When I taught in the public school, parties were all the rage. Haha. We had one for just about any occasion we could think of. Homeroom moms would come in with cute crafts, fun food, and all kinds of games. Even when we confined it to the last hour of the day, it still consumed many weeks with the planning and details.
We had Thanksgiving feasts with Pilgrims and Indians. We had hot cocoa parties with more junk food than you’ve probably seen in one room. They were always fun, but the carnality always bothered me. Not that there is anything wrong with having parties, food, games, and fun. I just always hated to see holidays so focused on GETTING and so not focused on GIVING.
When I became a mom, I vowed to think harder about this whole thing. When God led me to homeschool I figured parties would be a thing of the past. Turns out homeschoolers have parties, too.
And one thing my homeschool support group does really well is parties. At our annual Christmas party, we do many of the usual activities (stories, songs, food, and crafts), but it’s all directed outward. Each activity we do gives our children the opportunity to serve someone else. One year we made massive plates of cookies for local emergency responders. As a group we took the gifts and caroled at the station. Another year we made little paper shoes and filled them with treats for children in our area who might not otherwise receive treats.
I’ve grown to really love this new way of thinking about holiday parties and wanted to extend it to Thanksgiving. We tend to be so busy in December. Why not have a party in November that is focused on serving others?
I decided to call it a blessings party.
The idea is simple. Get together a group of friends, a homeschool co-op, Sunday school class, etc. Then have the kids create things to bless other people. Equip them for how to give these things to others and then send them off to find ways to serve over the next month or so.
Blessings Party Plan
Using our thankfulness printables (free), make a set for each attendee. You can send them to an office supply store for easier printing, if desired. Or have kids make a set of cards and put verses on them. Brainstorm ideas for WHO they can give the cards to and WHAT they might say to thank them. If they don’t fill out the cards during the party, make sure to send them home with the list of things they brainstormed.
If you have time and want to go all out, consider making blessing bags for the homeless. There are tons of ideas and checklists on Pinterest. Here is a fun free printable, too. The kids could pack these bags and go as a group to pass them out or just take them home and give them out with their families.
During the party, play games like hangman with the Bible verses about being thankful, or revise the game “hot potato” to have the person holding the potato stand up and say something they are thankful for (rather than getting eliminated). You could also have children write 3 things they are thankful for on a leaf and turn it in. Then have the others guess who wrote it. You’ll also find games and crafts on thankfulness here on this Pinterest board.
If your group is mostly elementary age and older, you might consider reading about a missionary or learning the story behind an old hymn on thankfulness such as The Doxology, Count Your Blessings, or Great is Thy Faithfulness. (We have a hymn study resource here, if that interests you.)
If your group leans toward the younger side, you might read a children’s picture book to the group. There are many great children’s books about thankfulness listed here.
Whatever you do, remember to keep it simple. The best parties aren’t packed full of stuff. They are simple, fun, and memorable! Don’t stress over it. Make a short list of people to invite and go for it. You don’t need months of planning or elaborate details to make memories that challenge and strengthen the faith of your kids!
Have you ever tried a party like this? Leave me a comment and let me know if you will get together a group of kids this year for a blessings party!