25 Youth Group Christmas Games and Activities

teens opening christmas presentsChristmas is a wonderful time to spice up your youth group gatherings with a new game or activity! Here are 25 youth group Christmas games and activities to help your students celebrate the holiday with cheer.

Hilariously Fun Games

  1. Blindfolded Gift Wrapping - Provide the kids with a box, tape and wrapping paper. Blindfold them and have them try to wrap the box and put a bow on top. You could also do this with two blindfolded people working together, or for an added challenge, they have to put one hand behind their back to complete the task.
  2. Blindfolded Paper Tree Building - Give contestants green construction paper and tape and have them tear a four-tiered (going from large to small triangles) Christmas tree and tape it together — but ask them to do all of it blindfolded! For added fun, give them colored dots to put on as Christmas lights as well. The one that looks most like an actual tree is the winner!
  3. Cotton Ball Santa - For this fun relay game, divide into three or four teams depending on group size. Students get Vaseline smeared on the bottom of their face, run across the room and stick their face into a plate of cotton balls trying to stick as many as possible, then run to the other end and peel them off into a bowl before tagging the next person to start the process. First team to get a set number of cotton balls (have leaders keep count) wins! Take some pictures of the kids to remember the holiday fun!
  4. Ornament Knockout - Tie an ornament to the end of a string and tie that string to a belt. Place cans or bottles on a table and have students wear the belt with the ornament to the back like a tail and try to knock over the objects on the table by swinging their hips and turning the ornament into a wrecking ball.

Coordinate a youth group Christmas service project with a sign up. View an Example

Team Games

  1. Found On Phone: Christmas Edition - Print out a list and have students work in teams and use one or two team members' phones to check off items from the list (one point per item) such as photos of snow, gift ideas, Christmas trees, Christmas lights; contacts with the name Mary, Joseph, Jesus; previous text with some type of Christmas emoji or gift idea; a Christmas playlist; and an organizing or list-making app. They have to already exist somewhere on the phone — no web searching allowed.
  2. Christmas One Word Guessing Game - Teams of four are needed for this game so depending on your group size, print enough clue cards for each team. Print one Christmas-related word on a card (songs, holiday-related treats, decor), have three on the team each say one word that describes the word on the card, the "guesser" only has one guess of the Christmas word their team is describing.
  3. Worst Family Christmas Card Photo Competition - Have volunteer leaders and kids bring goofy props and clothing (be sure to return at the end of the night), then divide them up into teams and have them go into separate rooms. They have 10 minutes to take 10 pictures on someone's phone to be voted on for "Worst Family Christmas Card." You can also award prizes for most unique use of a prop, worst dressed and most unique facial expressions. Show some examples from the web before you start to inspire your students!
  4. Gratitude Game - This game is best for smaller groups — everyone partners up, sits in a circle, and one partner is given a gift bag. On "go," gift bag partner runs out of room to find a "gift" around the church (square of toilet paper, pen or you can supply a "gift box" with dirty socks and other unique gifts). They must return and go around the circle, giving their gift to their partner. The partner thanks them and adds a sentence of what they like about the gift, how they will use it or enjoy it: "Thank you so much for this square of toilet paper. Though I will only use it once, I will think of you and be thankful for it." Partners take turns giving gifts for several rounds. Give prizes for most creative thank you, most sincere thank you, etc.
  1. Mitten Mayhem - You need two pairs of fluffy mittens (or kitchen potholder gloves) per team and a die. You will need to also wrap one gift per team in several layers of wrapping paper and lots of tape. Teams line up down a line. When the game starts, the first two people in line put on mittens. The first team member tries to roll a five while the second person (also in mittens) tries to take off the wrapping paper. When a five is rolled, then mittens go off and they are passed onto the next two players until a team gets their gift unwrapped.
  2. Yoked for Christmas - This game asks partners to get inside the same XXL sweatshirt shoulder-to-shoulder with one arm of each person through each sleeve. They must complete a set of tasks: wrapping a present, decorating a mini-tree, decorating a cookie, and choreographing eight steps that are then repeated and performed with Christmas music. Leaders or onlookers can make a call on who wins individual challenges or best overall.
  3. Speed Tree Decorating - Get a non-decorated Christmas tree and set it up in the middle of the room. Divide your group into two teams and put a throwing line with tape in a circle, 8-10 feet around the tree. Provide each team with a bucket of non-breakable ornaments of a specific color. The challenge is to throw ornaments into the tree and have them stay put. For fun, you could also add silly items like small stuffed animals, an elf or a rubber chicken! The team with the most in the tree wins.
  4. Candy Cane Hang - This can be done as an individual or team game. Use a full-sized candy cane and have participants put the candy cane in their mouth, the hooked part facing out. The object is to hook the candy cane over your own nose with no hands. For teams, just have each person down the row attempt the task and the fastest team to hook all their noses wins!

Recruit Christmas pageant helpers with a sign up. View an Example

Twist on Old Games

  1. Gift Wrap a Leader with a Twist - You have seen the game of wrapping a leader with paper (faces showing) and bows and a star on top. For this game, stop after the leader is wrapped and challenge the leaders to complete several tasks using only their face, like carrying a spoon in their mouth across the room with an ornament in it, picking up a holiday stuffed animal in their mouth off a table and tossing it as far as they can, and finally kicking a large plastic ornament back across the room to the finish line. If the paper is still intact at the end, that team is declared the winner.
  2. Christmas Reverse Charades - Fold index cards with Christmas movies, songs and typical Christmas activities printed on them and put them in a large bowl. In reverse charades, one person on the team guesses while the other members, as a group, silently give clues. You can have multiple bowls going at a time and divide your youth group into teams of four or five and play tournament style so that the final two teams with the most correct guesses go head-to-head in a final reverse charade battle.
  3. Santa's Helper Relay - Divide into two teams and have half of each team go to the other end of the room. Wrap empty boxes in festive paper (use some tall oatmeal containers and put a bow on one of them to make stacking extra tricky), stack them three (or more) high and have teams lift the boxes and carry them down to the other side without dropping any. They have to set them on the floor and then a second member of the team carries them back. The first team with all members to complete the relay wins. Add to the fun by creating an obstacle course of cones or chairs to climb over, having them carry gifts with one hand behind their back, or have leaders randomly throw dodgeballs while they try to get down the course.

Plan a youth group Christmas potluck with a sign up. View an Example

Fun and Meaningful Activities

  1. North Star Dance - Make a fun playlist of Christmas remixes (google Christmas rap music), have students dress in white (and give each a Santa hat for a fun touch), rent a blacklight, buy glow bracelets, and host your own seasonal dance with a hot chocolate bar (include all the fixings) and self-decorated cookies. Break halfway through to do a creative retelling of the Christmas story or gospel message.
  2. Christmas Kindness Paper Chain - Pre-cut red, green and white paper strips and have students write an act of kindness they can do on each strip, counting down to Christmas day. Create paper chains for the students to take home and decorate their bedrooms and tear off a ring each day and do the act of kindness!
  3. Holiday Sock Exchange - Instead of a white elephant gift, have students bring a festive pair of socks and read a Christmas story where on certain words they pass it in a certain direction (just search for "Left Right Christmas Story" online to find examples).
  4. Christmas Display Outing - This activity is more of an outing, and a wonderful way to get a 3D view of the Christmas story. Organize your youth group to see a local live nativity. Use a sign up to recruit parent drivers for your group and meet back at the church for fellowship, cookies and hot chocolate after. For small groups, go in cars to look at light displays and challenge students to find ways to be a light in the darkness during the holidays.
  5. Outreach to Shoppers - Get your youth group together on a busy December morning to hand out cocoa or coffee at a nearby shopping area, offer complimentary gift wrapping, and give out postcards inviting folks to a special Christmas church service. 
  6. Christmas Party for Older Foster Care Children - This one will take more organizing but is a win/win activity for your youth and the organization involved! Reach out to a local youth homeless shelter or program that assists those aging out of foster care. If there is a shelter, work with staff to host a holiday party at their facility, or collect a wish list, gather gifts and decorate small trees to be delivered by the group.
  7. Church Staff Appreciation - Another party your students can host is for your own church staff! Have students use a sign up to volunteer potluck dishes and donations for a gift exchange. Incorporate some of the games mentioned above and have a festive photo booth to help commemorate the evening.
  8. Salt Dough Ornament Making - Find a recipe online for good old-fashioned salt dough and use it for ornament-making. For older students, you can even provide the ingredients and have them make the dough themselves before cutting with cookie cutters. Poke a hole for hanging and then leaders can bake the ornaments to distribute at the next youth group. Students can make multiples to give as gifts.
  9. Christmas Gratitude Letter Writing Party - Gather cardstock, markers and colored pencils and a box of envelopes and have students write letters to bus drivers, favorite store cashiers, school administrators, pastors and church staff. Provide holiday cookies and cider, put on some festive music, and let the words of encouragement flow! End the evening with a gift exchange and games.
  10. Twelve Days Non-Sing Along - This is great for a large group — divide up your youth group by having them count off by 12 and hand each group a slip of paper with one of the objects from the 12 Days of Christmas. When you say "go," the teams must silently line themselves up according to where their team's object goes in the song by communicating without words to the other 11 groups. You can redistribute the objects several times to see if they can get it faster or have a speed round dividing the song in half and posing the last six against the first six seeing who can line up fastest.
Incorporating any of these games or activities into your youth group Christmas plans will make everything merry and bright! 

Julie David is married to a worship pastor and after 20 years in ministry together with three daughters, she is still developing the tender balance of thick skin and gracious heart. She currently leads a small group of high school junior girls.