Ideas for COVID-friendly holiday celebrations

by Bonnie Shaw on November 23, 2020 in Great Commission

As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays draw near, churches are thinking of new and creative ways to share the holiday spirit in a way that is pandemic-friendly and safe for all those who participate. The holiday season may look different in 2020, but the heart and message behind it is still the same. For many churches, this means forgoing events that have happened for years and beginning new traditions. David Adams, director of the Texas Baptist Discipleship Team, encourages churches to look at this as a time of exciting new ideas and to get an early start on planning for this holiday season. 

In order to foster collaborative input and ministry, the Discipleship Team hosted a Roundtable Discussion on Nov. 10, where church leaders gathered virtually to share holiday ministry ideas. Below are some of the ideas from the discussion. For the full discussion and to find more ideas and tips about holidays, children’s ministry and other topics, you can view the Roundtable Discussion series here

Note: due to COVID-19 restrictions on city and local levels, some of these activities may not be suitable for your church. Be sure to check local guidelines and protocols in advance.

Thanksgiving ideas

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but there is still time to have a few easy crafts to remind children and families to thank God for all of his blessings!

At home

  • Create a Thanksgiving pumpkin - Distribute or have families buy a pumpkin and write or paint things that they are thankful for on the pumpkin. Have families share their pumpkins on your church’s Facebook page or through social media platforms. This can also work with a paper turkey where each feather is a thing families are thankful for. 

  • Gratitude Box - Have families decorate a box with wrapping paper, paint, markers or any other craft supplies they choose. In the lead-up to Thanksgiving, family members will drop notes of things they are thankful for. Then, on Thanksgiving, the family can read through the notes and reflect on God’s blessing together. Be sure that parents encourage children to add to the box regularly!

At church

  • Thanksgiving box - Each Sunday school class can fill a box full of Thanksgiving items for local families in need. Kids can also make cards and crafts to include for the families. This activity can be modified so that families can drop-off items if meeting in-person is limited or if class members are high-risk. 

  • Thankfulness tree - Put a large butcher paper tree on the wall, and have kids write things they are thankful for on paper leaves, which they can add to the tree. This can either be in individual classrooms or on a hallway where everyone can contribute, depending on social distancing and classroom separation policies your church has deemed wise. 

  • Remember to appreciate staff, volunteers, and teachers! Some churches celebrate a  “thanks” for “giving” day to honor the hardworking people who keep Sunday School, children’s ministry and other aspects of the church going. 

Christmas

Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for a church. Though things may look different this year, there are still plenty of ways to share the good news of the Gospel and have fun. 

At home

  • Advent resources - Create an advent resource for parents to teach their children about the importance of Christmas. One idea is to fill a pizza box with activities or Bible verse for each day. Activities could include pipe cleaner ornaments or Christmas coloring pages.
  • Cookie making - Distribute pre-made cookie dough for families to have a cookie baking and decorating night. You can also provide fun recipes for families to bake themselves and ideas for festive Christmas decorations. For an added challenge, encourage families to create a nativity scene from the cookies and share it online. 

At church

  • Neighborhood lights tour - Make a map of some of the best Christmas lights in your city. Have families pick up a map, hot chocolate and cookies from the church parking lot, then head out to explore the town. You can even create a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music for them to listen to as they drive around.
  • Drive-thru nativity - This idea works best if your church has, or has access to, a large parking lot. Create a drive-thru nativity with various scenes from the nativity story acted out in different tableaus. Include corresponding Bible verses for families to read or listen to as they pass each scene.

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