The Big White Elephant
Christmas White Elephant Social Life Night
Life Night Outline
Goal of this Night
The goal for this night is for the teens to spend time in community and exchange Christmas gifts. This night will also give the teens an opportunity to participate in and practice charity through a service project in the season of giving.
About this night
Christmas—the season of giving. This Life Night combines a service project with an opportunity for the teens to participate in a crazy gift exchange. The night begins with the teens gathering and voting on the best Christmas sweaters and elf costumes. The youth minister will then introduce the new teens and lead right into the teaching. The teaching will help the teens understand that Christmas is not about receiving presents but giving our presence to others—especially the poor. After the teaching the teens will do a gift exchange. The night will close in prayer and the teens will have the chance to eat Christmas cookies and take their picture with Santa.
A month before this night coordinate with a local charity or parish service project to allow the teens to participate in a service project to bring Christmas to a family in need. Two weeks before the Life Night, announce the service project to the teens. Have a decorated Christmas tree with ornaments that have the needed gifts for the project written on them. The ornaments can be very simple with the item written in permanent marker. The tree should be very visible. Keep it in your youth room or office the weeks leading up to the Life Night. After each activity during the week give the teens an opportunity to pick from the tree. Be sure to tell the teens the date of the Life Night when they should bring the items back. Along with the service project gift, have the teens bring an extra wrapped gift of their choice—something new like a gift card or something old like an old toy or ugly piece of clothing—to give away. The more random the gifts, the better. Tell the teens to wear their best “worst Christmas outfit.” The sweaters can be old or one the teen made specifically for the Life Night.
The best part about Christmas as a kid is coming downstairs to Christmas morning. The environment for this night should reflect a living room decorated for Christmas. Have a large Christmas tree decorated with lights and ornaments. Have some of the teens decorate ornaments on the tree. This tree should be the same tree that is used in weeks before the Life Night (see pre-planning for more details). Create a painting of a fireplace with a fire scene and stockings hanging on the mantel. Have big comfortable chairs and a table with cookies and milk for Santa. The Core should be dressed in elf costumes. Have Christmas music playing in the background.
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