ELEMENT Entire Service
SUNDAY TOPIC/TEXT Christmas Traditions / Decorations
PLACEMENT Entire Service
FEEL Lighthearted, Family, Participation, Meaningful

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… unless you work at a church. (Tweet this)

Christmas can bring so many demands on church staff that it’s easy to dread the season. Every year, there is the burden of telling the same story that’s been told a thousand times before, but in a new way.

So I want to give you the outline for an entire service we use each year on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. It’s called “The Hanging of the Greens”.

We use the service to decorate our sanctuary for Christmas, involving lots of families, and teaching on the symbolism behind some of the most popular Christmas traditions. Here are the things we love about “The Hanging of the Greens”:

It brings our community together.
The service is designed to include children in

third grade and older, along with their families.

It gives new meaning to old traditions.
We tell stories that give positive reasons for decorations.

It gives a great chance for the community to share about the past year.
One element has an open mic section.

The main thing is that we include a lot of people. For each element we discuss, we have a different person or family give the story or purpose. We use video scripture readings as seen below as the transition between elements (oh, you can download those for free in the resources section below… boom!).

For each family we choose, we give them the topic, send them the notes on what we want them to communicate, and ask them to make it personal. They fill in the blanks with a story from their past – allowing us to learn about them, as well as the tradition.

Below, you can find the detailed outline and script we use each year. Feel free to copy and put your own spin on it, as we used several other resources when putting this together.

Traditions and Purposes Outline

  • Advent – brief intro to the season
  • Evergreens – God is eternal, always with us
  • Candy Canes – share the children’s tale of how it was created (we don’t claim that this is a historical account, but rather, one of the legends)
  • Ornaments – Remind us where we’ve been (remember of who God has been to us this past year, open mic with specific phrase)
  • Poinsettias – story of Mexican children (give what you have & God honors it)
  • Nativity Scene – story of first nativity – share the story of Christ
  • Lights – Jesus is the light in the darkness
  • Holly – crucifixion – we take communion together