HOW TO PLAN A MEMORABLE & AFFORDABLE CHRISTMAS LUAU
Christmas parties are a blast! Every now and then we like to mix it up and try something different with our themes. Here’s how we planned a memorable and affordable Christmas Luau.
1. HAWAIIAN DÉCOR
There are so many great places to order cheap, Hawaiian décor online. Oriental Trading is usually our go-to for cheap decorations.
What we discovered, however, is that our children’s ministry already had a ton of beach and ocean-themed décor in storage. We borrowed it and even borrowed stuff from other churches. If you come up dry reaching out to churches, consider calling local restaurants or even elementary schools. Beach-themed décor is pretty common.
Offer to give a small donation to say thank you for lending their stuff.
2. TURN UP THE HEAT!
We cranked the thermostat to 85 degrees that night to create a summer atmosphere in our youth center. We made sure to let other ministries know of our plans well in advance as to not disturb their plans.
We also let our students know that it was going to be toasty that night and that they should wear their favorite summer attire. It was hilarious seeing students get dropped off for our party (picture teens running through the snow in flip flops). Consider posting a photographer outside to capture that moment!
3. FIND A GREAT HAWAIIAN SPOTIFY PLAYLIST
I put my student leaders up to this and they found some great tunes. Most of the music doesn’t have lyrics so it’s safe for any party atmosphere. If you have some talented musicians you could also ask them to play for the night. One of our guitarists brought out his ukulele and another played a few congas.
4. PUT A HAWAIIAN SPIN ON TRADITIONAL GAMES
Sharks and Minnows is a great game that naturally fits a Hawaiian theme. You can also just Google search “Hawaiian-Themed Games.” A great one that we used was bowling with coconuts and pineapples. You use the coconut as the bowling ball and the pineapples as the pins. Just be ready for when the coconuts crack open…they will! And we learned the coconut milk is very bitter – yuck! But that led to another great game– “Drink that coconut!”
5. GIVE OUT FUN THEME-ORIENTED PRIZES
Come up with some fun “trophies” for your students to take home if they win a game that night. For our Christmas Luau we gave out large, fresh pineapples to every student who won a game. Not only was it hilarious handing students a 3-pound pineapple, but they made great décor when we lined our stage with them at the start of the night. By the end of the night, students were fighting over who got to take home a pineapple! We even took a group photo with all of the winners (and their pineapples) in front of a beach-themed backdrop.
If you want to take it to the next level, buy a giant inflatable pineapple, blow it up and hide it somewhere off stage. When the last student wins, surprise them with an extra-special pineapple!
This theme is an easy and affordable way to celebrate Christmas. One of the biggest reasons we went with it! Be spontaneous and enjoy the moment! Our Christmas party is usually the last time we see our students before the start of the new year. We make that night as memorable as possible for everyone involved.
What are some themes you’ve used for a Christmas party?
ROB GILLEN is the High School & College Age Pastor at Christian Life Assembly in Camp Hill, PA and has served in student ministries for 10 years. He has his Masters in theological studies and he’s an Adjunct Professor at the University of Valley Forge. Rob and his wife Kara parent a son and two beautiful daughters.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.