Ever since returning from a trip to the Middle East I have wanted to prepare a supper where we ate on the floor with blankets and pillows. This night is the perfect time to do that. “Back to Bethlehem” will help you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and will be a memorable night for all.
Invite your guests to this special evening with the following invitation attached to a small bag of gold chocolate coins. Download and print the invitation here. It would look great on tan paper and you can burn the edges for a special effect. (The invitation you can download does not have a date or time. You can use PicMonkey to add your own text with the date, time, and location of your Back to Bethlehem activity.) If you’re needing some ideas for costumes, be sure to check out these easy and inexpensive ideas for Nativity costumes.
Select a large area (maybe a family room) where you can lay down several blankets and quilts. Gather big pillows for guests to lounge on. Look around your home for any plants, baskets, vases, or anything that will help create the setting of old town Bethlehem. Turn off the lights and eat by candlelight or lanterns.
Have big bowls and communal platters of fruit, cheese, flatbread, olives, dates (chocolate covered!) hummus, pickles, or anything you can eat with your hands.
– A centurion-type character can greet your guests at the door and collect the taxes (the chocolate coins you included with the invitation).
– While you are waiting for all guests to arrive serve small glasses of mint-lime lemonade. (My favorite drink from the Middle East. It’s amazing!)
– Have everyone gather on the blanketed floor for the evening meal.
– Take pictures while your guests are eating and lounging – some authentic Middle Eastern music would be fun. You can find stations on Pandora.
– When the meal is finished, invite your guests to some tables where each group will play a game with a dreidel. See instructions for making a driedel and playing here.
– Return to the seating area and read the story from Luke 2 of the birth of Jesus Christ. (Or act it out if you have willing participants!) Sing “Silent Night.”
– Watch this video about giving gifts.
– Give everyone an index card inviting them to write down something they can do this year that would be a gift to the Savior. Place the cards in a special box so you can open it the following year to see how you did in giving that gift.
-Give everyone a small picture of Jesus. On the back they can write down the gift they are going to give for Him and take it home as a reminder of their gift and the night back to Bethlehem!