Monday, November 25, 2013

The Young Life Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant & Christmas Club Ideas

We're celebrating Christmas early in our area and holding our 4th Annual Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant next Monday. The early date is mainly to accommodate our college leaders who start exams the following week. We typically do a combo of a traditional Christmas Club with games and music along with 'The Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant.'
Here's our schedule for this upcoming Monday. Each element is explained below or through a 'link' within the schedule

Christmas Club 2013
We usually start club at 7:37, but start this particular event earlier to allow more time so it's not rushed

6:50-7:20- Pics with Santa/ Awkward Christmas Cards
7:22- Tonight, Yes, Tonight- Buddy the elf (host)
7:23- Christmas Medley (band)
7:26-12 days of Christmas (mixer & song)
7:30- Mr. Christmas Tree Training Video
7:35- Mr. Tree group dance 
7:40- Buddy the elf spaghetti game
7:44- Judges Panel introduced
7:45- Talent Competition
7:59- Jibjan Elf head video
8:02- Announcements
8:04- Parade of Trees (Runway Script)
8:12- Contestant Interviews
8:16- Voting (tallied during talk)
8:19- Joy To The World
8:23- What Child Is This?
8:26- Intro Drew
8:28- Drew Talk
8:43- Crown winner
8:46-exit music

Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant (MCTP)
Brian Summerall started doing Mr. Christmas Tree at Pearce High School in Texas years ago. You can read more about his vision for the pageant on his website.  Since then, the idea has spread all over the country.  Many YL clubs have each grade nominate one guy to represent their class in the pageant. When we started doing it 4 years ago, we decided to make it a senior guys competition. It's created great momentum and given the underclassmen something to look forward to. This year's senior guys will compete, many remembering the first ever MCTP when they were freshmen. The last few years we've had around 15-20 senior guys compete. Each of them brings friends to club to 'vote' for them, so it typically is our highest attended club of the semester.  Because of the energy surrounding the event, we also make it the first night folks can sign up for Crooked Creek, our summer camp trip. 

*We also do a similar event, 'The Ms. Valentines Pageant' for the senior ladies in February.

Talent Competition

A fun way to get committee folks, teachers, coaches, and former leaders involved is to ask them to serve on the MCTP Judges Panel. If you select one guy from each grade, or use 4-8 total guys, each guy could have time to perform an individual talent like dancing, singing, silly tricks, etc... In that case the judges panel could use this sheet from Brian Summerall to help keep score. 

If you have more than 8 guys, I'd recommend putting the guys into 'talent groups.' This year we have 4 groups of 4 guys, each group is practicing together to prepare a funny 'talent.' 

You can decide if the panel determines the winner, or if you vote by applause, text message, or by the audience each circling a name on a ballot you pass out towards the end of the competition.

Parade of Trees

Summerall duct tapes actual trees to guys, which is hilarious. We encourage guys to dress as tree, open to their own interpretation. Some use actual tree branches taped to their body, some wear ornaments, tinsel, star hats, popcorn strings, some dress in green and brown, but everyone of them is covered in strands of Christmas lights. After they walk down the runway onto the stage, we have a couple of power strips where they each can plug in their lights. 

During their runway walk we have an announcer reading a funny 'runway script.' Each guys submits personal stats they would put on a resume and we work together on making it funny. Here's the script we used last year. I'm planning on asking the guy who is the PA announcer at our high school football games to come in and read the script in his awesome football announcer voice. 


We typically have someone dress up as 'Buddy The Elf' and host the entire evening as sort of a Ryan Seacrest/Will Ferrell combo character.  It helps the flow of the evening if one person is directing stage traffic. 


If possible, get last year's Mr. Christmas Tree to return home for this club to crown the new winner. Create an elaborate 'sash and star crown' for the presentation. We're doing this after the talk in order to give time to tally the vote during the talk, and its a fun way to conclude the evening. 

If you have a handful of contestants, each guy should make their own 'entry video' or 'training video.' They could be practicing singing, doing pushups, running bleachers, visiting a Christmas tree lot, painting themselves green, duct taping branches on their bodies, drinking lots of egg nog, etc...

If you're using a lot of contestants, make one training video together. Here's the video we made last year.

Here are some examples of videos from other clubs:
Pearce Young Life

Pearce Young Life 2012 
Wichata Falls Young Life  

Amarillo Young Life
Delta County Young Life 


Ask friends for BIG inflatables and borrow Christmas lights. Click here for more details.


  • Rudolph, Feliz Navidad, and Jingle Bells are good fast ones. 
  • 'What Child is this?' and 'Silent Night' are good slow ones. 
  • Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is you" is good background music for fillers and games. 
  • "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" by N'Sync is a must.


12 Days Of Christmas Song & Mixer   
As a mixer, use the song "12 days of Christmas" and divide your club into 6 groups. Group 1 will have "the 1st day of Christmas and the 7th day of Christmas, Group 2 will have day 2 and day 8, etc... Personalize the song to fit your club. Ex: If you took kids to Crooked Creek and the program team used Skippy the fish, then you could change the lyrics to: "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, Skippy in a Crooked Creek." Get creative.

If you need a large group game you can play "Encore" or "Sing-off" and have each class compete (team of freshmen, team of sophs, etc...) to sing Christmas carols. If they repeat one that has already been sung, they are out. Works pretty good if you have team captains for each group.

Little Nemo Elf
The traditional "Little Nemo" skit works great with Elves. It's explained here.   

Christmas Carols with Helium 

Buddy The Elf Spaghetti Contest
Start it off by showing the clip from the movie Elf where Will Ferrell eats spaghetti with maple syrup, marshmallows, m&ms, & skittles. Then have a character come on stage dressed as an Elf. You can buy an "elf shirt" lots of places like Walmart/Target or online at Elf Shirt Purchase. Have "Buddy the Elf" come out with all the ingredients mentioned above. You also need a tarp, towels for the kids to clean up with afterwards, theme music to play in the background, and bowls. Have the kids race to eat with their hands. Give out decent sized portions where a kid can actually eat it all in a minute. If you put too much in there, it will take to long and be a dud. 

Create a JibJab video of your YL leaders heads on the bodies of elves. You have to pay to download it, or you can just show it if you have internet where you have club.

Pics With Santa
Invite a committee member or parent to dress up as Santa and have kids get their pics taken with him. Invite another adult to take the pics in order to free up leaders to be with kids. Lighting is key for good photos. Chances are you have a parent or friend of YL in the community who loves photography, has a sweet camera, and would love to do it for free. 

Candy Canes  
Pass them out before club. They're cheap and festive. 

Ugly Sweaters
Encourage kids to dress up in their ugliest Christmas sweaters. Odds are, their moms probably have some sweet ones in the attic. If not, a Goodwill trip is always great contact work.

Here are a few ideas thanks to Sean McGever and

What Christmas Club ideas can you add? Please comment below or email me here and I'll add them to the post. Merry Christmas! -Drew


What is the most creative way to let your parents/friends/grandparents/YLAreaDirector know you want a Spikeball set for Christmas?  

Comment below or tweet your response and tag @YoungLifeLeader. One winner will be selected and sent a Spikeball set along with another one for your YL club, a $100 retail value!

Congrats to the following folks who have already won 2 sets each! Seven more chances to win! 
  • Spencer Vanderheide, MI
  • Will Orr, VA
  • Lisa Cromwell, OH
  • Matt Wade, CO

1 comment:

  1. @younglifeleader Hire a plane to write it in the sky, make tshirts for the committee members with a photoshopped picture of YL kids playing spike ball or have your YL kids paint their car windows with your request