How to make a Christmas tree punch

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I am a planner!! But I also like last minute ideas… so is this a Christmas activity/ gift idea that you plan or make last minute.. well both! Ha! Not very helpful I know. But I do think you can take great joy in taking your time over this (collecting small gifts over a few weeks) or quickly pull this together the night before Christmas… here we have a Christmas Tree Punch Cup Game or Gift Christmas Tree!

diy punch cup game for Christmas
Sometimes these are also known as Christmas Poke Trees

Punch Cup Activities or Punch Cup Trees like this are very popular in the US. It is a quirky and unusual way to gift smaller gifts, or gift vouchers especially for families with older teens or young adults. Where the usually “latest toy” just isn’t a thing anymore and gift cards become become more popular.

Punch Cup Games can also be used with your students in the classroom (see below for info).

The lovely Christi Sell on Facebook greated this Christmas Punch Cup Gift for her teens and kindly shares the “how to make a punch cup activity”, as well as how to play (there are different approached to this too!).

punch cup  tree gifts

Supplies needed to make a Christmas Tree Punch Cup Gift

  • Large piece of cardboard or poster board
  • A set of (paper) cups to fill your tree shape – in this case 32. But you can also find an arrangement to make this an advent punch cup tree if you wish!
  • Tissue paper & elastic
  • Hot glue
  • A range of small gifts, gift cards, jokes and promises depending on who you are using this poke gift tree with

How to make your Christmas Tree Punch Cup Gift

Let’s take a look at how to make a punch cup board

Hot glue cups to cardboard or poster board. Though be careful, if you hot glue gun is very efficient, it could melt the cups… so it is best to use paper cups, or take care with the hot glue and your cups.

Fill the cups with your gifts. As mentioned – this can be adapated on who you are gifting the Poke Tree too. If this is for your young adults, you may want to gift gift cards, cash, book vouchers, small items like USB sticks etc etc. I do feel you must ALWAYS add sweets too! For a classroom Christmas Punch Tree, you may want to add chocolates, small items of stationery, Christmas themed gifts etc.

Secure tissue paper to cups with rubber bands. Coffee filters also work great to cover the cups and they are super cheap. You can use either tape or rubber bands to hold them down

How to use your Christmas Tree Punch Cup Game

christmas tree punch
Another way to decorate your Punch Cup Game – from FB Reader!

Using a Punch Cup Game in the Classroom

Christi first got the idea from a principal at a school she worked at. She had a cup punch wall for a beginning of the year thing so she adapted it:

I did something similar with my 6th grade class yesterday. They had to answer a math & trivia question. I also had name this tune. The child answering correctly, got to punch through a cup of their choice and claim their prize.

I had candy & prizes in the containers & a million dollar chocolate bar! During lunch my 1st period told my other classes which container had the million dollar chocolate bar!

Using this Christmas Punch Tree for gifting to Teenagers

They take turns and they rock paper scissors to start! Last year I put a $100 and a $50 and unfortunately my younger son got both. The older one was a pretty good sport about it though even though my kids don’t get along at all!

With my kids I’m doing this with cash on Christmas Eve & name this tune!

I added two “elves”. The person that gets the Elves can take anyone’s gift prior to them!

Yep! I quit buying my kids “stuff” a few years ago and just get them gift cards or tickets or experiences but that can get boring to open so I have to come up with creative ways to gift them.

Extension ideas

Instead of punching the punch cups, you can use a nerf gun to break the seals! E.g. play bingo… the winner gets three goes at using the nerf gun to punch through the tissue paper and claim their prize.

Other ideas for gifting gift cards to teens

A few years ago I got a huge box and filled it with bean bag bens and hid the cards and stuff in there! I’ve also done treasure hunt type things.

What are the rules? Other Ways to Play

You could:

  • Dice: Roll a pair of dice – double sixes (or whatever) gets to open a punch cup.
  • Advent: Dani Frank for us it is an advent calendar. Put numbered stickers on each one so they know which one to open.
  • Bingo: Dani Frank we have Christmas bingo and when they win they get to punch a cup
  • Work Party: We did this for my work party this year! Each “punch” had a naughty or a nice bracelet. Then there was a area to choose either a naughty or nice gift depending on which bracelet we punched out. So much fun!

I do think this is a super creative way of gifting to tweens and teens and I think we will be adding this Christmas Punch cup game to our “must make” this Christmas.

I love that you can totally adapt how to play punch cup game depending on who you are using this gifting activity with and that it works with a large group of children (i.e. students in the classroom) as well as kids at home on Christmas Day!

how to gift money to teens

Now you know how to make a punch cup tree or punch cup gift activity, I hope you are all set for the festive season!!

Happy Gifting!

More fun Christmas Activities for all the family here:

Christmas Ideas