The Great Commission is still in effect!
With 2020 being a year full of challenges, pivots, changes, adjustments, new normal and what-not, it is still good to remember that reaching the world with the truth of the Gospel is still a part of our ministry. So, even though there are a different set of challenges for this year, having a Christmas event with a missional mind-set is still possible. Many families are open (and ready!) to engage in their community. Let’s look at some ways that we can reach our church and neighborhood families this Christmas season!
We have several Christmas Digital Event Guides available at CTAinc.com (both free and for purchase). We will review some specific adaptations for a couple of these. First, though here are some basics for having an event to help families feel comfortable attending in our socially distanced reality.
Review your local community guidelines for social distancing.
- Check out CDC and school guidelines – to make sure families are comfortable and excited to enjoy something with minimal worry.
- Prepare volunteers for your event and include a health and safety review. Let them know the plan for clean-up, disinfecting and reporting any concerns.
Rethink your regular event plan.
- Register ahead to keep numbers in check; schedule your families by age of children, etc.
- Consider a rolling schedule (for instance – 1st and 2nd grade are from 5:00 – 6:00 pm and then, 3rd-4th grade are from 6:30-7:30pm) so you can keep the group small and do a brief disinfecting clean between groups
- Plan a rotating schedule – to keep groups smaller schedule in groups to participate in devotion, games, snack. ***(See sample schedule below.)
- You don’t have to do a drop off event only, but where you might normally have a long event with games, snacks, worship, crafts, etc. Make the event more streamlined.
- If weather allows, plan for outdoor activities so you can do more.
- Prepare take-home sets for items you might normally do on site: prepackaged crafts or snacks can be the “departure” gift. A way to take the fun home!
- Plan games and activities with distance in mind – Use or adapt games so they do not require close contact (relays are easy to adapt!). Plan devotions and sit-down times in areas where you can space based on your attendance.
Let’s consider a couple of CTA’s Christmas Event Guides – and some socially distanced adaptations!
Our event guides have lots of details for planning and parts of the event. They were not written with social distancing in mind, but some basics can adapt the plan and allow for space and cleaning.
Devotion or Bible Time: You will need to adjust for any interactions to remain limited or distanced – just plan to space the families and kids appropriately.
Crafts: If you choose to do these at the event, plan individual sets of craft items (either purchased prepackaged or separate items ahead of time into individual bags by volunteers with gloves)
Snacks: Individually package items in baggies or paper boxes then provide enough tables/space for families and children.
Games/Activities: See below for some specific examples, but generally – make sure to play games that you can space, do not require sharing items and make sure to have sanitizer stations in the room.
Game/Activity Adaptation ideas:
His Name is Jesus Children’s Christmas Event Outline (HNJ19DCE):
In this game, children are the shepherds trying to keep their sheep (balloons) in the sheep pen. Instead of the recommended dowels or rulers, pull out everyone’s favorite multi-purpose toy – Pool Noodles!!
Plan to disinfect pool noodles with wipes after use (before next group plays the game)
What you Need:
Inflated balloons (at least 3 per child)
Pool Noodles, one per child
Painter’s tape or chairs, to designate a sheep pen
What You’ll Do:
Use the pool noodles as the “shepherds’ staff” instead of the original dowels or rulers. Otherwise, the game play can be as written in the guide. Just remind them that the shepherds cannot be any closer than the distance of the staff (aka pool noodle).
Jesus is the Sweetest Gift Christmas Party Outline (CCJ18DCE):
Candy Cane Race
Most of the games in this event can be played as they are written as long as you keep the appropriate distance between the players. But the Candy Cane Race must be changed.
Make this a relay and add in some gloves for difficulty (and health!).
What you need:
2 small tables
One Candy Cane per child
Disposable gloves (one pair per child/player)
What you’ll do:
Put one bucket of candy canes and a box of gloves on each table. Create 2 “teams” in your group (space them in a line with tape or marks on the floor). Prepare a “finished” space on the other side of the table that maintains spacing.
- Player from each team walks to the table, gets a pair of gloves, puts them on, then picks their candy cane. The players race to open their candy cane. Once open, the player walks to the finish line area.
- The next player from the team moves up to the table.
***Sample rotating schedule***
Leaders rotate to your activities – not the group. This will limit mixing of groups or overcrowding a space. One “tour guide” should stay with the groups for consistency and to manage groups as activity leaders move locations.
Using last names: Red Group – A-H Blue Group – I-Q Green Group – R-Z
Arrive at 5:30 and Check-in
Take the Fun Home – The Tour Guide will bring the Take Home bags to the groups last rotation; Tour Guide dismisses the families