1. Show guests to their seats and take drink orders. Kids love to role play and this will make them feel like they’re really involved in the event.
2. Help prep by setting the table, making place cards, setting up the "kids table". Kids love to be a part of the event, and they especially like feeling "adult". Setting the table will give them a sense of ownership and pride in doing something so important for the party.
3. Plan a theme: This allows kids to be creative and think outside the box with decorations and table arrangements. The theme can be as simple as "fall" with scattered leaves, autumnal tones, and pumpkins adorning the table and dining areas.
4. Open the door: This sets the stage for kids learning new social skills. Kids get excited when family and friends come to visit. Let them be the greeter and they'll feel included from the start. They can also introduce the newcomers to the rest of the party.
5. Pick music (DJ): This is a perfect activity for kids 8+. Picking the music will help kids give their own touch to the party and is a great talking point for the more shy kids and guests.
6. Pass Hors D'oeuvres (and help making them with their own simple recipe) such as Strawberry Elves. Get the kids involved in the cooking holiday recipes and when it comes time to serve they'll be excited to tell everyone what menu item they made.
7. Draw/design menus for the meal. Kids get creative when they write, color, and draw menus for holiday parties and dinners. It also give you as the parents a little time to yourself while they're busy decorating.
8. Set out an assortment of crafts for stocking decorating. Foster creativity by getting all the kids at the party to do something fun. They can all decorate stocking together and then tell about their design.
9. $5 Secret Santa game (the first person opens a wrapped gift and then the second person can choose the first person's gift or open a new one from the pile). Kids love gifts, and a little healthy competition is good for anyone! In this game everyone ends up with a gift.
10. Find the pickle (like find the afikomen) - winner gets a prize! Hide a pickle in the Christmas Tree (or anywhere are the common areas of the party venue), announce that the pickle is waiting to be found and set the kids (adults can play, too) on a hunt. The person who finds it wins a small prize. You can also re-hide the pickle a few times throughout the night to keep the game going.