How to Throw a Christmas Party for Middle School Kids

When your children are in middle school, their parties sit in that sweet spot between existing mostly for the enjoyment of the parents, and becoming purely for the enjoyment of the kids. Treasure this time – it’s as good as it’s going to be for awhile!

Our children recently wanted us to host a Christmas party at our house, and, while we eventually settled on a theme (to be revealed at the end of the article, so wait for it), we came up with a lot of ideas in the brainstorming process.

A Christmas Story

How could this not make the list? My husband suggested handing out Red Ryder carbine action blah blah blah BB guns to all the children. He also wanted to hold contests such as frozen flagpole licking and one he called, “Who Can Keep a Bar of Soap in Their Mouth the Longest.” I told him he was going to have to be the Macy’s Santa, and he disappeared into the basement to duel with our furnace in a cloud of exhaust and profanity.

A Christmas Carol

Having a bunch of twelve-year-olds dressed as characters from A Christmas Carol seemed like one of the cutest ideas ever. There would be little Scrooges and ghosts everywhere, because who wants to come to a party dressed as anyone from the poor Cratchit family? You can also keep the partygoers entertained for a few hours as they watch different movie adaptations of the book, including the Muppets version.

Candy Cane Party

This one was on our list, but we never got creative enough with it. Would the children dress as candy canes? Would we need to have a dentist present?

Ugly Christmas Sweater

Say what you will about Ugly Christmas Sweater parties, but have you seen a dozen middle schoolers in adorable little ugly sweaters? It’s a sight that will melt your heart – and the marshmallows in your hot chocolate. You could make this a contest or not, depending on whether you wanted to turn your child’s party into a sporting event (says my husband).

White Elephant

This is one of those party ideas that lets your youngsters feel like they’re practicing for adulthood. Definitely impose a spending limit, because you don’t want to bum out any parents OR kids with this one. Depending on the crowd, your role in the gift exchange might need to be heavy-handed in a referee sense, but kids are smart – they’ll get it.

Casino Night

I thought this would be fun, but my husband argued that we would be creating little compulsive gamblers who, by high school, would be shooting craps in the janitor’s closet and placing point spreads on the basketball team. However, I was thinking how adorable a mini Monte Carlo could be. We’d provide the chips (both the crunchy potato kind and the colorful plastic betting kind), and the adults would serve as dealers.

If You Want to Destroy My Sweater Night

My husband, as you’re going to guess, is a Weezer fan, and he thought it would be hilarious to host an ugly sweater party, but have the kids trash the sweaters at the end to the sounds of: “If you want to destroy my sweater / Hold this thread as I walk away… Lying on the floor, lying on the floor, I’ve come undone.” I told him no, absolutely not, and also not under any circumstances. And then I sent him back down to the basement to work on the furnace.

Decorate a Sweater Night

Admittedly, this was my counter to the Weezer suggestion, and I didn’t flesh out the details of this one, either. But I was thinking I’d buy candy canes, LED light strings, and all manner of things one could attach to sweaters. If anything about this idea inspires you, go with it.


And what did we choose for our recent Christmas party? This year we went with the Christmas Carol theme with an added White Elephant. It was a success, and as expected there were a lot of cute little Scrooges and ghosts. Unexpectedly, we even had a couple of Tiny Tims show up! Don’t forget to send your invitations ahead of time! You can make your own, or look into sending invites like the ones they have here at Paperless Post.

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