The gifts are priced from 50 cents to $3, so for less than the cost of dinner, children can buy gifts for the whole family.
Then, on Christmas morning, children don’t just receive. They experience the joy of giving gifts, bought with money they earned. And the gifts are an actual surprise to their parents and other family members.
How do we get the workers for this? See the last paragraph (above) under Parents’ Night Off.
3. Pass It On
There’s no better way to show people the spirit of giving than to ask them to give in a way that doesn’t benefit your church at all. Pass it on. Here’s how we do it.
Our church is in Southern California, so we’ve unofficially adopted a small church in a tiny, off-the-map town in Mexico.
Every year we buy plastic Christmas bags for our church members to take home and fill up with helpful, inexpensive gifts from a list we provide. These are very mundane items to us (pencils, socks, and so on), but children in Mexico cling to them like buried treasure.
In the middle of December we invite people to head over the border with us to give these bags to hundreds of delighted, grateful children. For many of them it’s the only Christmas gift they get that year.
There are needs near you that have nothing to do with your church. Find them and pass on a blessing.
4. Christmas Eve – Short & Sweet
People want to go to church on Christmas Eve, so we give families something everyone can enjoy.
We usually hold Candlelight Services at 4:30pm & 6:30pm, each one preceded by what we call Family Fun Time at 4pm & 6pm. This year (2017) with Christmas Eve on a Sunday, we’ll offer identical services at 10am and 5pm, with Family Fun at 9:30am and 4:30pm.
Families are encouraged to come early, gather outside in the cool Southern California air, where we have hot drinks, snacks, cookie decorating and a photo booth for families to enjoy together. If you live in Nebraska I suggest holding this indoors.
Then we make two promises about our Candlelight Services.
1. It Will Be Simple – Christmas carols, the Christmas story and lighting candles while we all sing Silent Night together. Even in a church like ours, that constantly changes things up, what people crave on Christmas Eve is something simple, familiar and comforting.
2. We’ll Keep It Short – We start exactly on time, and we promise the family can be in the car, heading off to grandma’s house within an hour. No exceptions.