The holiday season is HERE, guys! Can I get an amen?!
I don’t know very many moms who don’t love the holiday season; giving gifts to those they love, happy music on the radio, sappy, romantic movies on TV, and all the baked goods you can eat! The best part, though, is seeing the joy on your kids’ faces as you start (or continue) holiday traditions with them. Whether that tradition is driving around your neighborhood to look at all of the beautiful Christmas lights, baking cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, or the notorious Elf on the Shelf, it warms your heart to see their excitement leading up to Christmas.
My favorite tradition that I have started with my family is throwing a holiday party for kids. We invite all of their friends, play Christmas music, do an activity, and I fill their bellies with sugar just in time to send them back home to their parents! I’ve been doing our kids’ holiday party for a few years now, so there’s some things I’ve learned along the way.
1. Plan an activity that will take up the majority of the time the kids are there.
It’s even better if it’s something they can take home with them! This can be decorating cookies or gingerbread houses, creating their own “ugly sweaters” or making salt dough ornaments. You’ll want to have their activity station set up and ready for them when they arrive to make the decorating process easier. (I can promise you that you don’t want to bake cookies with a dozen kids running around your house!)
2. Plan out your food ahead of time, and base it on the time of day you’re throwing the party.
Don’t want to feed the kids a full meal? Throw the party in the afternoon so that all you’re on the hook for are snacks. I like to have the food tie in with the theme of the party. For a gingerbread house decorating party I made holiday cookies, gingerbread (wo)man brownies, and even made a signature gingerbread hot cocoa!
The best part of a party is when the kids walk in the door and see the home all decked out in Christmas decorations, hear Christmas music playing and see a fireplace glowing. If you’re like me and you don’t have a fireplace, don’t fret- Netflix has got your back! You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on this, typically the decorations you are already putting up for Christmas are enough.
4. Don’t forget about party favors!
Little things like holiday coloring books, hot cocoa packets, holiday lip balm, and holiday candy will fit the bill. The Target dollar spot will be your best friend when shopping for party favors!
5. Consider a Secret Santa gift exchange to really round out the holiday fun!
Make a list of all of the kids coming to your party (numbered 1 to however many kids are coming), and after a parent RSVPs, ask them to choose a number between 1 and that amount, and that’s who their child is Secret Santa for! After your main activity has been completed, ask the kids to sit in a circle, and one by one they will sit in the middle of the circle with their eyes closed while their Secret Santa brings their gift to them. Give each child one guess to who they think bought it for them, and at the end they can all tell who they were Secret Santa for!
(Note: I do recommend verifying with all of the parents that they are willing and interested in purchasing a gift for Secret Santa. Another option for this is to have each child bring a toy or book for charity!)
6. Have a an easy time-filler activity on hand.
Sometimes, I find that the kids finish activities quicker than I anticipate, and I’ll be left with extra time before their parents come back to pick them up. When that happens I suggest keeping coloring books and crayons on hand to keep them occupied.
7. This is the most important tip – HAVE FUN!
It can be easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of decorating, baking, prepping gingerbread houses and making hot cocoa, but don’t forget that you want to remember this day too! Hand your camera off to someone else so that you can be in the pictures and fully enjoy the day that you worked so hard to create!
Just remember that a kids holiday party does not need to be perfect to be fun and memorable!
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