Child-friendly Christmas party ideas may come handy if you’re stuck with last minute planning and really don’t enjoy being notified that your guests will be bringing their offspring along like it’s no big deal. “Yeah, you know, our nanny canceled so we have to bring boys along, you won’t mind, won’t you, they are just children”. Three last-minute notifications such as these and you find yourself blowing off steam on All Women Stalk, hoping to find an easy to do hairstyle you can just scramble together between preparations for a grown up party you've planned and a Christmas party for children that managed to pop up in the last moment. Take a deep breath, count to ten and relax! These following tips will help you deal with everything like an experienced party planner.
1. DIY a Playroom
First on my list of child-friendly Christmas party ideas is to set up a play room to avoid children clinging to their mommies, playing hide and seek around your Christmas tree and coffee tables full of that special occasion crystal! Pick a room that easily accessible from the living room (preferably not the one you use to store your clothes, purses, shoes or makeup) duct tape everything you can’t lock and remove all sharp or fragile objects. Set up a TV and a gaming console (borrow or rent one in case you don’t have it), arrange all of the toys you have and turn it into a children-only playroom.
2. DIY a Drawing Room
Now, in case you don’t have any toys, anyone to borrow them from or money to waste on buying new toys no one will use afterwards, there’s still time to do the next best thing. Prep the room as described previously then get coloring books, drawing pads, colorful stickers and coloring pencils. Make sure you have enough coloring books and pencils (and I underline pencils, not pens or God forbid markers) so each child could have its own supplies. All you have to do now is come up with a few prizes the winner of the most beautiful picture is going to win. Repeat the contest until no child is left without a prize and you’ll have them busy, incredibly quiet and motivated like Olympic athletes! Throughout the WHOLE evening!
3. Rent a Few Christmas Movies
Movies for children are another child-friendly Christmas party idea you should consider! Make sure they are synchronized so even the youngest of children could enjoy them. Set up a TV set in a corner (or a room) where they’ll be able to see their parents but are not close enough to cling to them or interrupt grown up conversations, move a comfy sofa over or arrange a lot of throw pillows, serve a few of their favorite snacks and make it clear that TV and sofa are the “snack area” which means they’ll have to stay there. Parents will probably welcome your decision not to allow kids to litter all over the place, urging their kids to sit tight and pay attention to the movie.
4. Choose Your Sweets Wisely
Okay, time to talk about desserts! Now, if you’ll be having tons of kids at your Christmas party, you might want to avoid chocolate and creamy stuff. They do taste heavenly and yes, I know all the kids love them but having a lot of children at your party probably means you won’t be able to both oversee them and party with the grown ups. And that can lead to many unpleasant surprises such as melted chocolate bits in your couch and carpet or sticky fingerprints on your curtains and walls. Do the next best thing – bake or buy tons of glazed or hard-frosted Christmas themed cookies and don’t forget candy canes and other holiday themed candies (hard ones, of course). You may discover a few of them playing Barney The Barnacle with your couch the following morning or determine that your carpet could use a rendezvous with a vacuum cleaner but hey – sugar and crumbs aren't that big of a deal! Chocolate and caramel stains, in the other hand, are very hard to get out!
5. Lead the Way
Remember that drawing contest I've mentioned previously? Well, you can take the idea, play with it a bit and come up with tons of different ways to use it for the so-called “crowd control”. If the children are old enough to write you can ask them for a Christmas-related poem or a short story, give them an hour to come up with it and have the grown ups vote for their favorites. Be fun but firm, talk about it with excitement, stock up on presents and write down themes and ideas forehand. If the kids get a feeling it’s an actual game with rules, presents and tasks set up in advance they’ll be more inclined to play along, listen and behave. If, in the other hand, you let them see it’s a DIY thing you've managed to scrape up in the nick of time, they’ll try to change the rules or will give up after the first round. Let the sore losers know it’s an ongoing competition with more prizes waiting in a very special, totally secret place and they’ll stop sulking and focus their efforts into winning in the next round. The more focused they are, the quieter they will be which gives you a lot of time to enjoy your own party!
6. Hire a Coordinator
And I’m not talking about a pro! Ask an older child (should be at least 14 years old) to get the younger ones off your back. Or a girl next door! You’ll be paying her, of course, but hey – it’s a small price to pay for an evening of headache-free entertainment! In case you don’t find the idea too pleasing or are working on a limited budget, invite a person that’s crazy about kids (your mother or mother in law for example) and let her do all the work. It sounds totally mean, I know, but most folks who adore children (and especially the ones that don’t have their own yet) won’t see it as a burden. They’re enjoying themselves, kids are happy, you’re happy! It may not be the most unusual child-friendly Christmas party idea but it sure does the trick!
7. All-Age-Appropriate Games
If you can’t beat them – join them! Why don’t you do some last minute shopping and get a few games both grownups and kids can play? Like Buzzer! Now that’s an awesome game! Or, you can play charades! Split your guests into teams consisting of one child and one grownup (any remaining grownups can watch) and let the games begin! It’s a fun and most importantly a new way to spend Christmas and let’s face it… if you manage to organize it well and aren't allergic to children (which, in medical terms, is highly unlikely as they’re not allergens) having kids around doesn't have to be bad at all!
You see? There is a way to throw a good Christmas party for children and have fun with the grownups! But tell me, how do you plan on taking care of the little ones this year?