What child doesn’t enjoy a birthday party? And whose birthday is more important than that of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Reaching children with the gospel involves meeting them on their level – speaking in terms they understand. By giving a fun and factual birthday party for Jesus, you can help children begin to understand the true meaning of Christmas.
- Who: Invite neighborhood children or your child’s classmates from school.
- When: Anytime in December before Christmas.
- Party invitations can be just a note inserted in a Christmas card.
- Ornament invitations — Children will enjoy making ornament invitations by cutting out a round piece of paper decorated with crayons, sequins, stickers or old cut-up Christmas cards. The party information can be written on the back.
- Candy cane invitations — Have the children cut white paper into a wide candy cane shape. Color in the red stripes and write party information on the alternating white stripes.
- Christmas trees, stockings or gingerbread people can also be cut out of colored paper and decorated by you or your child.
- Musical chairs — Place chairs in a circle with their backs facing in. Have one less chair than the number of people playing. Begin playing Christmas music and without watching the children, stop the music. Once the music stops each child finds a chair and sits down. The one left without a chair is out of the game. Remove one more chair and continue to play the game until there is one person left – the winner.
- Alternative: pile on musical chairs — Play the same way as the traditional game but instead of the child being out, they find a lap to sit on. Children pile higher and higher as chairs are removed. End the game before piles get dangerously high. Children love this unique twist to the game because nobody gets left out.
- Charades — Have the children act out parts of the Christmas story, or have them act out the symbols of the season (e.g. lighting a candle, wrapping a present, etc). Take turns pulling an act out of a hat with everyone guessing each item.
- Pin the candle on the cake — Place a large picture of a birthday cake on the wall. Write “HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS” on the cake and pass out pre-cut candles to the children. Have them write their names on the candles. Blindfold one child at a time and spin them around a couple of times. Make sure they are faces towards the cake and have them pin the candle on the cake. The child with the candle closest to the cake’s center is the winner.
- Musical presents — Before the party wrap a small present in ten or more layers of paper fastening each layer with masking tape. Sit the children in a circle and as you play Christmas music, have the children pass the gift along to the person on their left. When the music stops, the child holding the gift unwraps one layer. The child who unwraps the final layer of paper wins the gift.
- Alternative: Wrap a gift that can be shared (e.g. candy, stickers, etc). Then the person who unwraps the final layer can hand out a treat to each child.
- Ornament odyssey — Hide Christmas ornaments around the party area. Give each child a box or bag. Set a timer for five minutes. Have the children search for the hidden ornaments, placing the ones they find in their box. At the end of the game, the children can decorate a tree at the party or take their ornaments home to decorate their own tree.
- Alternative - Hide chocolate Christmas balls which they can take home in a goodie bag.
- Act out the Christmas story — Pick the children to be different characters and have props ready for them. Have them act out the story as you tell it simply in your own words, read it from the Bible or read it from a Christmas storybook.
- Watch the Christmas story on video — “The Nativity” by Hanna Barbera or Superbook’s Christmas videos are excellent choices. These can be rented from Christian bookstores.
Use an object lesson to present the gospel through the symbols of the season:
- A yellow star for God’s love
- A dark ornament for sin
- A red cross for Jesus’ death on the cross
- A snowflake for the clean life Jesus gives
- A green Christmas tree for growth
- Sing Christmas carols with the kids.
- You could have children bring a small gift — for a gift exchange or bring canned goods or a toy for a needy family in the area or for the food bank.
- Have a special kind of gift exchange — Each child thinks of something he or she would like to do for Jesus by helping another person. Examples could be helping to dry the dishes, lending a favorite toy to a brother or sister, sending a card to a shut-in etc. Help the children write the idea on a slip of paper and wrap it in a small box, which can then be given to the person for whom the special deed will be done.
- Birthday cake for Jesus — One idea is to make an angel food cake in a bundt pan. Then place a tall, fat candle inside the hole in the center of the cake. Light the candle and sing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to Jesus.
- Cupcakes with sprinkles and a green birthday candle in each. Place it on a red doily for serving OR arrange them in the shape of a Christmas tree on a large cookie sheet.
- Fun finger food — Cut the shapes of the symbols of the season out of slices of cheese, luncheon meats, bread etc. for the children to enjoy.
- Red or green jello - Put into 5 oz. Paper cups and refrigerate. Before serving, top with whipped cream.
Ending the party
- Have everyone pick a shepherd’s staff (candy cane) from your tree. Explain to them that the shepherds were the first to come visit the Baby Jesus. The candy canes so prominent in our holiday season were originally meant to be shepherds’ staffs. The colors of the candy cane have a biblical meaning. White stands for the holiness and purity of the Baby, red symbolizes the blood of Jesus shed for us in His death, and green pictures the new life we have in Christ.
- Include a kids’ tract with a goodie bag to give to the children as they leave. You can find kids’ tracts and other evangelistic tools for children here.
Photo Credit: Annie Spratt