Timely Tips

Fun ideas for the final months of 2018!

by Gail Marsh

Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 22)

  • Give Sunday school teachers a Sunday off this month! Instead of regular lessons, show the classic VeggieTales cartoon “Madam Blueberry.” All ages can enjoy this film’s thanksgiving theme.
  • Here’s an easy game to play with the children in your Sunday school class. Have a Christian music playlist ready to go on your smartphone. Seat the class in a circle and explain that they will pass an item clockwise around the circle while the music plays. (A fall-themed item like a small pumpkin pillow is great, but a book works well, too.) When the music stops, whoever holds the pass-around item must tell one thing for which he or she is thankful, and it cannot be something that another person has already mentioned. Ask an assistant to record all of the things for which the group is thankful.
  • Did you know that CTA has a downloadable Ministry Message for Thanksgiving? Check it out!
  • Don’t forget to say a big “Thank you!” to all of your volunteers and staff members this Thanksgiving! Tuck a gift card inside a coffee mug, write a heartfelt note, or plan a catered Thanksgiving lunch before the holiday.

Christmas (Tuesday, December 25)

  • Do you need a hands-on project for your youth group or small group this Christmas season? Gather together plain Christmas stockings - one for each person in your group. (Or, ask someone from your church’s quilter’s club to sew several plain stockings for your group.) On the first Sunday in December, let the group decorate their stockings. Provide fabric markers, stencils, glitter glue, and other craft items. On the second Sunday in December, ask the group to help you fill the stockings with personal care items such as soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, and sample-size shampoo and deodorant. Then suggest that participants write a brief note about the true meaning of Christmas and tuck it inside the stocking, as well. On the third Sunday in December, travel with the group to deliver the stockings to a local homeless shelter or a women-and-children support organization.


As an alternative, consider putting homemade soup ingredients inside the stockings. You can research recipes online, or if your budget allows, consider a source for prepackaged soup mixes like those offered by the Women’s Bean Project.

  • Are you looking to add to the charitable organizations your church sponsors during the holiday season? Check out Operation Gratitude, which ensures that military service personnel receive care packages, or Cure International, which offers assistance to physically disabled children. Charity Navigator also has an easy-to-search listing of vetted charities.
  • Get youth involved with emoji fun - challenge them to write out the Christmas story using emojis. Then encourage them to send their emoji Christmas story via text to a friend!
  • Your youth group will enjoy watching the Bethlehemian Rhapsody. It’s the Christmas story sung with music they’ll recognize and unusual performers that are sure to entertain! Check it out! Who knows? Maybe your group will decide to rewrite lyrics to another song using the Christmas story as their theme.

New Year

  • Invite all of your littlest members to a church-sponsored “Noon Year Party” on December 31 this year. Serve themed snacks like ring pops (for “ringing in” the New Year), eggnog dip with vanilla wafers, and countdown cupcakes! Set up a photo background and take pictures of the little ones and parents using funny props. Play simple games like musical chairs and “drop the hanky.” Or, try a new game like “toss the bean bag.” Place a bucket in the middle of a hula hoop. Scatter bean bags all around the outside of the hoop and let smallest children stand outside the hoop and try to toss the bean bags into the bucket. Be sure to end with a countdown to noon! Happy Noon Year!


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