Celebrate the Holidays
With a Christmas Eve Dinner and Games
How do you celebrate Christmas Eve with the people you care about? Are you looking for some fresh ideas? Why not have dinner and games? Go to church together. Perhaps you would like to exchange gifts. You could sing Christmas Carols at home, or go Christmas caroling. Here are the details on how to pull off Christmas Eve parties that your loved ones will remember for decades.
Christmas Eve Menu
No party is complete without the proper mix of good food and friends. Plan your Christmas Eve dinner to include lots of healthy, colorful foods that will appeal to all ages. For your main course, you could have a simple, pre-cooked ham or turkey breast. However, you may also want to prepare a large chilled salmon with dill sauce, beef brisket with Hollandaise sauce, pork roast with chutney, or leg of lamb with mint jelly. Whichever meat you choose, make sure it can be served buffet style, at room temperature, so people can graze all evening.
For side dishes, you may want to have au gratin potatoes, a chilled pasta salad, a fruit salad, a green salad, a platter of raw vegetables, along with macaroni and cheese for the little ones.
Christmas Eve dessert can be as simple as a fruitcake and a selection of Christmas cookies. Or, you may want to serve an elaborate trifle.
For beverages, serve sparkling fruit juices, as well as any wine or cocktails the adults would like. The sparkling fruit juices will help the children feel as if they are drinking something special and out of the ordinary, too!
Decorate your table lavishly with holiday decorations. Surround the platter and bowls with fresh greenery. Scatter red and gold Christmas ornaments generously around the table. Tuck a peppermint stick here and there. With the colorful food you are serving, your buffet table will be gorgeous!
After dinner, however, you will need a few more ideas to make the evening memorable!
Christmas Eve Crafts
In addition to serving cookies for dessert, you may want to set up a cookie decorating station in your kitchen. Provide gingerbread men or plain sugar cookies in a variety of shapes, such as stars, bells and Christmas trees. Then, provide bowls of icing, sprinkles, chocolate chips and Red Hots so that everyone can decorate their own cookie to take home, or have for dessert. The kids will love this.
The children, and many adults, will also enjoy putting together a gingerbread house. Buy a kit at your local grocery store, kitchen store, or holiday shop. Set out all the items to assemble and decorate it, and watch your guests put it together.
Another fun holiday craft is providing a box of plain Christmas balls, some paint pens, and some holiday stickers. Let everyone decorate an ornament to take home, as a memento of your fun evening together.
For the youngest children, print out coloring pages with Christmas themes from your computer, or cut pages out of a Christmas coloring book. Provide crayons, and the younger set will have a great time coloring the pictures to keep or give away.
Christmas Eve Games
One way to keep people active on Christmas Eve is to play some games together. Many games that your family already may enjoy, such as charades, can be played on Christmas Eve. One holiday twist is to require that every phrase they act out must have a Christmas theme.
Christmas Pictionary is another game that your group could enjoy. Take index cards in advance and write out some Christmas phrases. Provide a pencil and large pad of paper. Divide your group into two teams. Someone from one team will pick a card and attempt to draw clues on the pad of paper. Their team will try to guess the Christmas phrase that is being drawn. After a few minutes, the other team will draw another phrase, and do the same thing. Avoid the easy, obvious words such as Christmas tree or ornament. Instead, use phrases such as "trip to Bethlehem," "Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center," "Macy's Department Store Windows," "Driving Around to See Christmas Lights." This game will create a lot of good natured laughter.
What should you do about gifts?
Christmas Eve Gifts
There are two ways you can exchange gifts at your holiday party. The first way is to ask everyone in advance to bring a gift to exchange. Then, they can simply draw names and give their gift to that person. Simple ... as long as the gifts are unisex.
Another fun way to exchange gifts is with a White Elephant exchange. Everyone brings a gift. Then, each person draws a number. The person who draws number #1 picks a gift from under the tree and unwraps it. The person who draws number #2 can either pick a gift from under the tree or they can steal #l's gift, whichever they choose. This continues until everyone has had a turn. If someone's gift is stolen, they can either choose another gift from under the tree, or they can steal someone else's. There is one rule about stealing however. No gift can be stolen more than twice. In other words, the third person to hold a gift gets to keep it. Many people love this game and really look forward to it.
Music is another way to make the evening special.
Is it a beautiful Christmas Eve, with weather that is chilly but pleasant? Print out the lyrics to five or six popular Christmas songs that many people in your group are familiar with. Then, head outside and go Christmas caroling at your neighbors' homes. It's a great way to celebrate the holiday together. Afterwards, head back to your house to warm up with a simmering pot of hot apple cider or hot chocolate. If it is too cold to go outside caroling, you can still enjoy singing together in your living room!
Christmas Eve Religious Services
Many churches have special Christmas Eve religious services. Times vary. The services can be held in the early evening, or there can be an 11:00 pm service that ends at midnight ... Christmas morning. You can plan your Christmas party to include these religious services. Either everyone can go to an early service together, and then head to your house afterwards for dinner and games, or everyone can start with a buffet and fun at your home and head to services around 10:30. People with sleepy children can go home, instead, if they prefer. If you decide to include religious services in your Christmas Eve party plans, be sure to let the guests know in advance so they can make their own plans accordingly.
For more holiday ideas, you may also want to read:
Order Plain Balls and Paint Pens
Let Your Guests Decorate Their Own Party Favor
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