Advent Family Fun Night
This event is a chance for the entire community to come together to kick off the Advent season in a fun and memorable way. It is also a time for participants to think about how they can bless those around them.
Set up a series of stations with different activities, some designed to help participants celebrate Advent together and some designed to share with people who do not take part in the event (neighbors, shut-ins, etc.).
Feel free to modify the following ideas to better fit the needs of your community and even come up with some ideas of your own.
Plan this event as close to the beginning of Advent as possible.
Nativity photos: At this station, families or groups of friends can dress up to create a nativity picture. This is a lot of fun, and it creates a nice keepsake of the evening.
- Long pieces of fabric to wrap over participants’ clothes or simple costumes that can be put on over clothing
- Hay bales and a manger to set the scene
- A blue or black backdrop with stars painted on it
- Stuffed barnyard animals
Someone will need to serve as the photographer for the evening. After the event, be sure to get photos printed and distributed to those who had their picture taken! If your church is active on social media, you can share the pictures there as well.
Advent chain: Families can create a paper chain with Bible verses on each paper link to help them stay focused on Christ as they count down to Christmas Day.
- Strips of red and green paper (2 x 10 inches)
- Pens or markers
- A list of Bible verses, one for each day from the day of the event until Christmas Day (Check the Revised Common Lectionary for readings to fit the season)
- Staplers or tape
Instructions: Write each day’s Bible reference on a strip of paper, then staple or tape the first one into a loop. Feed the next day’s paper through the first loop and fasten the ends together to create the chain. Repeat until all of the strips are in the chain. Rip one loop off the chain each day of Advent. Read the Bible passage written on it as a family.
Operation Christmas Child: Samaritan’s Purse distributes Christmas gifts to children in need all over the world through its Operation Christmas Child program. Visit the Samaritan’s Purse website for details. If you collect shoe boxes and gift items ahead of time, you can have Advent Family Fun Night participants pack the boxes and get them ready to ship.
Christmas treats: Christmas treats are a fun way to share the love of Christ during Advent. Families can make treats at the event and then deliver them to a friend or neighbor. Here are a few ideas: chocolate-dipped pretzels, decorated Christmas cookies, and jars of Christmas tea mix.
Caroling: Singing Christmas carols is a wonderful way to end the evening. Consider driving everyone over to a local nursing home and caroling for the patients there.
[Sidebar] Christmas tea mix recipe
You’ll need one-pint Mason jars and a funnel to package the tea mix. You can dress up the jars by putting a piece of fabric under the ring of the lid.
1-1/3 cups Tang (orange-flavored powdered drink mix)
1/3 cup instant tea
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
Instructions: Mix together all the ingredients and pour them into a Mason jar. Be sure to include preparation directions on a label or tag: “Place one rounded teaspoon in a cup of hot water.”