Yes Christmas is a long way off, but if you want to do something creative or a bit different for Christmas then now might be the time to start thinking about it. Here are some ideas which have worked in other places:
- Christmas services in secular venues: e.g. Christingle in a garden centre, or a supermarket foyer/café coupled with a till collection. Darlington ASDA let us do a Christingle on Christmas Eve – it drew nearly 200 people and raised hundreds of £ for charity, as well as being a great community event. The local football club is another good slot: large crowds who are used to singing, though health and safety might mean that candles aren't allowed. Get them to switch on their mobiles instead.
- Carol singing – house to house, in local pubs or local gathering places.
- Blue Christmas: a Christmas service for people who don’t like Christmas, either due to bereavement or for other reasons. There are resources for this here from Ottawa Diocese.
- Posada (where figures of Mary and Joseph journey from house to house during Advent. A set of resources have been developed by the Church Army
- Giant Advent Calendar: an idea pioneered by churches in Warwick, having Advent windows opening at various places in the community, along with various workshops (wreath making, Christingle making) run by the churches. Would work especially well in a town centre, or in a compact village community.
- St Nicholas Day Biscuits A Dutch tradition of making biscuits on St. Nicholas Day (5th December) and taking them round to the neighbours. Great way to get to know people in your neighbourhood, something pretty much anyone in the congregation can do.
If it's Advent ideas you're looking for, try Maggi Dawn, and if you have a bit longer, then A Holy Christmas is a veritable behemoth of a site, with links to resources all over the place, both for Advent and Christmas. A few of the links are out of date, but don't let that put you off. Here are some of the sections:
Advent Calendars Advent Study Guides Advent Candlelighting Advent & Christmas Prayer Advent Wreath: Customs & Prayers Advent Preparations Christingles Jesse Trees Hanging Of The Greens Advent Meditations Advent: Other Advent & Christmas Sermons Who is Jesus? Where It Took Place Biblical Accounts & Studies Christmas History, Symbols & Traditions Christmas Eve Customs Christmas Eve Services Christmas Day Special Days Special Christmas Indexes Special Christmas Pages Christmas & Advent Hymns & Carols Christmas MIDIs Christmas Cantatas Christmas Poems Christmas Story Collections Christmas Classics: Stories Christmas Legends Christmas Dramas Christmas Narrative Sermons Christmas Meditations Various Articles Special Projects Specials: Presentations, TV Shows, Etc. Books and Movies Christmas Countdown Chat Christmas Lists Christmas Quizzes, Puzzles, Games Special Places Christmas Card Pages Special International Christmas Pages Australian Christmas Pages Christmas Travel Christmas At War Aspects Of Christmas
lets face it, nobody will be buying anything, so there'll be lots of people with time on their hands for something different........
(this, well, some of it, is an extract from Biscuit Tin, an Anglican mission newsletter for the Yeovil area)