We were able to host our family Christmas party this year which always a fun time. Usually the turn out is between 30-60 people, depending who can make it during this busy season. We hold the party at my grandmother’s retirement community’s party room.
Hosting a family party for that many people of so many different ages (6 months-91 years old!) requires a lot of different types of activities. This year we had a manager scene with our children, a hot chocolate bar, rely race games and a photo setup for pictures with “Gram”. We also had a cookie contest and exchange.
About once a decade we have a manager reenactment. Last time we did this was the year 2000; I was 15 and was one of the angels. This year is was exciting to see my children be a part of this beautiful tradition. My daughter was the angel that spoke to Mary and my son was one of the Wiseman. My aunt narrated the story and led us all in many beautiful Christmas songs that tell about our Savor’s birth. We had a backdrop against the wall (with the blue starry night and the empty stable (purchased from Oriental Trading). Then we picked up costumes of animals, kings, angels and old time cloth at second hand stores after Halloween when they had 50% off. Most clothing items were $1-3.
After we ate a beautiful feast of our “Childhood Favorite Dishes” we enjoyed a hot chocolate bar. We ordered festive hot travel mugs with lids (found ours at Oriental Trading). We made hot chocolate out of condensed milk (2x 14 oz cans), 2 cups chocolate chips, 1 Quart Whipping Cream and milk (we used almost a half gallon). This made a medium Crock pot full and about enough for 20 people. I suggest making one crock pot then refilling it if needed.
We used Christmas mugs for the toppings- everyone gets at least one new Christmas mug each year as a gift- so put them to good use. We had 3 kinds of marshmallows- small fruit flavored, regular small and large coconut covered. We had tiny red and green M&Ms and peppermint chips (found in the baking aisle). We also had crushed candy canes, red and green sprinkles and 2 bottles of spray whipped cream. This gave everyone a good variety of options to chose from. Word of experience- put this on the highest table possible so the little (and not so little kids) don’t snitch too many marshmallows.
The games were super fun! I wanted to have something that involved everyone of all ages. I made the games into 3 teams (Rudolph, Santa and Gingerbread girl). T0 divide the team I had everyone chose a painted clothes pin as they came in. Then when it was time, they divided up into teams. This mixed up the group a bit- so each team had adults, teens and kids. It was a rely race game to there were 3 “stations”. It was a close call to see who would win, all teams were pretty close.
The first group used pantyhose, either on there head or around there waist filled will jingle bells to knock over the stacked snowman cans. The next person in line had to rebuild each of the 4 snowman in their group, for the next person in line to go through and use their pantyhose to knock them over again. Once everyone in that group had gone- the next group can go.
Station two: each member in this group got 2-3 gigantic S’more Marshmallows to toss in painted containers. There was a line that they stood behind to toss. The goal is to get all of the team’s marshmallows in the bucket and they can work together. Once each member of the team goes and the marshmallows are in the cans, the final group can start.
The last station, each team member gets to unwrap a box with over mitts on. The box will have 5-6 smaller wrapped boxes inside (or however the most amount of people to be in each team will be). Each person will unwrap the present, then pass the box and oven mitts to the next person in there team. Once they get to the smallest box, there will be festive holiday candy inside (that way everyone gets a treat for playing- I am big on participation). The first team to complete all 3 games wins. I got $1 or less fancy or fun candies for each member of the winning team. I got these from Wal-Mart or the Dollar Tree. The games were fun, it was so cute to see my 91 year old grandmother and 4 year daughter unwrapping the gift with oven mitts on.
We had a cookie contest, where we had participants take a paper with a number on it, and write their names and type of cookie on the back. This way as people came to vote on the cookies, they voted by numbers and did not know who the cookies belonged to. We had ribbons (also found at Oriental Trading) for the Cutest, Best Decorated, Most Awesome, Best Gingerbread and over all Best Cookie. The biggest thing to consider for a cookie contest is if you re going to have awards for taste or not. We decided not to so everyone would have more cookies to take home. After ribbons (and “Winner Gifts”) were given out, everyone could come get their boxes and start by taking 1-2 of each cookie. They can always come back with another box if there are extra. We had a great time baking this year and my little daughter won Best Gingerbread cookie.
Lastly, we had a Family Photo set up. I chose not to use a tree or Christmas theme as the backdrop, in hopes that these are pictures we can cherish and enjoy all year long, not just at Christmas. Backdrop was purchased at… you guessed it, Oriental Trading. We used a plastic bench from our yard, covered it with a nice blanket and each family got pictures with “Gram”. It was a great way to get some pictures of everyone together.
For the favors, I used little boxes and stockings (got at the Dollar Store) and filled them up with themed candy, airplane gliders and Christmas tattoos (from Oriental Trading). I used boxes for adults and stockings for kids.
Overall, it was a good time, filled with plenty of fun the whole family. If only the weather would have cooperated- it snowed about 8 inches the night before and was freezing (a high of 3 degrees for the day). I am thankful to have had the opportunity to plan an event for my lovely family!