7 Ways to Create Community this Christmas

Need for Community + Holiday Season = Stressed People.

IMG_6426We want our tribe gathered around us. We need our people. But church events and Christmas programs and work parties–oh my. Where do we scrunch one more thing in?

On the other hand, maybe the celebration of our Lord’s birth should be the best time to evaluate our calendars and priorities. At a time of the year when so many people are feeling the loneliness of the holidays and the added stress, maybe we are the people who should be their place of refuge. The ones who open our doors wide and say, “You are welcome. There is room at the inn here.”

People are busy—but a place to enjoy one another and form community—from which gain the strength to go back out into the craziness? That could be just our chance to be people of peace this winter.

This is the message of Good News—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. Acts 10.36

So for the next two weeks, I’m going to find some easy ways to do that. We’re going to jump ahead to Christmas ideas and the come back here for thanksgiving afterward. Backward, I know, but it wouldn’t be much help if I gave you Christmas celebration suggestions at the end of December, now would it?

But I promise you, there is a good thanksgiving series coming.

IMG_6431How can we be hospitable to our tribes? How can we meet new members who might need our peaceful refuge? While we are inviting others over, we can begin conversations of peace around the table. That would be a great offering during this contentious year.

So, some ideas for getting people to gather around. Meant to be easy. Intended to be jumping off points for going deeper with people you treasure. Or new people you want to know. Do not stress over making it perfect! Assemble a few things and go. Find one you like and have fun!

A Christmas Story Party

Everyone brings their favorite holiday story or poem to read. Those who prefer a full length novel will have to take it down a bit. This is the 21st century. We can’t spend all day listening to Christmas Carol.

Suggestions:

The Gift of the Magi                                                              The Mitten

The Other Wise Man                                                             Olivia Helps with Christmas

The Legend of the Christmas Tree                                  God Gave Us Christmas

The Crippled Lamb                                                               Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas                                    Olive the Other Reindeer

The Christmas chapter in Anne of Green Gables       Mortimer’s Christmas Manger

Or this link.

A Cookie/Cupcake Decorating Party

This is good for kids or adults. Have everyone bring their own cookies and/or cupcakes, and you supply the decorations. Or vice versa–go buy some plain cookies and have others bring their favorite toppings. Just watch that kid from down the road who will use ALL the rainbow sprinkles if you let her. Exchange afterward if you want. Or bring the treats around to your local police station, fire department, library staff, etc.

img_4216

A Wrapping Party

Everyone has to wrap their gifts, right? Why not do it together? Have people bring paper, you supply bows, ribbons, tags, etc. You can have a corner for people who like to go nuts making their own intricate gift tags. They can share.

Appetizer Party

Instead of cookies, bring favorite finger foods to swap. Everyone will have some to eat and go home happy.

Christmas Karaoke

OK, this one may be less peaceful than other options, But it could be a great deal of fun. Plus blackmail material on your friends for years. Rent a machine and give everyone a chance to sing their favorite Christmas songs. Except Santa Baby. Delete that option. Just no.

Donation Party

This is my favorite. Ask guests to bring something off a donation list for a charity organization. Some options include: items for stuffing shoeboxes to deliver to kids overseas. Household items for a refugee family moving in. Care packages for soldiers. Possible links are below. Add your good ideas in the comments!

World Relief Welcome Kits here for general information and here for Chicago area list.

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for children info here.

Support Our Troops care packages and letters to troops.

Packages for the homeless. The best thing is to contact a local shelter for their wish list. They will almost always have one on the website. But here is a great list of items.

Sledding Party

This is just what it sounds like. Set a date for everyone to bring sleds, and you serve the hot chocolate afterward. Adults are absolutely required to play!

Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12.13

We need each other, and we need each other especially during the stressful times in our lives–like now. It’s in those times we pull back and focus on our own little worlds, to our detriment.Simple hospitality makes yours a joyful place in a hectic world.

And don’t forget my free ebook, All Stressed Up and No Place To Go—dealing with holiday stress and remembering the reason we’re celebrating.

allstressed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s