The Christmas season started early for me this year.
I’m writing this well before Thanksgiving, and you’ll already catch me listening to the glory that is Christmas music. I’ve even dropped my top 7 Christmas songs at the end of this post so you can jam out with me.
Even if you (unlike me) might not be ready to put up the tree just yet, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about your youth ministry Christmas celebration.
Whether your youth ministry is able to meet in person right now or your whole ministry is online, here are five fun digital ideas on how to enjoy Christmas together as a student ministry or even just as a small group.
Host a Christmas Gameshow
Put on your cheesiest Christmas suit and grab the skinniest fake microphone you can find and host a Christmas Gameshow with your group. Most likely you’d be looking at some sort of Christmas trivia game with a mix of questions about Christmas movies, songs, traditions, etc. Of course, this wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without prizes. A few of them should be real prizes, but this would be a great chance to give out some ridiculous prizes too.
The high-tech version of this would be using something like Kahoot (not free, but there are non-profit discounts) and host the game over Instagram Live or something like Zoom. Kahoot has games already put together or you can build your own. It allows students to cast their answers on their smartphones or computer and does all the tracking automatically. It’s a blast and pretty easy to use.
The low-tech version of this is quite simple too. Host the gameshow on Zoom, read the questions to the group (or share your screen and have a simple PowerPoint with the questions on it), and the first person to answer it right in the chat gets a point. Easy peasy.
Christmas Movie Watch Parties
Christmas movies are amazing. Well, except for Hallmark Christmas movies which are somehow an entire GENRE now and not just describing a seasonal holiday movie on a specific channel. (Deep breaths, Brett. Deep breaths.) Sorry, I’ll save that for my other blog.
Online watch parties are no secret at this point. There are a bunch of options on how to host them. Just google “online watch party” and you’ll get a bunch of hits and how to’s. Christmas is the PERFECT time of year to schedule one or three of these mamajamas.
Not sure what movies to watch together? Do some social media or groupme polls with your students and let them pick. Stay until the end and I’ll share a few of my favorite Christmas movies with you too. (No, I didn’t write this blog as an excuse to share my favorite Christmas things.)
This might be something you want to test out with some staff or volunteers to figure out any glitches and see which platform works best for you.
Christmas Cookie Competition
Everyone loves Christmas cookies. Not everyone is good at making them look great, but it’s still fun to try! Have the video chat last the entirety of the baking process or ask your students to have their cookies finished by a certain time when the competition begins and just share the final project. Set up an online poll where students can cast their vote for their favorite cookies or post them to social media and have them vote by likes. They may not be able to judge on taste, but you can have categories like “Best Overall,” “Most Christmassy,” “Worst Looking, but Probably Best Tasting,” etc. that they can vote for. Give the winner a cookie blanket or something.
Christmas Decoration Contest
This one is pretty straightforward. Challenge your students to decorate their rooms for Christmas. Host a Zoom and ask each student to share their Christmas room with you. Have students vote in similar ways to the cookie competition, and then give the winners weird prizes.
Christmas YouTube Video Watch Party
This one is about as simple as it gets . . . but who doesn’t love fun YouTube videos? Just have students send you their favorite Christmas YouTube video, choose the best (*cough* and appropriate *cough*) ones, and watch them together over Zoom or a platform where students can see each other laughing and share thoughts on the chat.
It may be best to collect the URLs to these videos beforehand.
So, as you plan for Christmas, even if you have some in-person programs you’re preparing for, adding a digital event or two for your whole ministry might go a long way. Or, these are great “online outing” options for your small groups to do together.
The Important Stuff… Brett’s Christmas Picks
Now . . . what I’m sure all of you have stuck around for . . . here are my favorite Christmas songs and Christmas Movies (specifically to watch in a ministry setting).
- Weezer: Christmas with Weezer (yes, the whole album)
- Bright Eyes: A Christmas Album (also, the whole album)
- Coldplay: “Christmas Lights”
- Relient K: Merry Christmas, Here’s to Many More
- Bing Crosby: “O Holy Night”
- The Shins: “Wonderful Christmastime”
- Bruce Springsteen: “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”
- A Christmas Story
- Home Alone
- Muppet Christmas Movies (There are three to choose from!)