50 Ideas to Try this Advent

Events, games

Look no further for ideas to spice up your Christmas party or use as a game during youth group. Here are 50 ideas (most of them I have personally done!) to try out this holiday season.


Candy Cane Olympics: Create a bunch of games for students to play, and for every win they get a candy cane! At the end of the night, award the winner of the Candy Cane Olympics with an extra-special prize.

Reindeer Games: Divide the group into reindeer teams and host an evening of games with a grand prize.

Reindeer Hunting: Have a small group pile into a car, grab hot-chocolate from the gas station / Starbucks, and go around neighborhoods with Christmas lights. Together, count the amount of reindeer you see. Each year I try to break the record from the year before!

Salvation Army Red Kettle: Volunteer as a small group together to ring the kettle together and sing Christmas carols.

Progressive Dinner Party: Identify three host homes, and take students around for each piece of the meal: Appetizer, Main Course, and Dessert.

Angel Tree: As a youth group, host a family for Angel Tree. Encourage teens to donate money and buy gifts together or divvy up gifts among the group.

Christmas Pajama Party: Host a movie night where students can wear footie pajamas and binge-watch some holiday classics. Invite students to bring Christmas cookies or other snacks!


Ugly Sweater Station: Take the classic ugly sweater party to the next level by having a station where students can make their own! Include: fabric markers, ribbon, stick-on bows, bells, felt Christmas shapes, and lots of hot glue.

Saran Wrap Ball Game: Wrap candy and small prizes in layers of Saran Wrap. Form a circle and go around the circle, rolling dice. When a player rolls a double, they unwrap the Saran Wrap and get the next prize. You could also try this out “hot potato” style,” where you play music, and where the ball stops, they unwrap one layer

Reindeer Antlers: Place two to three minutes on the clock. Teams must blow up and tie balloons, then stuff them into a pair of panty hose, and then put the pantyhose on one player’s head. Team with the best-looking antlers wins.

Wrap Battles: Place five minutes on the clock. Give each team one roll of wrapping paper, tape, Christmas bows, and ribbon. Each team wraps one player, and the best-wrapped player’s team wins!

White Elephant: To keep your gift exchange cheap for families, consider having students bring random things from around their house, their best gag gifts, or regift something from last year.

The Dice Game: I grew up playing this game at my grandma’s! Purchase a bunch of small presents, ranging from chapstick to gloves to $5 gift cards. Wrap everything up. In small groups, place the gifts in the middle of the table and have each person roll. If someone gets doubles, they get to take a present (or steal one from someone else). They then get to roll again. If a person doesn’t get doubles, they pass the dice. You can also do with a coin – heads is open a present, tails is steal.

Gingerbread Houses: Make a station where students can create their own gingerbread house, or have a contest! Include items such as frosting, graham crackers, lots of candy, and pipe icing. We often just give small groups a pre-made Gingerbread house kit and some extra candy/frosting.

Christmas Cookie Decorating: You can use the same items as with the Gingerbread houses, except students can eat their art! You can also decide to do this with cupcakes.

Pancake: Place different colors of pancake mix in squeeze bottles, and encourage the students to make Christmas shapes on the griddle! You could even play Christmas Pictionary this way.

Sled Races: Give students a bunch of different items to make sleds! You can go micro and have them make sleds out of candy, or you can go macro and give them cardboard and other supplies. Then, have them race them across a track (micro) or across the room!

Sleigh All Day: Split students into groups. Give each group a cheap sled (they might break). Have the group get from one point of the room to the other without touching the ground using two sleds. If the touch the ground, they have to restart.

Ornament decorating: Get clear ornaments from Dollar Tree and a bunch of stuff to decorate (ribbons, pipe cleaners, stickers, jingle bells, etc.). Allow students to make ornaments to decorate the youth tree or take home!

DIY Christmas Stockings: Get a bunch of stockings and supplies from the Dollar Tree, and allow students to make their own!

Gift-wrapping: Encourage students to bring gifts to wrap, or have a bunch of boxes to teach students new gift-wrapping techniques.

Christmas themed water color painting: Find some Christmas coloring pages, and cheap water color kits. Allow students to color the pages with water colors for a relaxing activity!

Santa’s Beard: In this game, rub Vaseline all over the chin and cheeks of the willing participants. Give them a minute to place as many cotton balls on their face as possible. Person with most cotton balls wins!

Christmas movie trivia: Create a Christmas movie trivia, find one online, or grab a public one from Kahoot!

12 days of Christmas Relay or Scavenger Hunt: have 12 pieces of paper or 12 items that represent the 12 days of Christmas. Then, call out “8th day” or “7th day” and they must grab it. Alternatively: they have to find the pictures/symbols around the church and then order them correctly’ the first to do so wins.

Hot Cocoa Bar: Set up a station of hot water with cocoa and apple cider packets. Include cinnamon sticks, peppermints/candy canes, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, marshmallows in fun shapes, whipped cream, pirouettes, and sprinkles!

Christmas Photo Booth: This is your easiest photo booth you’ll ever create: collect Christmas hats, garland, ornaments, and anything else you might have on-hand to use in the booth. Students can take selfies or you can have a volunteer take Polaroids! You can also give points for “worst family photo”

Christmas Cards: Have students create cards for all of your church staff, small group leaders, volunteers, or whoever they might be able to make an impact on. They can make their own, or you can supply the cards!

Elf on the Shelf: For each week of Advent, hide the elf around your youth ministry space. Award a prize for the person who finds it first each week.

Marshmallow Man: In this up-front game, give students a bag of mini marshmallows and one minute. Person who can stack the most three-marshmallow snowmen in a minute wins!

Oh Christmas Tree: Give each player 36 Red or Green Solo Cups. First player to stack the 36 cups into a pyramid (Christmas tree) and put them back into a single stack wins.

All Through the House: Hide cut-outs of Santa throughout your building or space. In teams, players relay to find a Santa, then come back to tag the next person their team. The team with the most or fastest time wins.

Fill the Stockings: Get teams of two, and give one person a Christmas stocking and the other ping pong balls. Have the players toss the ping pong balls into the stockings. Team with the most in their stocking in a minute wins! If the teams run out of ping pong balls, they can run around and grab them off the ground.

Bow Roll: Take a bunch of bows and take the stickers off the back. Scatter the bows on the ground. Have no more than two or three participants put their arms at their side (I recommend taping the arms down) and give them one minute to roll around on the ground, collecting bows. Person with the most bows stuck to them in a minute wins!

Name that Tune / Finish the Lyrics / Gargle that Tune: Place some lyrics on the screen, and have students finish the lyrics or name the tune. You can also give them a song privately, have them gargle the tune with water, and have the audience guess! There are some versions of these games on DYM.

Christmas Pictionary / Charades / Etc.: a classic, allow students to write down ideas or choose from preselected ideas and act them out!

Trim the Tree: Give each player a bag of shatterproof Christmas Ornaments. Players race to get their ornaments on the tree by tossing them at the Christmas tree.

Bamboozled: Buy a bunch of weird-tasting candy canes from Amazon, and see if your students can guess the flavor!

Christmas Scavenger Hunt: Find one online or make your own: see if students can find certain Christmas items around the church!

Christmas Kareoke: Purchase a pass from Karafun, turn on parental controls, and have students sing Christmas (or other) songs!

Snowball Dodgeball: Host a dodgeball match, but with balled up paper!

Marshmallow toss: Toss marshmallows into wreaths for a classic “minute to win it” game.

Two truths and a lie: Christmas gift edition (choose two of their worst presents ever given, then a third that’s a lie)

Antler ring toss: One student wears antlers, the other throws rings made out of glowsticks or a hula hoop around them. There are also inflatable versions on Amazon!

Christmas Bingo: Our students love bingo. For prizes, include gift cards or small gifts that students would want (or can regift!)

Pin the nose on the reindeer: Make your own or find one from Amazon!

Candy Cane hook’em: Place a pile of candy canes on one end of a table, with a bowl on the other end. Give students a candy cane; they have to hook as many candy canes and transfer them as they can in one minute.

Santa Limbo: Spray paint a bar red and wrap white tape around it for a “candy cane” look and invite students to limbo!

Ornament Relay: Place an ornament on a spoon, and have students race them across the room relay-style!

Mitten Wrapping: Unwrap presents with oven mitts! You can choose to do this up-front style, where a few people compete to unwrap the same thing, but with different mitts.

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