE will want to steal. (that’s the whole fun of the game) We also have everyone bring a plate of Christmas Cookies and this is our annual Youth Group Christmas Party. I usually buy 3 gifts in case someone who attends has forgotten to bring one or couldn’t afford to get one. This way, all the teens in the room will get to take something home.
Christmas Display Outing
We have a church in town (Methodist) who puts on “Bethlehem Revisited” every year. 27 years later, THOUSANDS come every night to walk through this free display. You literally walk through the town of Bethlehem visiting all the merchants (all in character with historically accurate props etc.) and it ends with a beautiful living nativity where you can spend a few moments with the Holy Family and the new born king. I take my teens every year. Sometimes we go on a Youth Group night, sometimes we meet on a different night, but we always go.
You can also find some of the extreme light displays in your town and visit those.
Perhaps get some song sheets printed and do a group caroling walk through neighborhoods or in a specific location in your town.
I’m sure there are MANY things I am forgetting to include at the moment, but in an effort to get this out quickly (and with a full list of other things to be done before the day ends) this is where this post will end. If you need further info on anything, please feel free to email me!
May God Bless You & Your Ministry during this Christmas Season!!!