SUGGESTIONS for a CHRIST-CENTERED CHRISTMAS
First Christmas Prayer: Before or during Hors D’oeuvres, ask “What do you remember about the First Christmas Story?” Collectively fill in as many details as you can. Include both the Biblical, Legend and Folk tales if you wish. Have children pick a slip a paper with a number (# of children present) and adults pick form their own set of numbers (# of adults present).
Second Christmas Prayer: Traditional Grace
FIRST COURSE ACTIVITY: Throughout the first course (soup/salad), begin to share the Christmas Story. Begin with the children by number, then adults by number. Everyone gets “help” as needed.
Third Christmas Prayer: Between first and second course.
- Have someone Read Luke 2: 1- 21
Fourth Christmas Prayer: During or after the Main Course but Before Dessert:
- Have someone Read Matthew 2: 1-13
- What event or circumstance are most significant for me about Jesus’ story today?
Fifth Christmas Prayer: During and After Desert:
- Have all guests recall the story of the day each of them was born. For those who don’t know their story, have them imagine what it would have been like. Allow time for the elders to inform youngsters if they haven’t already.
- What event or circumstance was most significant for me about my story?
- Bless each person’s birth story by saying “The Angels Sang for you, too!” and sing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo!” after each person shares. Why? Because we are all part of Christ’s Story—a bigger story beyond the world’s measures of success and failure. Life and Grace and Hope are the Eternal Gifts for everyone.
AFTER DINNER ACTIVITY: Before the football game or during clean-up:
- Together recall all 12 Days of Christmas or ALL the Verses of The Night Before Christmas, any Christmas Carol or story about Saint Nicholas (Available on Internet)
- If no one knows it, spend the clean-up time memorizing it together or portion of it.
- Share the story and / or song together.
Concluding Christmas Prayer: Before Farewells or before the first person has to leave:
- Re-read/retell a shortened version of the Christmas story: Luke 2: 1-7 or 2: 1-14
- Extemporaneous prayer: For whom and what we like to pray?
- Bless each guest and close with Our Father and Glory Be and Christmas Carols!
PLEASE & THANK YOU GAME: Ask everyone to bring $1 to dinner. (Have extra bills around for those who forget.). Whenever anyone forgets to say P&TY from first grace to end of dinner (please pass the potatoes; thank you), he or she must put their dollar in a basket. Proceeds go to your parish or a charity of choice. Remaining Dollars in people’s pockets may be contributed voluntarily at the end of the day.