Carols. Candy canes. The ward Christmas party. These signs of the season are just about to arrive. Since wards no longer have formal activities committees, the coordinators of this annual event will vary from ward to ward, but the following tips will help anyone host an unforgettable Christmas bash.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The holiday season is full of neighborhood and work get-togethers, so how do you find the perfect day for your ward family’s celebration? Earlier in the month may be more convenient since families are still in town and kids are still in school. Plus, not stressing about the details of the ward party later in the season leaves you time to enjoy it, too. Weekend evenings or Saturday mornings work well, but coordinating with the young men and women leaders to host the party on a mutual night lets you accomplish two purposes in one evening.
Deck the Cultural Hall
Don’t let finding decorations for your party seem like a chore. Instead of spending time and money assembling brand new centerpieces, borrow holiday decorations from a few ward members. Maybe someone has a collection of holiday tins to display or those spare ornaments and bells would look great presented in a jar. Edible accents for centerpieces like red and green M&M’s are always a hit—and they practically clean themselves up!
To make the decorations more interactive, hold a decorating contest. Get each table the same centerpiece—like a small Christmas tree or a box to be gift-wrapped—and tell guests to come prepared to decorate for their dinner. Award extra points for arriving on-time, and have the bishopric or a ward-decorating expert select the best of the bunch. The winning table gets to go through the buffet line first.
Décor could also center around the theme of your party, if you choose to include one. To stage your own Christmas in Bethlehem, for example, set up booths like a street market and create your own manger.
Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding
Although the party is more about fun and friendship than food and flavor, you’ll want to include treats or a meal in the festivities. For a variation on traditional holiday fare, host a Christmas potluck. Ask ward members to bring a dish that signifies the holiday season at their home. Have people sign up to bring either an appetizer, a salad, a entrée, or a dessert so all tastes are satisfied. All you need to prepare is a buffet table for all the goodies and a seasonal beverage to complement the food—anything from cider and hot chocolate to eggnog and milk.
Have Yourself a Merry Christmas Party
Adequate time for socializing is a must, but entertaining activities will make your party memorable. Outgoing wards might enjoy a Christmas relay race, but others would be happier with a simple Christmas talent show. If you combine your Christmas party with a New Year’s celebration, you can commemorate the big events of the past year—families that have moved in, memorable ward activities, and Scout or Young Women service projects—with a photo slide show that plays all night or at the beginning or end of the festivities.
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Don’t forget to have a spiritual element to the celebration. Singing carols is a simple standby, but if you want a different activity, reading a brief but uplifting story can highlight the purposes of Christmas in a new way. Incorporate service by assembling hygiene kits or care packages. Set up a table where people can write brief notes to missionaries. And instead of anticipating the visit from Santa, primary children can draw what they would leave for Christ at the manger.
For more ward Christmas party ideas, visit our list in "The Annual Ward Christmas Party."