Making The Most Of Holiday Craziness
"...and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:14 New International Version)
The angelic vocals filled the fields where shepherds kept an eye on their sheep. Oh fine! Easy for them to sing to the shepherds! I mean, what did the shepherds have to do but hang out and count sheep? Seems to me their lives were fairly peaceful already. If the angelic host came today and sang to youthworkers, their song would probably be more along these lines: "...peace on earth, but you better get your groove on because the holiday rush is stampeding your way. So think of something quick to keep those young people in the spirit of the season, keep the parents and the pastor happy, plus the church programs going. After the holidays are over you can have your rest!" (Luke 2:14 Youthworker Version)
So how can we make the most of our holiday craziness and still have peace on our part of the earth? Here are a few suggestions that might ward off an anxiety attack:
- Christmas Stockings. In November take pictures of your youth and have the kids fill out information cards. On the cards should be their name, age, photo, and inexpensive things they like or need - i.e. school supplies, candy, favorite CDs, junk foods, hair products, etc. Then have different people in the church pick a kid for a Christmas stocking. Only the name of the child should be on the stocking, not the name of the giver. Have extra goodies on hand so that no one is left out. Also, older students could make stockings for the younger children.
- Cookie Exchange. Send out a flyer to parents asking them to volunteer for a cookie exchange. Have each kid in your youth group bring a dozen homemade cookies to exchange (i.e., four kids in your youth group bring four dozen cookies). For larger groups, you could divide into smaller groups. Ask the parent also to provide the recipe for the cookies. Copy the recipes and put them into attractive "books." Each kid will go home with lots of special holiday cookies and a recipe book. This is a thoughtful "gift" for the parents as well since the holiday baking will be done!
- Angel Tree. Instead of having a Christmas gift-exchange party, why not give to needy children? "Angel Trees" are everywhere during the holiday season. Pick a few needy children's "tree" and have kids bring something on the wish list. Then have a Christmas Wrap Party where everyone helps wrap the gifts for the Angel Tree children.
- Holiday Scheduling. Have the kids write down on a large calendar the holiday events in which they are participating — such as school, community and/or civic programs. This way you can see what you are up against when planning your programming for the holiday season. Also, this is a way to see how, as a group, you can support each other by attending the events. Kids love having their youth pastor or friends from church show up at their performances. That's a gift in itself.
- Pencils Everyone! Write your "to do" list in pencil, because if you don't get it all done - erase! That's why God made erasers!
So, there you have it. These few suggestions might bring peace back into the season. Then, while sipping warm cider by the fireplace, you'll hear ringing clearly in your ears, "...and peace on earth to all youthworkers on whom his favor rests!" (Luke 2:14, Revised Youthworkers Version)