Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Party Ideas

Am I the only one who's wheels are already turning about their class Christmas party? I looped up with half of my class, so I need to make sure that I do some different things this year for my kiddos... and I am trying (for the first time this year) to have a parent plan the party so that I can just sort of show-up. It worked out SO well for Halloween. The "party planner" did a fantastic job and the kids had a great time. I still want to have a few ideas in my back pocket, though, in case the Christmas party mom asks.

Here's what we did last year...

I'm pretty controlling routine when it comes to my parties. I like to run stations... a game, snack, craft, and maybe a coloring contest or something. We rotate every 15-minutes or so and I just flit from station to station to take pictures and talk with the kiddos. For Christmas, I do love to do a breakfast which we'll be doing again this year, even though we did it last year. Teaching in a school with over 80% free-and-reduced lunch, it's really important to me to give a good *meal* at my parties. One year when we did breakfast, one of my sweeties said, "Oh my goodness. Meat for breakfast! I can't believe we're having meat for breakfast!"... keep in mind this was a piece or two of bacon and maybe a sausage link. It both warmed my heart and made me so super sad all at the same time!Link
But, anyway, back to the party at hand...

We do a breakfast. Last year we had fruit, pancakes, bacon, and donuts.

We played a game where you had to get presents down a chimney. This was a totally on-the-fly-the-night-before idea that I threw together. I wrapped a box in red paper, drew bricks, and put garland around the top. I went to Dollar General and got little wrapped presents that were ornaments. Each kid had a gift bag with one color of presents inside and they had to throw the gifts down the chimney. They LOVED it! Whoever got the most gifts in the chimney got a prize... the prizes were left overs from our stockings... see the next picture!

I know a lot of people do gift exchanges, but instead of doing that, we do stockings. Each student makes a stocking (a paper stocking pattern, decorated and glued on the front of a brown lunch sack) and we hang them in front of our window. I send a note asking for donations of little items that we put in our stockings. Then, at the end of the Christmas party, we get to open our stockings! If you would be interested in a copy of my letter, let me know and, if there's a ton of interest, I'll make a generic one and post it later in the week!

A craft... last year I got these great paper tree lanterns on clearance from Oriental Trading. We used water color paints to make them at the party, the kids took them home that day, and there is a little clip inside that allows you to clip it on a light and hang from your tree!

And what party is complete without something totally ridiculous fun to eat (at about 3:08 when the bell is going to ring in 2 minutes and they can be crazy at home, right?!)? We always make edible trees! This is just an ice cream cone smothered in green tinted frosting, and then decorated with all sorts of candy!

So, what are your favorite Christmas Party activities? I will be doing the game that I shared at Halloween with the candy passing... if you missed that post, you can see it here.

I have made a new one for Christmas that will be available on The Teaching Oasis soon! This one's called "Naughty or Nice". If you leave a comment with a Christmas party game, craft, or other activity idea, I'll choose 4 winners at random to receive this game first before you can buy it later on this week!

That's it! I can't wait to hear your party ideas and maybe you found something useful from my ideas too! Remember to leave a comment with a party idea to be entered to win a copy of "Naughty of Nice"- a Christmas math party game!


  1. First off, I LOVE your blog - you have such great ideas! Thank you for sharing! I am also looping this year so I need new games too. One game my students love (and they get to move around to get some of the sugar/energy out) is a race to spell Happy Holidays. I spell Happy Holidays (one letter per tree) on die cut trees & laminate them. One set is on red trees, the other on green trees. I hide the trees all around the room. The class gets divided into two teams (red & green). The kids search for the trees & each team works together to try & spell Happy Holidays first. Another thing we do (can't remember where the idea came from) is play Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas. I have this written on a card, and I choose a student to turn his/her back. I show the card to one student. That student says "Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!" in a disguised voice (this is hilarious to hear the voices the kids come up with). The person who has his/her back turned guesses which student was speaking. Adults in the room can join in the fun too. And, another idea I have done in the past - I made a "reindeer hat" with a space for a card holder (this is made of paper - basically brown with eyes & antlers). One student wears the hat & a card with a holiday related picture is put in the card holder on the hat. The student has to ask questions (yes or no questions) about their picture until they figure out what the picture is. This is also a great tool to remind students what questions are, as so many times they are filled with stories instead of questions.

  2. Umm...I'm trying to think of an idea to share...but it sounds as if we are totally similar. I have done a stocking exchange for the last 3 years and last year I did a breakfast theme for my party, but one of my stations was a hot chocolate bar. So I brought in a big drink dispenser with hot water in it and then we mixed the hot chocolate and then let the kids add things to it like marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles, peppermint, chocolate chips, etc. it was a hit. I did a reindeer dash one year. I made antlers for the kids to wear, just one set per team (two teams) and then I had shoe boxes and they had to but their feet in the boxes and shuffle to make them stay on. It was a relay, so then they just gave the boxes and antlers to the next person in line. It was pretty fun.

  3. I have done a New Year's Eve party since we aren't allowed to do anything Christmas because of the different religions in the district. We have fun appetizers as our snacks (veggies, cheese/crackers) and we even count down to "midnight" It's a lot of fun!


  4. It's not really an original idea, but you could have the kids bring in their favorite board games (and encourage bringing in ones that are Christmas related) and they could all play their games and drink hot chocolate. Also, I have a few different versions of Christmas Charades.
    I also recently bought a game at Barnes and Noble. It's a Christmas Scavenger Hunt game. You could use some (or all) of the activities in that game. It's really cool! Good Luck!

  5. Love your breakfast idea! That is fabulous, I will definitely have to use that idea this year with my 4th graders. Also love the Christmas tree activity! Sorry no fun Christmas ideas to share here, but I am loving yours.

  6. We have a breakfast party too. I LOVE it and it gets the When is the party questions to END! I say...right now! :) I love your ideas and I also do a pin the nose on the santa game. Everything is felt. I made a giant felt santa face without a nose. Then I give each student a round pink santa nose (one with each student number)to "pin" on the felt face while blindfolded. It is a crowd pleasure for sure. It can be a rotation in your centers or you can do it whole group. I have a little prize for the winner from the dollar store.

  7. We do a cookie exchange where the kids bring in cookies to set up a cookie buffet. The kids get to decorate their bags and take home 4 cookies (although most of them hardly make it home!). We also make ornaments, celebrate St. Lucia day by making sweet rolls, and choose secret Advent buddies (I'm at a Catholic school). Great tree activity! I may need to incorporate that this year.. I do a Christmas Around the World unit like yours (although I like yours better!) so maybe when we stop in Germany we'll make Christmas tress! Thanks for the great ideas!

  8. I also do breakfast for my kiddos and then we watch The Polar Express. :) As for a fun Christmas activity, I like to read the Gingerbread Man (any version where he gets eaten will do), then while the kids are at lunch the G-man writes a letter asking the class to rewrite the story so he doesn't get eaten. One year, a student wrote that the G-man was going to use a jet ski to cross the river and outsmart the fox. The class loves it!

  9. This year we are going to go Christmas caroling at a local nursing home. We went right before Thanksgiving, and they asked us to please come back and sing down the halls. Then we'll go back to school & play games & eat & open presents. We also finish up our Christmas Around the World unit. I like your idea of a stocking for presents.

  10. I'm so proud of you for letting go and letting your parents take over. While a lot of my teacher-friends shutter at the thought of a holiday party - I love them. Like you said, it's my time to flit around, take pictures and just enjoy my kiddos.

    Wanted to throw out there that I've always been one of the room moms in my own kids' classrooms and love the breakfast idea!!!! The year I was "in charge" of the holiday breakfast in my son's class we did pancakes. I brought hubby with me and he was in chargeo of the pancake flipping. We made snowmen pancakes:

    *Three smaller pancakes
    *Whip cream for the "snow"
    *Two pieces of a Hershey's candy bar for the "hat"
    *chocolate chips for the eyes
    *licorice strands for the mouth
    *m & m's for the buttons.

    A huge hit and super easy!!!!!!

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  11. I would LOVE to know more about your holiday stocking idea!!

    Thanks for sharing!! Mine is SUPER low-key!! Pot Luck of lunch fruits, veggie tray, PBJ Sandwiches anything that fits ina crock pot ....milk. Pretty simple!!

    I always feel guilty about a small gift exchange with the world so tight w/ money right now. I would love to learn more about your stocking exchange and see if it fits something that we could do!!


  12. Great post full of awesome ideas! I do the ice cream cone tree decorating every year as well! The kids love it, though I don't love the mess that may or may not be created by it! Last year, we did a great relay as a game for our Christmas party. There were about six to seven wrapped presents. Teams stood on one end of the gym and a student desk was placed in the middle. On go, the first student on each team ran to the desk and placed the presents on top. They then slid on their tummy under the desk, picked up the presents again, and ran to the other side. Then they turned around and ran back, placing the presents on the desk, sliding underneath, retrieving the presents, running to the end, and passing the presents to the next person on their team. If they lose any gifts, they must stop and pick them up! The first team to finish wins! I hope that makes sense.
    We also did cookie decorating (and eating) as well, which is fun and easy. I had a student bring in two cookies per child and other students bring in toppings. Deliciously simple!
    One last idea I have used in the past is a spin on the twelve days of Christmas. Students have real stockings (stock up after Christmas) on our fireplace (fake of course). Each day, twelve days before Christmas, students, usually 2 per day, bring in a small treat (a piece of candy or a holiday eraser are two ideas), and put it in everyones stockings. I also did it on one day, and had a few extras hidden should someone forget. Then we had a little book to write, "On the first day of Christmas, my friend ____________ gave to me _____________." This was a good way to tie some writing into it. I hope all that makes sense. Thanks again!

    Ashley Knaffle

  13. I didn't slow down enough to read if someone suggested this, but we have a "gift swap" race. Wrap two "gifts" (boxes a little bigger than the size of a softball would fit inside of something like that). Students get in two equal lines (or one student has two turns) and pass the gift without touching it with their hands. They love, love, love this game! It's quick and easy with no mess! :)
    Merry Christmas!


    Stapler’s Strategies for Sizzlin' Second Graders!

  14. Pass the Wreath game...

    Divide students into two groups. Use a green or red hoola hoop or huge wreath. Students make a circle and hold hands with the hoola hoop held between two students. The groups race to see which group can pass the hoola hoop/wreath all the way around their circle while holding hands the entire time. :) Our students love this, too.

    Melly<>< (again!)

    Stapler’s Strategies for Sizzlin' Second Graders!

  15. Santa's Sack Race:

    This one requires an equal number of wrapped gifts placed in two "sacks" (pillowcases or Santa sacks you might have...). Students are divided into two groups. The groups race to see who can load/unload Santa's bag first. The first students run down with the empty pillow case. They load up all the gifts and run back. The next student goes down, unloads the gifts, and runs back. Third students loads the gifts again and on and on until each student has had a turn. Again, the line sits down when finished to win. We do this in the hallway during our school-wide AR's loads of fun and helps students run off energy! :)


    Stapler’s Strategies for Sizzlin' Second Graders!

  16. Mrs. Clause’s Spoon
    Students are divided into two groups. Each group gets a wooden spoon and a plastic egg. Students run down to a predetermined spot, run back, and pass the spoon and egg. Of course, if the egg is dropped the student has to start over from the beginning… another way to run off excess energy. This is simply a spoon race, but we tied ribbon around the spoon (red on one, green on the other) and used red and green eggs (from our Easter eggs) to make it Christmassy.

    Can you tell I love Christmas games?!?


    Stapler’s Strategies for Sizzlin' Second Graders!

  17. Hi Christina!
    I love the Chimney game and I know my class would love it too! I'll have to start on it soon! We made "Magic Reindeer Food" last year at our party using this recipe I set up a station with the supplies and a parent ran it for me. The kids loved it!
    Hope your party is a success!
    Erika 【ツ】
    Wild About 2nd Grade

  18. I want to be in your class!!!! :)
    Fun fun fun ideas!! One of my parents did a "decorate the snowman" race. The snowman and all of the "pieces" were made out of felt. The kids in that center were put into two teams. Each team had a dice. There was a code for building the snowman - 1 for a nose, 2 for eyes, etc. They got one roll. If they needed it for the snowman, they took it and ran across the room (4 ft, let's say) to decorate it. If not, they lost their turn and it went to the next player on the team. It was a hit!
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  19. Absolutely love your blog. This year I am using your Christmas Around the World Unit and adding a few other places to visit and turning it into a 10 day unit for the last two weeks of ELA plans. On the ninth day we will reach the North Pole and wear our pj's and watch the Polar Express. On the tenth day (which is a half day) we are going to have our Christmas Around the World party with games and foods from the different countries that we "visited" through our unit!

  20. Great ideas! I have done the Christmas tree ice cream cone in the past and they love it. We usually sing some songs. I found a great songbook on Second Grade Teacher's Club. I always give them a book that I ordered from Scholastic. I would love to do the book exchange but I don't think I would have many families send in books. I'm drawing a blank on what games we usually play. I only have 45 minutes for my party so it goes pretty quick.

    Swimming into Second

  21. Instead of a gift exchange we do a Mug Exchange. Each child brings in a holiday or winter themed mug filled with goodies. Some fill their mugs with candies, while others fill them with fun erasers, little toys, or novelty items. We play the "left right" game while sitting in a circle. If you google left right stories there are a ton! When the story is over each child gets to keep the mug in their hands. Then we watch a movie and enjoy hot chocolate in our brand new mugs!

  22. Love your Christmas party ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Our school doesn't do a Christmas party at all. But we do have a Christmas singing program in the middle of the afternoon that last week of school. So sometimes we throw in extra Christmasy activities on that day. As a matter of fact, it feels like from yesterday until Christmas EVERYTHING we do revolves around Christmas and we try as hard as we can to make it fit the curriculum or at least it makes me feel as if I'm teaching them something besides just "having fun!" (God Forbid!)
    So your Math Party Game sounds like it would fit right in. . . so put me in the drawin please!
    (And thank you!)

  24. I absolutely these ideas. I came across your blog over the summer, and it has encouraged me to create my own blog and things to use in the classroom. So excited for new ideas to use this year!

  25. Every year I wrap a couple of my favorite read aloud books, a bunch of times. Then we play a game called "Pass the gift" which is a take off Hot potato. When the music stops, they unwrap the gift. They keep passing until they unwrap the book, and of course they get to keep it :)

  26. We really don't do parties, but I try to throw in a little fun by making some sort of craft - usually from TLC. I also have played Holiday Bingo before.

  27. Always great ideas on this blog! ALWAYS!
    I used to be the room mom for about....oh....12 years! Now I'm on the other end of it! I told the teachers to sit back and enjoy their class-I'd take care of everything!
    Snowball Fight- 4 plastic spoons, a large bucket, and LOTS of cotton balls or marshmallows (snowball). Divide class into 2 teams (or more if you want the game to go faster!) Each team gets 2 spoons. Put a snowballStudents hold the spoon in one hand with the "scoop" part facing them. Gently pull the spoon down and try to FLIP the snowball into the bucket. WIsh I could draw a picture here!

    Cold weather race- 2 pairs of LARGE boots, 2 pairs of LARGE jeans, 2 LARGE shirts, 2 LARGE coats, 2 hats, 2 scarves, 2 pairs of gloves/mittens, 2 bags/suitcases to hold all the clothes!
    Students divide into teams. 1 person from each team races to the pile of clothes and starts putting them on. If they need help, the next person in line rushes in to help them. Then once they have everything on, they have to take it all off and pack it up for the next student. It is HYSTERICAL to watch them try to dress each other.

    Rudolph the White nose reindeer- Vaseline and cotton balls. In teams, students Vaseline their nose and stick as many cotton balls on as they can. Race to a designated spot and pull them all off. Race back to team, next persone goes. Team with most noses wins!
    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!

  28. Christmas is a big day for Christians.. they give special attention also needs to the Christmas cookies. Some festive drinks and cocktails will be a great way to keep the guests entertained. Drinks can also include wine and beer and perhaps peppermint martini to add a little fun to the party.
    Christmas Parties in Kent

  29. Christina,

    Love your Christmas party ideas. I'm thinking of doing the stocking thing instead of exchanging presents. Do you have any parent letters or printables for this activity? Thanks a bunch and great blog ;-)

    - Caroline Robinson

  30. Great ideas. Such activities do help to control so many children. It seems to me that being alone all of them are pretty calm. But when they are together it turns out to be a rather noisy disaster.=) I have some ideas here concerning children growing up:


  31. nice your Christmas party idea. i love play Christmas party game and enjoy all.

    Posted by WilliamMundy | Themed Christmas Party Ideas


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