The holidays are basically oversaturated with opportunities for kids to eat wayyy too much sugar and run around like tiny crazy people. Perhaps this year you’re feeling the festivities, or maybe you’ve been binging on Pinterest before going to bed, but let’s say you’ve
probably lost your mind decided to host a holiday party for your littles and their friends. But where can you get kid-friendly holiday party ideas that also include low effort? We’re here to help with 2 creative kids holiday party ideas, including Hanukkah and Christmas party activities, that involve minimal effort!
Hanukkah AND Christmas Party Activities
We’re all about inclusive holidays since most of our friends celebrate a range of them each December. Or if you celebrate Christmas a little less traditionally, learn how to not do Santa.
But no matter what holiday kids are celebrating, one thing is close to universal:
Pretty much every kid loves making a mess. Add eating sugar to that mess-making, and you have a recipe for kid success!
That’s why our very favorite kids holiday party idea is a gingerbread decorating party!
Gingerbread parties are a fun way for kids to celebrate the holiday season because:
- They are inclusive (you can include both red and green frosting for Christmas AND blue and white for Hanukkah)
- You can do basically ALL the prep work before the hoard of children arrive
- Decorating gives kids a hands-on activity that will keep them busy and entertained
Easy Tips for Hosting a Gingerbread Party
We want your holiday party for kids to be as simple as possible–a tall order when you’re inviting over a house full of kids.
Here’s everything you need to know to plan a rockin’, SIMPLE gingerbread decorating party!
Have your child help you cut out gingerbread men invitations from brown construction paper. Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can order them from Amazon.
On the invitation, request that parents bring an old t-shirt for their child to wear. These oversized shirts will save the kids’ adorable outfits (and your furniture) from a thick coat of frosting.
If you’re the baking type (more power to you), premake all of the gingerbread men (or houses, if you’re fancy!). If you’re not the baking type (we feel you), order what you need! This kit comes with four pre-made houses.
Gather what you need from the store/around your home:
- Cover your table/workspace with brown parchment paper, and set out some crayons so kids can color on it when they are waiting to decorate or waiting on an icing color they need.
- Order cute gingerbread disposable plates, napkins, and cups.
Use muffin tins to hold decorating items such as, gumdrops, sprinkles, crushed peppermint, cinnamon drops, etc. (Be aware of the age group you’re targeting, as small candy pieces can be a choking hazard for little ones.) We like using muffin tins to hold decorations because this means you’re only putting out small amounts of candy at a time, which means less eating of the candy and more decorating (hopefully).
Set out bowls of colored icing around the table.
Make sure each child wears the t-shirt you mentioned in the invitation and takes it off after decorating.
Have some treats set out for kids besides the gingerbread cookies like:
- small sandwiches (you can use a gingerbread cookie cutter to make adorable gingerbread sandwiches),
- Juice boxes,
- Veggies with ranch for dipping,
Unique Kids Christmas Party: A Reading Party!
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that most little kids love a good book (who am I kidding, I do, too. If you didn’t get the joke, do us a favor. Stop reading and go read Pride and Prejudice. We’ll wait.)
How about a holiday party that involves reading?? Sounds fun to us!
That’s why we LOVE the idea of a holiday reading party, which is basically like one big, fun, well-planned storytime.
Easy Tips for Hosting a Reading Party
Again, we want this to be simple for you. Holiday party activities tend to be messy and cause headaches for the adults, and that’s the opposite of our goal. These suggestions will help keep your party on track and easy.
Have your child help you create book-themed invitations using construction paper and markers. Remember, none of this needs to be fancy. Use the time to hang out with your kid and color! If you’re pressed for time, consider these adorable library card invitations.
On the invitation, invite party-goers to wear holiday pjs and bring their favorite pillow or blanket. (Side note: who doesn’t love little kids in PJS, especially holiday ones??) This way they can get cozy as they read).
Make sure you invite children to bring their favorite holiday book!
In order to diversify the reading list, you might want to include a couple of books that you have picked out, too.
Plan how you’d like for the reading party to go. You can invite friends and family to dress up as holiday characters (Santa, Mrs. Claus, etc) to read to the kids, or you can simply have the adults who come take turns reading to the children.
You might also want to have a good, age-appropriate holiday movie on deck in case your party-goers get inattentive (which will happen, so you might as well go ahead and prepare!).
Be sensitive to the fact that some children with sensory issues might want to read alone, so prepare a quiet corner of your home with pillows and books in case this need arises.
Let the adults take turns reading the books in whatever format you’ve planned. If kids want to read and are old enough to do it, let them have a turn too! You invited them to bring their own books, after all–they might as well have the opportunity to share.
Have plenty of snacks! You can make cookies that look like little books (we love this “open book” cookie cutter from Etsy!), and/or you can have hot chocolate and any other holiday-themed snack you like. Again, we encourage you to be allergy friendly–it’ll make another mom and kid’s life SO much easier!
Order some holiday books as party favors. For an inexpensive idea, consider holiday coloring books. These will also be great fill-ins if you discover some little ones need to get energy out during the party!
Why We Love These Kids Holiday Party Ideas
These two party ideas are among our favorites for a few reasons.
First, they aren’t overdone. Certain party themes are common because they’re fun, sure, but kids get most excited about NEW things! That’s why their friends’ toys always seem cooler than their own. So throwing a party with a new concept will be a big hit, and the kids won’t even know how simple it all was!
We also love these specific ideas because they give children good ways to be creative and stimulated! Feel free to riff on these two ideas and let us know how they go! (Bonus points if you send us pictures of your littles in holiday pajamas).
What are your favorite kids’ holiday party ideas?
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Sarah Creel, PhD, is the editor of Undefining Motherhood, and Director of the Research Communication Certificate in the Graduate School at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Sarah loves to be with her family (including eight nieces and nephews!), friends, boyfriend, and animals (she has two cats and one weird dog. Wait, who is she kidding? They are all weird). At Undefining Motherhood, Sarah brings new perspectives by shedding light on nontraditional ways of being a mother.