Church Christmas Ideas

Church Christmas Ideas

Get Your Church 100% Christmas Ready

By: Cory Edwards | Communications & Marketing Habits & Culture

How do you plan a Christmas service?

We all know the Super Bowl seasons in the church world: Christmas Eve Services and Easter. And while the reason we celebrate each holiday is profound, the message is truly simple: Jesus came to earth because he loves us. If Jesus made the season that simple, so can we. 

Which is why planning your church’s Christmas festivities in advance is paramount to a more peaceful season centered around the reason we celebrate. And our recommendation? If Hallmark can play Christmas movies in July, your church can start planning Christmas in July too. 

We know. Your church probably has summer events in full swing, fall ministry launches to prepare for, and a couple other holidays before Christmas rolls around (Thanksgiving, anyone?). But your early preparation will bless your church, staff, volunteers, and those you’re all working to reach. And we’ve got some Christmas Eve Services ideas to consider as you begin your planning, whether you start in July or a little later.

Focus on People

1. Make it all about family

You don’t need gimmicks. Don’t worry about being flashy. Focus on nostalgia and memories. After all, this holiday is important to families. Include a children’s element. Sing traditional Christmas carols. Decorate with a few Christmas trees. Mix traditions with something new that your church family can look forward to every year. 

Families take off work and set aside dedicated time to be with loved ones at Christmas. Take that into account as you plan events and service times, and then center your events around creating fun memories for every member. 

2. Create opportunities for connection

As you incorporate family elements into your Christmas program, don’t forget to think through your larger church family as well. If you have single attendees, empty nesters, or widows, help them feel like part of the whole. Church isn’t just about reaching young families. Every attendee matters. 

3. Know your community

Depending on your church’s location, you may not have a multigenerational church or primarily families. That’s great! Your Christmas planning should still focus on your people and who they consider to be family. 

Start a fun new tradition that speaks to the community around you. Invite immigrants or international students. Do something that feels very American Christmas. They’ll love it! You don’t have to fit a mold. Create Christmas for your people and your church.

4. Acknowledge the challenges that come with the season

This season can also be especially sensitive for those who have recently lost loved ones, or who have families that are challenging or estranged. Acknowledge that while there are many reasons to celebrate, this season can also come with a level of grief. 

It’s All in the Planning

1. Avoid team burnout

Because Christmas is a busy season, begin planning now for some ways to help your staff team and volunteers avoid burnout, enjoy the event, and still have time and energy for their families. We have more ideas on that here.

2. Make sure everyone is on the same page

Beginning your planning in July allows time to process ideas, include all needed parties, hear opinions, research options, and begin booking equipment or renting decor. It can take weeks or months for this to play out, depending on the size of your staff and the scope of your Christmas event.

3. Recruit volunteers 

This goes hand in hand with not burning out your staff. Recruit volunteers from the church body to partner with you in executing your event. Offer childcare opportunities to make it easier, or create positions in which older kids can serve with Mom and Dad. So many families love to serve together this time of year. Why not at their church?

4. Make a budget 

This may seem like common sense but it can quickly become the thing that hinders executing the ideas your team had for your event. Know what you can spend, what you are willing to spend, and what each team needs once all the ideas have settled. You can create an excellent event on a smaller budget when you plan ahead.

How to make your Christmas service feel special

1. Marketing

Every Jesus-centered church has some kind of Christmas event happening. Chances are, your community will be flooded with marketing regarding which church to visit. 

Our recommendations? Create a strategy, use your people to market, maximize social media, and create a Christmas sermon series leading up to the special day. Start marketing before Thanksgiving!

OR, save your marketing dollars and throw everything into marketing the next thing for January. People already know if they want to attend a church service for Christmas. They also will most likely be more swayed by a personal Christmas Eve service invitation than a thousand-dollar marketing piece. Give people something to look forward to in the new year (see number 4 below).

2. Messaging

Keep your event title simple. No need to come up with something flashy. People want to know it’s Christmas related. But what you can do is come up with creative art. Fine-tune your messaging. Create an entire branding package. Arm your people with social graphics. Be clear. Keep it simple. Focus on Jesus. Be creative. This is where you can shine. 

3. Memories

Create opportunities for memories. Family event, remember? And ultimately, it’s a church family event. So these memory-making moments will engage and apply to the singles, young families, empty nesters, and widows/widowers when done well. Create opportunities for a family or group photo (without church branding). Set up firepits for s’mores or offer cookies and cocoa. Include a kids element in your programming. There is no limit to fun, inexpensive options you can incorporate here. Make it all about your people. If they are excited, they will invite others too.

4. Months to come

Focus on the months to come. People are ready for something new in January. They want a fresh start, new goals, a place to belong and work on their faith. Spend your creativity coming up with ways to encourage and challenge them here. Incorporate a video for a new sermon series, or advertise your next big event in January. Engage them in what’s coming so people are excited about what’s in store past the holidays.

Make Jesus the Focus

Ultimately, whatever you do for Christmas, let the simple message of Jesus’ arrival shine through, and your event will be a success. 

We want to help you make this Christmas the best yet

Looking at your task list for this Christmas and shivering (but not from the cold)? We help serve churches at Christmas—and all year long—in two ways.

  1. Join the ArtSpeak Creative Community: Our online community is a great place to connect with ministry creatives like you, on the same mission, all learning from one another. We share resources, gather for weekly learning sessions, and get feedback from one another so we can remain at our best creatively while staying healthy and in love with Jesus. To get in on all our Christmas prep resources and trade ideas with other creatives on the same journey as you, check out the ArtSpeak Creative Community.
  2. Book a call with an ArtSpeak strategist: If you’re interested in more focused help for your church, we would love to partner with you to plan Christmas … or to help with any need your church may have. Use the contact form below for your free 30-minute consultation.