Christmas is a wonderful time of year for churches. It’s a chance to celebrate our Savior’s birth, increase charitable efforts, and reach out to the local community to spread the truth about the season. However, many of our traditional events will have to be put on hold due to COVID-19. Instead, here are six socially distanced alternatives.
Virtual Christmas Concert
Most churches won’t be able to gather their choirs together this year since singing can spread the virus. Instead, consider a virtual concert. Members of your choir or church band can stream over Zoom or another video platform.
Adopt a Family
Between job losses, reduced work hours, and medical bills, a lot of families in your community will be hurting financially this season due to COVID-19. Your church can help ease this burden by organizing a gift drive. Ask members of your congregation to “adopt” a family this Christmas. Connect them with their assigned family so that they can get a wish list of gifts to buy.
Outdoor Christmas Bazaar
Outdoor events have generally been thought of as safer during COVID-19, since they allow for more physical space between participants. If your church usually has a Christmas bazaar, consider moving it outside to promote social distancing. You could rent large tents to shield people from the elements. Be sure to set everything up for social distancing and require visitors to wear masks. Abide by your state’s regulations on public gatherings, including any limits on the number of people.
A Spin on a Christmas Bake Sale
A traditional bake sale could be dangerous because of potential COVID-19 exposure. Instead, consider ways to put a spin on the concept. For example, you could sell baking kits with sealed bags of flour, sugar, and other ingredients, plus some recipe cards. Or you could sell gift cards to local bakeries and restaurants.
Help Vulnerable Members with Shopping
The members of your congregation who are vulnerable to the virus may feel like they can’t safely go out and shop for Christmas presents this year. Organize a group of volunteers to help them get their shopping done.
Socially Distanced Nativity
To spread the message of Christmas while staying safe, create a socially distanced Nativity scene. Set this up outside your church so that passerby can see and be reminded of the true reason for the season! Be sure to space all participants at least six feet apart and ask everyone to wear masks.
Although Christmas will look different this year, there are still ways to celebrate the season. Use these ideas to keep everyone safe as you spread the message of our Savior’s birth!
Dr. Tom McElheny has served as an Elder and director of Christian education for three Sarasota, Florida churches, holds advanced degrees in business and education and is CEO of his company ChurchPlaza.com.