The Christmas season is, in large part, about celebration – the celebration of Jesus’ birth! But these celebrations are not meant to be kept to ourselves; the joy of the season is supposed to be shared with those around us. The following are ideas and suggestions meant to help you plan a time of celebrating and inviting others into that celebration! Each of the ideas below could be combined with sharing the Christmas story, singing carols, playing Christmas music, handing out Christmas tracts, playing games and hosting activities for children, and sharing yummy goodies!
Parties in your locality: Set up a photo booth at your home, in a park, in your parking lot! Have nativity-scene/Santa costumes, reindeer and elves ears etc., available. Encourage children and adults to put on the costumes and take a picture. You could email the pictures to them or print on the spot on your home colour printer. Pass out hot drinks and the Christmas story (or Christmas event invitations) in your local park during peoples’ evening walk timings.
Wear a nativity-scene/Santa costume, reindeer and elves ears etc. and go door-to-door in your neighbourhood/apartment complex singing carols and handing out Christmas goodies. Drop invites to Christmas events in letter boxes.
Have a costume contest, telling those you are inviting to come in a Christmas costume. Give prizes for the best costume. It could be characters from the Christmas story, Christmas objects (a present, Christmas tree, etc), or simply a festive outfit.
Serving others: Hand out old/new woolen clothing, shoes, blankets, food, household items, or toys to your domestic help, security guards, poor/homeless people, or a local orphanage. Your neighbours and colleagues may also like to participate.
Parties for women: Host a Christmas lunch or tea just for women - share recipes of Christmas goodies or your fond memories of Christmas. To make it more "Indian," you could also ask your guests to wear traditional attire from their part of the country, ask them to share what they know about how Christmas is celebrated in their part of the country, play Christian/Christmas music in regional languages.
Parties including kids: Host a Christmas cookie decorating party. Bake plain sugar cookies or other sweets of your choice and cut them in Christmas shapes. Make coloured frosting and buy toppings, then let the children decorate their own cookies. Add in a few games and a re-telling of the Christmas story and you’ll have a party the kids will love!
Have someone dress up as Santa and come out and pass out candy, then have the kids gather around Santa as he tells them the true meaning of the Christmas story. (A book that does this is called: Santaʼs Favorite Story and the text can be made available to you if you want it). You could also simply have “Santa” read a children’s Bible of the Christmas story or a Christmas children’s book.
For your home: Hang a Christmas wreath, a star, an ornament, or a banner that says "Joy to the World" or "Merry Christmas" on your front door, windows, or on your balcony or terrace; put up festive lights and leave them on all night! Pretty decorations and the warm glow from the lights on a cold winter night will warm many.
Keeping the focus on Jesus as the reason for the season: Ask one or two people to share their testimony of why Christmas is such a special and meaningful time for them as a Christian. Or, use this as a group activity and have each person share a small line about what Christmas means to them or what they are especially thankful for during Christmas.
Prepare a devotional that will help the group understand and be even more excited about why we as Christians celebrate Christmas. Some ideas are devotionals on: what is the “True Meaning of Christmas”; or the reason we give gifts (because God gave us the ultimate gift, Christ!); or on how Christ came to the shepherds (i.e., to sinners, to the humble and poor); or on why we talk so much about peace, joy and love at Christmas.
Read the Christmas narrative (or divide it up and have people read different portions) at the end of your time. Have the lights off and light candles or turn on fairy lights at the end and sing one of your favourite Christmas hymns.
Have someone (or the kids of your group) prepare to act out the Christmas story while you read it from Luke 2.
Another idea for kids: print out the nativity characters (one set for each child) and allow them to colour and decorate them. Attach the characters to ice cream sticks to make puppets. You could also allow the kids to act of the Christmas story with their puppets.
Christmas Gift Ideas: Make Christmas gifts to send home with guests that you invited to the Christmas party. Ideas of what they might include are: a piece (or pieces) of Christmas cake; a small Christmas ornament; a mug with a recipe for a warm drink; a print out summary of the true meaning of Christmas; a Bible; CDs of your favourite Christmas music; tea light candles; bookmark with a verse; coffee sachet; cake; cookies; doughnuts; red and white peppermint candy; paper wreaths; or poinsettia plants. It doesn’t have to include all these things, these are just some ideas.
These are just some ideas collected from our ladies involved in DBF's Women's Ministry at Gurgaon Church. What are your favourite ideas for sharing the reason for the season with your family and community?