Ideas for a Christmas festival?
November 2, 2012 10:18 AM   Subscribe

I need inew deas for a Christmas festival that my neighborhood holds.

We have a lovely traditional neighborhood that is starting to host a public event every Christmas in our park. We are planning to do some of the usual things - Santa, train ride, decorating cookies, carolers, bouncy thing for the kids and lighting a big tree. But we need more than that to keep people entertained for a couple of hours. Any suggestions?
posted by cherrybounce to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
mid-winter dunk tank
posted by H. Roark at 10:29 AM on November 2, 2012

The best school party I hosted included making puppets out of brown paper bags -- which then doubled as brown paper bags to carry favors home -- and colored ice. Each child initially got to pick two cubes of different colors and see what color it became as they melted and come back later for more as long as the ice held out. By the end, everyone had brown drinks. Some kids insisted their parents then do this for them at home. (Freezing ice cubes containing dye took longer than plain water. It took me a few days to get an adequate supply of colored ice for the party.)

Colored ice might not work on the scale of a festival but maybe could be adapted in terms of being able to do something cool with food and/or drinks?
posted by Michele in California at 10:49 AM on November 2, 2012

we did neighborhood block parties for a while, and there were some definite favorite activities:
- face painting (perhaps holiday themed?)
- sidewalk chalk drawing competitions
- pie baking competitions (good for adults too, as people seem to like tasting pie, but this needs people to pitch in with pie baking)
- wreath making (we did autumn wreaths, but you can do winter) - supplies are relatively cheap and people get to take theirs home!
posted by darsh at 10:54 AM on November 2, 2012

A site that gives lots of ideas is Fete Fun. It's aimed at people organizing UK fetes in the summer, but I think a lot of things would be adaptable for Christmas time.
posted by Azara at 10:57 AM on November 2, 2012

Perhaps see if there are local vendors who might want to set up an ersatz Weihnachtsmarkt. When my parents went to Germany, they were set up in the town square and you could buy bees wax candles, wooden ornaments, mulled wine, Wurst (ZOMG, so freaking good!), home made soap etc.

If we're doing other holidays, you can get blank dreidels at craft stores and you can set up areas where kids can decorate them and then play with them. My sister has a Chanukah party every year and all the kids disappear into a bedroom and play for hours. (I know, it beggars credulity, but there it is.)

You can have someone set up to tell stories of other holidays, Christmas in other countries, Kwanza, etc. Some random thoughts include a Santa Lucia procession.

Ask some of the older kids to produce a holiday themed show. Or even rent or bum a Karaoke machine. The videos can be uploaded to You Tube.

Another idea would be to have a video booth set up where folks can say what they wish they could give the world for Christmas. Then it can be edited and uploaded to You Tube. Spooner Street's Christmas Wishes.

I sure do have a lot of ideas for a Jewish kid.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:40 AM on November 2, 2012

Have some people teach a basic skill - juggling is good, or hula-hooping, for part of the time. Then have a [skill]-off, award prizes, a crown/trophy whatever. Maybe break it into two competitions for under/over 12.

If you do this annually and have competitive neighbors, you can have some talented jugglers in a few years.
posted by mikepop at 12:08 PM on November 2, 2012

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