As we’re heading into the Christmas season, many of us are still not meeting in person and are going back to more “virtual” settings as the weather gets colder. That doesn’t mean we have to cut out the celebrations, though!
The Bible reminds us over and over that the Christian life is not meant to be done alone. We’re also called to remember what God has done in our lives. That calls for celebrations! Even if it’s necessary to meet through screens this year, we can still remember, together, how God sent His Son for us. We can celebrate that even in this year of so many aparts, Jesus is Immanuel, God with us.
To celebrate Advent together, consider gathering your Bible study or small group for a Zoom Christmas party! Here are some ideas to make your party as merry as possible.
1. Designate a host.
Zoom, and other video conferencing apps, can make it difficult to have meaningful conversations with larger groups. Designating a “host” who can help guide the activities and discussion will make it easier. You may have to call on people individually in order to make sure everyone gets a chance to share and participate. Also keep in mind that the windows look different on everyone’s device, so going “around the circle” or from left to right may cause some confusion.
2. Plan one game or activity.
You’ll probably want to limit your time together to include just one activity or game. Because of the nature of sitting in front of and talking to a screen, it can be tiring to try to do too many things in one “gathering.” It can also be difficult to have a more casual conversation, because most video conferencing apps don’t allow guests to talk over one another. We don’t realize how much we do that until we can’t! Choose one main event, with discussion before or after.
Here are a few activities and games to try:
- Name that Tune. The host can cue up a playlist of Christmas songs and have everyone guess—either by shouting his/her answers or typing them in the chat. Bonus points if someone can guess the artist!
- Charades. Choose a theme, like Christmas carols or Christmas movies, and have each guest take a turn acting out the title. You could divide into teams and keep score, or just play for fun. Pro tip: You might consider recording this part of the call for some great laughs later on!
- Trivia. You can find some great Christmas trivia from a simple Google® search. Have people answer in the chat out loud or by writing down their answers at home. If you play with teams, consider adding breakout rooms on Zoom for discussion.
- Christmas decorations tour. If you have a smaller group, you could invite everyone “over” for a tour of your home. We may not get to see our friends’ homes in person this year, so this will give you a peek into their Christmas decorations.
- Ornament show-and-tell. Ask everyone to bring an ornament to have a show-and-tell moment. It could be one that’s especially sentimental or maybe one that makes him/her laugh every year (I’m looking at you, preschool macaroni angels).
- Do a craft together. Have your camera on while you make cinnamon salt dough ornaments or decorate a gingerbread house.
3. Set the scene.
Ask everyone to find a fun Christmas Zoom background for “decoration” this year (we designed three Zoom backgrounds just for you, click the images below to download!). Consider a dress code of ugly sweaters or Christmas pajamas (this is the perfect opportunity to wear pj’s to your Christmas party!).
4. Discuss the year.
Ask everyone to share his/her high and low of 2020, something he/she learned, or one thing he/she is especially thankful for this year. Host, prepare to go first and then call on each person so that everyone has a turn.
5. Take a screenshot!
Tell everyone to smile and screenshot your group. A lot of our photos from 2020 will look slightly like the Brady Bunch grid, but they’ll be perfect reminders of a season where we learned so much about the character of God and how we got creative in the “one anothers” of the Bible. If you share the photo on social media, be sure to tag your church and/or ministers. It’s an encouragement to them to see you sharing life together, even if it’s virtual for now.
We created some fun Zoom backgrounds to help you “decorate” for your virtual Christmas parties! Click the images below to save them to your computer. For information and instructions on enabling virtual backgrounds on Zoom click here.
Be sure to tag us (@LifewayWomen) when you share pictures of your small group’s virtual Christmas parties on social media, we’d love to see how you celebrate!
Elizabeth Hyndman reads, writes, and tweets. Officially, she’s a social media strategist at Lifeway. Elizabeth grew up in Nashville, sips chai lattes every chance she can get, and believes everyone should have a “funny picture” pose at the ready.