If you've had a preschooler or elementary-aged child, you've experienced the joy of birthdays. These kiddos love to tell everyone they come in contact with how old they are. They eagerly await the celebration of their day and the presents hoped for. This connection of birthday excitement is why focusing on Jesus' birthday during Christmas provides such a large impact on this age group. On this page discover ample ideas - from simple to more detailed - to have your own "Happy Birthday, Jesus" party!
3 layered round cake - red, green, and chocolate layers
To make the colored layers, mix a white cake according to the box/recipe directions. Divide the batter in half. Drop several drops of green food coloring in one half, and red food coloring in the other half. Pour each into 8" round cake pans and bake according to recipe directions. Also bake one 8" round chocolate cake.
When cooled, stack the chocolate layer, red layer in the middle, ending with the green layer with white frosting in between. Frost the entire cake with white frosting. Add yellow decorations and candles to the top. Discuss the symbolism while assembling.
The chocolate layer reminds us that our heart is full of sin.
The red layer reminds us that Jesus shed His blood for our sins.
The white frosting reminds us that Jesus will forgive our sins and give us a clean heart.
The green layer reminds us to grow in Christ through praying, reading the Bible, and worshiping.
The yellow decorations remind us of heaven.
The candles remind us Jesus is the Light of the world.
Make or purchase an undecorated cake. Add the following items to the cake and discuss using the suggested Scripture:
Idea shared by Nicole: Each year we made two Christmas cakes. One for our family to have and one to give to someone else. My siblings and I took turns giving the cake to someone. (It usually was one of our teachers.) When shared we explained the cake’s symbolism to the receiver.
Start with a round chocolate cake. The chocolate represented how dark our hearts are with sin before we know Jesus (Romans 3:23 and Isaiah 53:6). The round cake is a reminder that God’s love for us has no end. His love for us is so great that He sent His Son to earth (John 3:16).
Dig a little well in the cake and fill with cherry pie filling. The cherries represented the blood that He shed for our sins (Ephesians 1:7 and Hebrews 9:22).
Top the cake with cool whip or white icing. The cool whip or white icing represents how His blood washes our sins white as snow and He remembers our sin no more (Romans 4:24 and Isaiah 61:10).
Cover the cake with green (for new life) an gold (for Heaven) sprinkles.
This simple idea is perfect for a little one's short attention span.
Make a chocolate cake to represent the human sinful condition.
Frost with white icing for how Jesus washed away our sins.
Add a red candle to represent Christ’s blood shed on the Cross.
A green candle represents renewal and growth.
A yellow candle stands for the golden streets of heaven.
Below are possible activities to do during a party. Scroll down for a suggested agenda.
Hide a nativity set pieces around the room or house. Give the children hints of what piece they will be looking for.
Or have the children hide the piece and allow one child to find it. As they are looking give them clues to help them know how close they are to the hidden piece. Use the standard hot/cold clues or do something geared toward Christmas. Give them numbers between 1 and 25. The closer they are to the piece, the closer the number is to 25. Or, pat your legs like a donkey walking. The closer the donkey gets to “Bethlehem” the faster the donkey walks. “I told Mary that she would give birth to a son. He was to be named Jesus. Who am I?” (Angel) “I loved Mary very much. She and I had to travel to Bethlehem. Who am I?” (Joseph)
“Although I was frightened by the angel, I told God that I would do what He chose for me to do.” (Mary) “I carried Mary to the inn. Hee-haw! What am I?” (Donkey) “We were watching our sheep and suddenly an angel stood before us saying, “Today, in the town of Bethlehem, a Savior has been born. He is lying in a manger. Who are we?” (Shepherds) “Baby Jesus was born in our stable. Moo-moo! What are we?” (Cow) “God put a special star in the sky as a sign that a new king had been born. We followed the star to find Jesus. Who are we?” (Wise Men) “I am the greatest gift at Christmas time. My Father sent me to save the world from their sins. Who am I?” (Jesus)
Display in front of the child a nativity set. Explain that the child is to figure out what pieces of the nativity set were actually at the first Christmas. Group together based on "yes," "no," or "maybe" (the Bible doesn’t say) being at the first Christmas. When finished read the Christmas story from Luke 2 or a children’s Bible to see if the classifications are correct.
Below is a sample agenda using ideas listed above.
1. Christmas Tree Ornament
Since drying time is needed, begin with this activity. Using craft scissors, cut the popsicle sticks to the size needed. Then glue them together with a hot glue gun and paint.
2. Read The Tale of Three Trees
3. Christmas Scavenger Hunt
4. Build a Nativity Scene
Older kids love to have team games. Divide the kiddos into small teams. Give each group of children a set of play dough. Instruct them to create a manger scene just as it would have been at the first Christmas. Do not give a lot of instructions as they just cramp the imagination of children. These creations will be used for the next activity.
5. What Doesn't Belong?
Divide the children into small groups. Explain that the children are to figure out what pieces of the manger scene were actually at the first Christmas. Each team will take turns discussing and saying yes, no, or maybe (the Bible doesn’t say). If the team is correct, they get one point. After the game is finished, read the Christmas story from Luke 2 or a children’s Bible. Return to the play dough nativity scenes that the children created. Who had the most items correct?
6. Return to the Christmas Tree Ornaments to decorate.
7. Happy Birthday, Jesus Cake
End with cake and drinks. Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and pray thanking God for “sending His only Son, the whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have eternal life.”