Christmas in a small church can be difficult. Big Ideas, big expectations, small budget. Often, there is pressure to put on a big production, but there is no need to need to change who you are just because it's Christmas. With all of the new people that may come to church that week, Christmas is a great time to show them who your church really is, not show them a church that only exists on Christmas and Easter. Here are a few ways to make your Christmas service special without changing your church’s core identity.
1. Acoustic Pajama Christmas
Invite people in your congregation to wear their pajamas to service. Invite them to bring pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. This can be a fun and casual way to celebrate Christmas. And the “feel” of a pajama Christmas goes perfectly with an acoustic set of Christmas songs, as well as reading the Christmas story in a narrative "story time" style.
2. Congregational Choir
Instead of hiring a bunch of random professional musicians, put out a call to your congregation for anyone who wants to sing in a congregational choir. This isn’t a formal choir with four part harmony and traditional sheet music. It can simply be a group of people singing behind your worship leader, like Christmas caroling. This is also be a great way to get people involved who are either too shy to sing on your worship team or just not talented enough to sing solo. Those types of people can thrive in a larger group all singing together.
3. Read The Christmas Story
Many churches read the Christmas story during their Christmas services. Of course reading the scripture of which you are celebrating is always a great idea. You can spice up the reading several ways:
-If you have any actors in your congregation have them give a dramatic (BUT NOT CORNY) reading of the Christmas story.
-Invite a family to read the Christmas story. Each member can take a part of the story and read it in between different elements of service.
-Hand out readings to members of the congregation and when their time to read comes they can stand up and read from their seat.
4. Christmas Hymn Sing
Instead of your regular format consider an acoustic Christmas hymn sing. Hand out sheets of 15 or 20 Christmas songs and people can requests the song they like during service. This can be interspersed with other elements such as reading the Christmas story or a formal Christmas liturgy. This is a great way to preserve the sense of community in your small church during a week which a lot of new people will attend and change the feel of your regular community.
1. Hot Chocolate Bar
Make a few types of hot chocolate, throw in some marshmallows, whip cream, sprinkles, etc. Set it up in the lobby before and after service This is an easy and cheap way to add something special to your Christmas celebration AND a great way to get people talking to each other.
2. Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest
Invite everyone to wear their ugliest Christmas sweater to church on Christmas. People can show off their sweaters before service and then during your service (such as at the beginning during an announcement time) declare a winner of the ugly Christmas sweater contest and give them some silly prize like a jumbo pack of lint rollers.
3. Kid Greeters and Giveaway
No, you aren't giving away the kids. This is a great way to get your kids ministry involved in the service. A few weeks before, have the kids make handmade ornaments containing scriptures or pictures during children's ministry. Then during Christmas service have those same kids be the greeters and hand out their handmade ornaments to everyone that comes in the doors.