The holidays bring laughter, joy, peace, and fun. With only a few weeks left of the year I decided to throw a party for our Youth Group at church. My budget was pretty tight but I came up with some ideas that were not only fun, but things that didn’t break the bank.
1. Food-Because I was planning a party for my Youth Group I took into consideration what they would really enjoy eating. I wanted to prepare a meal and bring it into the party but there were time constraints and after I added up the cost of the food I realized that ordering out was the way to go. The group consisted of 10 kids and 2 adults and if you’ve been around children for any amount of time you know how much they love pizza. I was able to find really good deals with Pizza Hut, Dominos, and Papa Johns Pizza. Most of the stores had holiday specials and I was able to order 3 large pizzas with drinks for less than I would have spent at the grocery store. If ordering out is still too expensive then you could make it a potluck. Kids really enjoy bringing in their own dishes and the parents usually don’t mind because the kids are happy to get themselves involved with the preparation and planning of the party. So not only is your wallet still in pretty good shape, you have help and a variety of foods to choose from.
2. Gift Exchange-Kids really enjoy giving presents to each other around the holidays. But I also know that it can be quite costly to purchase a gift for each person. So I decided to set a dollar limit to what the kids could purchase. I thought that $5.00 wouldn’t be too much to spend and considering all of the Dollar Stores in our area they would be able to find something affordable and nice. We decided to have a “gag” gift exchange. The only rule was the present had to be anonymous and it had to be a gift that could be used by both a boy or a girl. This was a hit because they weren’t even required to purchase a gift; I allowed them to wrap up something from their home and bring it in. Everyone walked away with a funny gift and the smiles on their faces when they unwrapped their present was priceless.
3. Location-When planning a party, finding a good location can be a challenge. Although I wanted our party to be in our home, our house isn’t set up in a way that would allow for enough room for the kids to run around and be free. When asking other adults if they would mind hosting the party, they too didn’t have enough room. But my guest list consisted of our church Youth Group, so we were able to use the fellowship hall at church. There was plenty of room and when messes were made it wasn’t hard to clean up.
4. Guest List-When I first decided to plan a party I wanted it to be only for our Youth Group. Their ages consisted of 6th grade through 12th. After a week of preparation I started to realize that there were also kids in my neighborhood that would enjoy coming so they were quickly added to my invitation list. Not only did they get to come and have a great time it was an awesome way to share the Gospel with those that didn’t know the Lord.
5. Games-Kids love to play games and adults love it too. I wanted to plan some games that were different than what they had played before. I went on the internet looking for ideas of unique games that the group would really have fun participating in.
a. The first game I found was a “Balloon Stuff and Act”. You form 2 teams and pick one person from each team to be the actor. Everyone on that team needs to stuff as many balloons in the actor’s clothes as they can. When all the balloons have been counted, a vote is taken and decided which actor looks the silliest. This works great for kids that are smaller in size. Once a winner is announced that person puts on a body building show for the group. The kids loved it.
b. Blindfold and Feed-The blindfold and feed game was a huge hit. Kids don’t really care if they get dirty. Actually my group found that messier was better. Every person picks a partner and the two of them wear blindfolds. They then compete against other couples to see who can feed their partner a banana. The first couple to feed one another wins. It was awesome to see how smooshy their little faces were when they finished.
c. Sticky Note Game-The Sticky Note game is probably the most economical of the games that I’ve mentioned. All you need are sticky notes, pens, and foreheads. Before the party write a person’s name or object on the sticky note. Pick one person at a time and place the sticky note on their forehead. They have to ask questions of the crowd that will only allow one word answers. For instance the person would have to ask questions such as “Am I a person”, “Am I an object” or “What color am I”? When they finally guess who or what they are they need to act it out, then a new person gets to guess.
d. Mitten Present-This game required a lot of skill and it was really fun watching the boys play. Divide kids into 2 teams; at the opposite end of the room set a table up that has a pile of already wrapped presents (they should be empty boxes) totaling 5 presents for each team. However, if you have a total of 20 kids you’ll need 20 presents because every person should have something to open. The kids should form two lines with the lead person of each team wearing a pair of mittens (gloves work but mittens are better). After counting down from three, the 2 kids that are wearing the mittens need to run to the table, pick a present, unwrap it completely, bring the present back to their line, take off their mittens, hand them to the next person in line, and then the game continues. Whichever team unwraps all their presents first, wins.
Implementing some or all of these things will be very helpful when trying to plan a party on a tight budget. When it was all said and done the total cost was $60.00. Before I threw this holiday party I didn’t have a clue on how to do it. I had given birthday parties for our children but this was completely different because of the age of the guests. But I will say that it was one of the best parties we’ve ever had. Everyone laughed and enjoyed themselves and at the end of the party, the kids didn’t want to go home. The holidays are about spending time with those that you care about; so eat, play, and have fun at your next party.