Looking for creative ways to observe Christmas this year? A group of Minnesota churches assembled this list of ways to celebrate Advent and Christmas safely during a time when churches can’t enjoy fully packed sanctuaries.
1. Send care packages/worship kits with some Christmas items that families can use or enjoy as they embrace the season.
2. Send out instructions for making an Advent wreath or provide “at home hanging of the greens kits,” along with weekly prayers or readings for lighting candles throughout the season, perhaps connecting people who live alone via Zoom so they can do it together.
3. Have a brief and simple Christmas Eve worship service outdoors, perhaps with a bonfire.
4. Prepare a Christmas pageant in pictures. Kids could dress up in nativity attire and be photographed ahead of time and then the photos could be shown virtually on Christmas Eve during the telling of the Christmas story.
5. Host a drive-in Christmas movie in your parking lot using an FM transmitter.
6. Send paper bags to families and ask them to create personalized luminaries to be placed in the sanctuary and used as worship is filmed and photographed.
7. Have a virtual (live or prerecorded) Christmas pageant using Zoom and/or Facebook Live.
8. Host a drive-through or walk-through Christmas Eve experience outside your church building perhaps using a life-size nativity scene.
9. Host an Advent book study.
10. Plan a socially distanced Christmas carol sing in your church parking lot.
11. Depending on how COVID-19 case numbers are looking in December, instead of a big single Christmas worship service, host a series of brief and small “Carols by Candlelight” services in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Have people make reservations so you can adhere to capacity limits.
Pastors in the Twin Cities District of the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church shared these ideas with each other recently. This list was published on the website of the Minnesota Annual Conference and is used here by permission.
- Reaching New People this Christmas is More Important than Ever by Ann Michel and Doug Powe
- Virtual Advent, a Leading Ideas Talks podcast episode featuring Anna Petrin
- 10 Ways to Reach Unchurched People at Christmas by Carey Nieuwhof