These are seasonal resources. If you are looking for general Coronavirus advice and resources for churches, click here.
Advent and Christmas 2021
Below are the four areas I highlighted for Christmas planning last year: this year, as the pandemic continues to affect our lives and worship, many of these ideas may still be useful. Over the coming weeks, you will find fresh ideas gathered under each heading. My aim is to review and cherry-pick as many of the emerging resources as possible, and present them here for ease of reference. They are especially suitable for children, young people and families, but many will be appropriate for individuals of any age who are observing this season at home.
When Christmas Hurts
See below for a new section of resources to help people of all ages lament together at this difficult time.
If you would like to talk through your plans, or seek advice on safeguarding and risk assessments, please get in touch with me. If you have a great idea to add to this page, let me know! Contact: Claire Benton-Evans email@example.com
Keeping it local
Ways to share the Christmas message with your local community
- Advent Lights – unite and bless your community with local window displays
- The Walking Nativity – a community story walk, plus other original Nativity scripts and stories from Sparks of Hope
- Messy Nativity Advent Project – a guide to bringing the story of Jesus’ birth back into our towns and cities this Christmas
- Messy Christmas – three complete sessions and a treasure trove of craft ideas for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. There is also a load more Messy Church resources for Christmas collected here.
- Carpark Carols! Full details here
- God With Us: a host of great resources to take Christmas beyond the church building, from Faith in Kids
- A trail for children to follow: Nativity Story stones hidden in the local area, or a Nativity Treasure Hunt – full instructions and resources here
- Follow the Star: a trail to find the Christmas stars in local windows (like the NHS rainbows)
- Lessons and Carols Community Walk – take this familiar service out into the streets
- Baby Jesus Rocks! These were a big hit in Dunbar in 2018: contact St Anne’s Dunbar for details
- Knitted Angels – many churches in the diocese have enjoyed taking part in this project, including St Mark’s Portobello
- Go outside! Check out Wild Advent for brilliant faith-based outdoor activities
- Muddy Church – seasonal resources for the great outdoors
Zoom ideas, videos, slideshow material and more
- Create an online Advent Calendar
- Share this lovely Lego animation of How to make a Christingle
- Film your own version of The Lockdown Nativity (original script available on request)
- Hold a Crib Service on Zoom: full script and resources here
- Hold a Zoom Carol Singalong
- Nativity Escape Room! Digital & downloadable resource for a group of 8-15 year-olds
- There’s a wealth of lectionary-based all-age Advent and Christmas resources in Spill the Beans
- Retell the Christmas story as a slideshow of photos taken in your local area
- Share an age-appropriate video of the Christmas story, such as God With Us (beautifully told with biscuits!), the CBeebies Nativity Story or these more challenging spoken word poetry videos for teenagers about the ‘Mess’ of Christmas or the Son of God to whom government shall be given
- Leaders pre-record Nativity scenes with their own children and hold a Christmas Eve Service on Zoom. Encourage dressing up!
- Children’s Chapel – the Scottish Episcopal Church’s short online act of worship for very young children at home with their families. Available once a month on Sunday from 8am. There will be Children’s Chapel on Christmas Day, led by the Diocese of Edinburgh.
Faith at Home
Resources for families to use at home
- Give a Sticker Advent Calendar – the stickers tell the story day by day! Available from GodVenture in packs of 10 to give to schools and local families
- Advent Prayer Bags
- 25 Ways To be Thankful in Advent – a free downloadable calendar
- Nativity Craft kits – ideal for home or church use
- Christmas Journeys – an exciting new all-age resource from the Scottish Bible Society
- Prayer stars – to write on and add to the family Christmas tree
- At-home Christingles – enclose a flyer with details of a pre-recorded, open-access service OR set a time when everyone will stand outside their own front door, light their Christingle and sing a carol. Share this Lego animation with your DIY Christingles!
- Seasonal activities from GodVenture – ideas for creative and interactive ways for families to explore faith at home
The Personal Touch
Ideas for practical outreach and tangible gifts
When Christmas Hurts – Resources for Lament
Every year, some people struggle with Christmas. Financial hardship, family stress, isolation, loss and bereavement can all be felt more acutely during the Christmas period. This year, many more will be struggling because of the pandemic. The Church has a tradition of lament which we can draw on now. People of all ages – children too – need a safe space to mourn this year’s losses and bring our difficult feelings to God.
- Blue Christmas or Longest Night service – a quiet, reflective service that makes room for our grief and pain to sit alongside the hope and joy of Christmas. For a sample liturgy, click here.
- Creative worship resources for acknowledging our pain this Advent – a rich selection of visual and active worship ideas which would work well with all ages
- A Very Different Christmas – good resources for families from Together at Home.