It's only October and you are probably right in the thick of enjoying fun fall activities like drinking pumpkin spice lattes and watching the leaves change color. It won't be long however, until you're replacing your pumpkin spice with gingerbread and donning another layer of clothing before heading outdoors. And of course with the colder weather comes the most wonderful time of the year - that's right - Christmas!
We know, we know - on one hand the idea of the upcoming Christmas season makes you feel like Buddy the Elf, but on the other hand, there is a tiny bit of the Grinch deep down inside, because quite frankly, there is just So. Much. To Do.
We totally get it, which is why we have created a master to-do list to help you and your church prepare for Christmas (because we know it just wouldn't seem like Christmas without a list, or two, or three...).
Many churches like to implement a devotional guide to go along with their services leading up to Christmas. Devotional guides are a great way to ensure that the true "reason for the season" doesn't get lost in all the commercialism and busyness that comes along with this important holiday.
Maybe your church celebrates Advent (which by the way begins on December 3rd this year), or you simply like to have a Bible reading plan to help your members focus their thoughts on Jesus leading up to celebrating the Savior's birth. Whatever the case may be, if you are planning to have a devotional guide, now is definitely the time to decide which one you want to use, or if you want to create your own. There are many Christmas devotional guides and Bible reading plans that can be found online and that can be read right on your phone.
Graphics for Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
Your church’s Christmas branding is an important—and big—task. And if you want to do it right, you will need visual content, which graphics can help to provide. The good news is, you don't have to be a Photoshop master to create your own graphics. There are several church graphic design tools that you can utilize to make your own graphics for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
If you're hoping to create likeable and shareable Christmas graphics for use on social media, here are some tips to remember:
- Your graphics should evoke emotion.
- Your graphics should not have too much text.
- Your graphics should contain the perfect picture.
For effective branding purposes, you'll need to ensure you use the same graphics and color schemes on social media that you do on your printed materials, such as church bulletins, postcards, flyers, etc.
As you prepare your church for Christmas, don't forget about your website! You'll definitely want to redesign the homepage and make it look a little more Christmas-y. Here are some cool ideas that will be sure to warm the hearts of your website visitors:
- Create a new banner with a photo from the previous Christmas service and the dates and times of this year's Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.
- Make your homepage look like a Christmas card, complete with a nativity scene.
- Incorporate a verse from the Christmas story in the Bible on your homepage.
- Include nice and simple graphic images to your homepage, such as candles, ornaments, snowflakes, and wreaths.
Since Christmas is one of the best-attended services of the year, your homepage should also include important info that visitors will find useful, such as directions to the church, what to wear, and other things they should expect.
Christmas Website Page
While your homepage should invite guests to come to your Christmas service, you might want to dedicate a whole new website page to your Christmas service and events. It's not uncommon for churches to have several events leading up to the Christmas service, and you'll want to keep the information as organized and easy to find as possible.
Here are some things you'll want to include on your Christmas webpage:
- Welcome words
- Service dates and times
- Information on other Christmas Events (Kids activities, pageants, parties, etc.)
- Social media share buttons
And for sure you'll also want to include a way for people to invite their family and friends to all of your church's Christmas events.
Check In With Other Staff
Don’t try to get your church ready for Christmas all by yourself. It’s important to check in with your entire staff to find out which ministries are planning on doing something for Christmas. For example, do certain ministries have a party you’ll need to promote? Or does another have a special class for loved ones who struggle during the holidays? Is the children's ministry going to be putting on a program again this year?
Speaking of staff, don’t forget to create to-do lists for your staff on the Sundays of Advent, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, to make sure they all know what their jobs are on those days.
It cannot possibly be Christmas without the appropriate decorations. And when it comes to the décor, you'll need to know who will be decorating for your Christmas service. You'll also want to ensure you have all the decorations in plenty of time, which means you will need someone to take stock of what you already have and what you might need. If you're reusing decor from last year, make sure it's still in good condition.
Some things you might need to order include:
If you put up a nativity scene, you'll want to make sure all the pieces are still there (you wouldn't want to find out last minute that you're missing one of the wise men) and that all the parts are still intact. When it comes to decorating for Christmas, you might also want to set up a photo booth for families.
One of the best parts about Christmas is that people really do get into the spirit of giving. This is why holding some sort of Christmas drive is such a great idea. Doing this takes planning, plus someone has to be in charge of the drive.
Whether it's a clothing or food drive, donating gifts and toys, or the church is sponsoring a family, you'll need to make room for announcing this in your church newsletter and on your website. You'll also want to ensure people know how to give - maybe you have a drop-off site in your church lobby or at a local venue.
People are usually more than willing to give, especially at Christmas, and they'll probably appreciate knowing this information ahead of time so that they can plan what to give and where it needs to go.