White Elephant Party

Sunday Morning and Beyond

It's a liturgical white elephant party! You know how you have these great worship ideas that, for one reason or another, just aren't going to happen in your church? (Or, maybe they will happen in your church, but you just want to share?) Well, here's a collection of Christmas-y ideas from other young clergy women. Maybe you are still looking for the perfect little thing to add to Christmas 2009, or maybe you'll file this away for next year. But we're sure there's something here for everyone. (And feel free to leave other white elephant ideas in the comments.)

  • Open up the church for daily morning prayers during Advent.
  • Host a Christmas Carol "Deep Cuts" sing-a-long where you do lesser known carols.
  • Have kids dressed as different animals sing the various verses of the carol "The Friendly Beasts."
  • Hand out strips of fabric as people enter, each with the names of
    the different people in the Christmas story. As the names are mentioned
    in the reading, invite people forward to weave their strips together,
    affirming that we all have something to offer Jesus.
  • If you serve a congregation that's short on children, invite kids
    from another congregation to participate in your pageant or for a
    children's choir performance.
  • Shake up the pageant by adding parts for Simeon and Anna.
  • Last minute Christmas pageant casting: grab people at random at the
    beginning of the worship service. It highlights the unlikeliness of
    God's choice of participants in the birth.
  • Structure a service around the songs from Luke's account.
  • During Advent, host Wednesday night meals with very casual short
    worship and with a craft that helps people think through the Christian
    meanings of Advent and Christmas.
  • Take your Christmas Eve service outside as a caroling party for
    your town or for church folks who can't get out for the evening. 
  • If your church sets up a creche scene, invite kids to bring in a
    toy that they'd like to add to the scene (if astrologers could come to
    kneel before Jesus, why not lego men or Webkinz?).
  • Have the wise men in a pageant carry in the gifts your church may
    have gathered for needy families or food pantries and set those around
    the manger as an offering for Jesus.

Thanks to all who contributed a gift for our white elephant
party…Jenny, Liv, Heidi, Catrina, Susan, Elsa. And we hope to see a
few more in the comments!

3 replies
  1. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    We had everyone bring in their family nativity scenes this year. We had them up Saturday and Sunday afternoon the first weekend of Advent, as an open house. (No one came, but publicity was a little lacking, and there was rain and a football game, no THE footbal game.) At the end of the worship service, we processed to the Fellowship Hall, where they were all set up, singing Silent Night, and had a litany and a prayer of blessing over all the creches. Hopefully, it built a link between their home displays and what we do at church.

  2. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I used to do “Christmas in your Jammies”. It was a Christmas day, very casual, not-in-the-church (but it could be, just in a nontraditional room) service. I brought a veggie platter, and the service was lessons and carols. It was at 10AM- after the presents are opened, but before it’s time to go to Grandma’s. You know, that time when the kids start beating each other up and breaking things. We had growing attendance… yes, people did come in sweats, jeans, jammies. I would buy a pair of brand new PJ pants and wear a collar.

  3. Katie
    Katie says:

    Wow. I LOVE the “Christmas in Your Jammies” idea! And not just because I could wear PJ pants to worship, although that is a strong draw.
    And I think I may refer to the “bring a toy to the creche” idea in my Christmas Eve sermon. Great list of ideas!


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