1. Parenting

Tips for Throwing Festive Kids Christmas Parties

Caroling, crafting, trimming trees and other Christmas celebrations with kids

By

kids Christmas party, tips, planning, cookie exchange, ideas, activities, children, holidays

Christmas parties for kids can follow a theme, such as a cookie exchange.

Megan Cooley

To some people, the Christmas season means rushing around, frantically shopping and stressfully checking off a task list. Slow down! And remember what makes Christmas so magical: togetherness and tradition.

A kids' Christmas party will bring everyone together for a fun event and create lasting memories for the little ones.

Gingerbread House Making

Raise the roof … with a gingerbread house-making party.

For young children, pre-build small houses either out of gingerbread or graham crackers. The best “glue” to hold the walls together is royal icing.

Set out an array of candies and give each child a plastic sandwich bag filled with icing, tied off and with a small hole poked in one corner. Show them some basic ideas for decorating the houses, such as using shredded coconut as snow, and then let them create their masterpieces.

For favors, give kid-sized aprons or gingerbread-man cookies in cellophane bags.

If you have teenagers and want to kick this theme up a notch, have the kids design and bake their house parts ahead of time, and bring them to the party. Then, give everyone an hour to assemble and decorate their houses and invite some judges over to choose the best one. The teens’ creativity might surprise you.

Kids' Christmas Party Cookie Exchange

Cookie making is a fun Christmas tradition, but who has time to make more than two or three kinds? Cookie exchange to the rescue!

Ask guests to bring two dozen of the same type of cookie to the party, plus enough copies of the recipe for each attendee. Display the cookies on a table, with the recipe cards and the child’s name next to each tray.

Then, each child loads up an empty plate with two of each type of cookie. While making their way around the table, the children also should pick up a copy of each recipe. Set up a station where the kids can then decorate covers and bind the recipes into small cookbooks as a memento of the party.

Crafty Christmas

It wasn’t all that long ago that Christmas gifts were made, not purchased. Bring back the tradition by hosting a Christmas craft party.

You could focus your kids' Christmas party on ornaments only and set up three or so stations where the children can make different decorations for the tree. Or, have them undertake other crafty projects, such as making advent calendars.

Instead of making actual gifts, the kids also could make wrapping paper or Christmas cards at the party.

The crafts should be enough of a favor, but you could also send these creative kids home with a blank artist’s notebook and a set of Crayons or drawing pencils.

Party with a Purpose

It’s natural for kids to associate Christmas with receiving presents, but help them find the deeper meaning by reaching out to those who are less fortunate.

Throw a party with a purpose either by focusing on a charitable theme or simply asking guests to bring nonperishable food, winter coats or other donations to a regular Christmas bash.

You could decorate the main table with a large stack of canned goods shaped like a tree, trim a tree with scarves as garland or hang strings of mittens above every doorway.

A Caroling We Go

A night of Christmas caroling can be cold, but it sure warms the heart.

As guests arrive, hand out songbooks you’ve made with copies of some favorite carols and gather everyone around the piano or stereo to practice. If the party is for young children, stick to two or three short songs they can easily memorize.

Go over some safety guidelines before heading out, such as walking with a buddy and staying on the sidewalk.

Bundle up, hand everyone a candlestick and bobeche (older kids only) and then spread holiday cheer by singing door to door. Have the kids take turns presenting neighbors with a plate of cookies before moving onto the next house.

Someone should stay back at the house to make sure hot cider, hot cocoa and other warm treats await the carolers when they return.

Rock Around the Christmas Tree

Break from tradition with a Rock ‘n’ Roll kids' Christmas party.

Spray the kids’ hair with temporary red and green dye when they arrive (with parental permission, of course) and brand everyone with some press-on Christmas tattoos.

Push aside the couches, hang a disco ball and let the kids dance to holiday songs covered by pop bands. If you’re up for it, rent a karaoke machine.

When it comes to food, what rock star doesn’t love pizza? Tie yours to Christmas by making mini pizzas in holiday shapes. To do this, cut the dough with cookie cutters before adding the toppings. For favors, send everyone home with a music-themed tree ornament, such as an electric guitar or drum set, or a CD burned with some of the Christmas songs.

Polar Express P.J. Party

Whether it’s the book by Chris Van Allsburg or the movie starring Tom Hanks, The Polar Express is a beloved Christmas story.

On invitations made to look like train tickets, invite kids to come to your house dressed in pajamas. Serve hot chocolate (a nod to a particular scene from the story) and a train-shaped cake.

Read the book or show the movie, then send everyone home with a jingle bell, a reference to how the boy in The Polar Express finally believes Santa Claus is real.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.