Christmas is just around the corner… Have you prepared for your youth Christmas Party yet? If you don’t get things moving well in advance, instead of enjoying the Christmas Vacation with the youth, you could end up being totally stressed and miss valuable opportunities to impact their lives and those of their friends and families.
So here’s a Youth Christmas Planning Checklist…
Form a Christmas Party planning committee
- Who needs to be involved in the planning for the Christmas Party? (i.e. parents, youth workers, youth, pastoral staff, others?)
- What are the roles in the planning and preparation for the Christmas Party and who will be responsible for each role?
Coordinate your Youth Christmas Party with the church as a whole
- How will the Christmas Party fit into the over all schedule of Church activities? Does it complement the Church Christmas theme or focus?
- Will there be duplication? Should some parts of the Christmas party be jointly organised?
- Will there be conflicts of manpower and facilities?
- Is your planned date for the Christmas Party on the overall church calendar?
- Who will you need to coordinate with? Will it be part of the overall church Christmas plan or separate?
Decide the Christmas Activities Schedule
- List the individual activities that will be part of your Youth Christmas program.
- What are the times and dates of each event?
- What is the venue or location for each event?
- How will the Christmas Party fit into the schedule?
Decide your Goal for the Christmas Party
- Purpose: What is the purpose for the Christmas party? Is it evangelistic? In appreciation? A simple celebration? To reach out to the community? To help the needy?
- Target group: Who is the target group for the Christmas Party? Who do you want to attend the Christmas Party? (age group, Christians / seekers, friends of youth, parents, youth workers, community, etc.)
- Brief Description: Write a clear description of the Christmas Party and its goals.
- Theme: What is the theme for the Christmas Party?
Plan the Details for the Christmas Party
- What is the official name of for the Christmas Party? Does the name clearly communicate the purpose and content?
- You should have already written down the date and time and venue for the Party. In addition you will want to add directions to the venue? Is there a map available? About how long will it take travel there? Is it difficult to find?
Tentative Christmas Party Program
- What activities will fill the time during the Christmas Party? OVER PLAN and have ALTERNATIVES. (e.g. Icebreakers, gift exchange, Bible study, Movies, Large Group Games, etc.) If you are using another venue, doing an on site inspection in advance will help you better prepare for Christmas games and activities. If there is a gift exchange, how will the exchange be coordinated?
Christmas Party Finances
- What’s the expected actual cost?
- What is the budget for the Youth Christmas Party?
- What is the cost to participants?
- If there is a Christmas gift exchange, what is the price range for the participant’s gifts?
- Are there sponsors / sources of supplies or food for the Christmas Party? Will parents or church members make contributions of Christmas goodies and food?
- Are there scholarships available?
- Does the cost change for early or late sign-ups?
- When is payment for the Christmas Party due?
Christmas Party Arrangements
- Reservation of Venue?
- Recruit Adult chaperones / volunteers for the Christmas Party – A good rule of thumb is to have one chaperon (parent/youth pastor/leader) for every eight youth that attend. (Some groups may require more or less supervision)
- Are there to be Special speakers / special items or programs utilizing outside people?
- Someone trained in first aid or medicine on site in case of an injury.
- What food will be available at the Christmas party? Meals and snacks should be designed to meet the needs of all attendees. Are there any special dietary requirements or restrictions?
- Are there any transportation requirements?
- Contact information for those responsible for major roles and duties?
- Address and contact of nearest medical emergency aid?
- What Rules will be enforced?
- Create an ‘Incident Report’ form for any injuries, accidents or security breaches that occur during the Christmas Party?
Christmas Events Publicity
- Promotional fliers
- Church Bulletin
- Church / youth Calendar or events
- Invitations – Your invitations should state the starting and ending time of your Christmas party and should mention the food you will be serving. And don’t forget to include directions to get to the venue, especially for first timers. You also will want to include any cost and indicate whether or not participants should bring a gift for a gift exchange and costing for such gifts.
- Sign-up form / Permission slips
- Postcards to invite friends
- Posters / Bulletin Boards
- Website / emails
- Local newspaper
Equipment and resources needed for the Christmas Party
- Are the tables and chairs available at the venue sufficient for participants and the food?
- Sound system? Upbeat Christmas Music?
- Special lighting?
- Special equipment?
- Materials and resources for games?
- Parking space? Drop off and pick-up point for parents?
- Requisition forms for supplies, Checkout / return out form for any equipment or supplies that are borrowed?
- Any time you get a group of youth together there is a possibility of accidents. They will happen. So be prepared for them.
- Christmas Party Attendee list – Name, contact number for parents, and permission slips if you are leaving the church premises. Keep the contact information together in a folder and available at all times in case of an emergency. Make a master copy and a standby copy.
- Sponsor list
- Emergency contacts
- Fire, medical, and police department numbers
- What is the name, address and phone number of the nearest hospital or urgent care facility? (This information should be included on your health form/parent release.). What is the most direct route from the venue?
- What are the venue management contacts?
- Prepare a Parent’s contact list.
- Prepare a Volunteer list with assigned roles and contact numbers?
- What transportation arrangements are required. Contact numbers?
Christmas Party Volunteer Training
- Screen Volunteers
- Meet with volunteers as a group before party.
- List responsibilities and contact numbers for each volunteer including a ‘Chain of Command’ – who reports to whom, who makes final decisions?
- Make sure volunteers are clear on the rules.
- Familiarize volunteers with the layout of the venue – especially exits, potential problem areas or hazards.
- Assign people in your team to be responsible for cleaning up any spills/ broken glass as soon as it happens?
- Trouble shoot with volunteers. What things could happen during the party and how should the volunteers respond?
- Have people and vehicles on standby to travel with youth in case of emergency.
- Instruct volunteers in how to complete the ‘Incident Report’ form for any injuries, accidents or security breaches that occur during the Christmas Party and what information is needed. They need to get signatures of any eyewitnesses.
- Go through the entire Party schedule. What resources are needed for each item on the schedule and who is responsible to make sure they are ready?
- Volunteers must be flexible and ready to help out as needed.
The Day of the Christmas Party
- Set up the decorations according to your theme.
- Set up for games / activities
- Test the sound system and Christmas music
- Delivery and storage of food and supplies
- Identify key volunteers to participants, especially the medical person.
- Are floor surfaces clear of trip hazards and electrical cords?
- Are all security, staff and volunteers easily identified with either a uniform, t-shirt, ID badge or cap?
- Are Emergency/Fire exits clear of any obstructions and will they have adults monitoring them?
- Are there first-aid supplies, fire extinguishers? If so, where are they located?
- If you are going to have a gift exchange, have quite a few backups for those that forget or unexpected gifts. Try to insure that everyone gets a gift.
- Be sure to have someone take photos and video of the event. They make great Christmas Party souvenirs.
- Clean up – It’s important to leave the hall or building in the same shape as you found it.
- Involve everyone in this process.
After the Christmas Party
- Return rental or borrowed items
- Thank everyone who made the Christmas Party possible
- Meet with the Christmas Party planning committee and evaluate. Ask: What worked well? What could we have done differently? What did we learn from this process?
- Review any incident reports completed and see what steps can be taken to prevent similar incidents happening at future youth events.
- Complete and file a written event summary including any resources and suggestions for future planning of Christmas Parties.
- Send “thank you” cards to everyone who help in any way
This document is a guide only. It contains general information and is not intended to represent a comprehensive checklist. Have suggestions to add? Any words of wisdom? Please click on the comments link below and share with us your wisdom and experience in regards to organizing Christmas Parties for your youth!