The end of the calendar year brings with it many celebrations, decorations, and traditions. But, in the year 2020, how do we celebrate while staying safe and socially distant? This year has brought us so many challenges as ministries and we have adapted at every step. The Advent Season is just one more opportunity to pivot and create unique opportunities for your community. Here are 20 creative ways to celebrate Advent in 2020.
- Online Advent Prayers – Create a special prayer form specifically for Advent. Embed it wherever you are highlighting your special Advent events. (Watch Michael Gyura’s Webmaster class on how to create an event category just for Advent 2020).
- Interactive Advent Calendar – Using blog categories, create an Advent space just for your ministry. Maybe your posts are prayers, poems, reflections, videos, or pdf downloads. You can schedule your posts to publish every day of advent. Leave comments turned on so people can share their thoughts and drawings!
Food Related Ideas
- Recipe Swap – Use Post fields in Gravity Forms to make it easy for your webmaster. Allow anyone to submit their favorite recipe to share with the congregation. Just because you can’t eat it at the potluck doesn’t mean you can’t share.
- Online Feast – Pick a time to have your bible study break bread together, or your whole congregation!
- Cooking Together Separately/Dinner Church – After you share recipes, why not Zoom to cook together. Maybe one person is teaching how to cook a specific dish, or everyone is cooking on their own.
- Coffee Hour + Christmas Cookies – There are so many ways this could come together. Share recipes, drop off cookies for those who can’t bake, buy cookies from the store. Whichever option you choose, plan time after Sunday Worship to chat over coffee and cookies.
Community Service Ideas
- Distribute Food/Care Items to those without homes – Utilize your website to organize who is donating what and what is still needed. Work with your community partners to allocate your church donations to those who will benefit most.
- Online Christmas Gift/Angel Tree – Many congregations traditionally have Gift/Angel Trees as a way to support those in need over the holidays. This year, do it online instead. Using a combination of Gravity Forms and an ecommerce platform, create a virtual Gift/Angel Tree for people to select from. Drop offs can be coordinated through the church.
- Advent Letters – Consider reaching out to those in your congregation who have not returned to in-person worship. Hand write a letter to them to spread a little holiday cheer. We all know the holidays can be lonely, but this year especially. We’ve been quarantining for 9 months and loneliness can take its toll on our mental health.
Worship Service Ideas
- Nightly Candle Lighting – Settle in to the dark season of the year with small reminders of hope and light. Pick a time either every night or a specific night of the week to say a short prayer/devotion and light candles together.
- Blue Christmas Service – There has been catastrophic loss this year on many levels, but the number of people who have lost loved ones to this pandemic is staggering. If you’ve never held a Blue Christmas service before, Advent 2020 might be the year to start. Create a space to remember those who have passed away and space for those who have been left behind, alone.
- Finger Labyrinth Service – Walking a labyrinth can be an extremely meditative, calming, and centering practice. When we can’t gather together and share the space, teach people how to draw a labyrinth, or send out an image that can be printed. Start your service by praying in the space, light a candle, and allow people to “walk” with their fingers at their own pace.
- Socially Distanced Candle Light Procession – Have one candle station to pick up and light individual candles. Each family group can approach and light their candles one at a time. One group leads the procession around the block or neighborhood, maybe to a park or open public space. Maybe you sing, maybe it is a silent time for prayer and meditation.
Creative Time Ideas
- Photo A Day Challenge – Instagram + Advent 2020 – Tune in for the Webmaster Class on how to set it up. We’ll even give you graphics and a list of words that correspond with this year’s lectionary! Or read about it on this blog.
- Coloring Advent Event – Similar idea to lighting candles, but super family friendly. Maybe it’s a both-and situation. There are many resources available for coloring advent materials. An Illustrated Ministry has so many resources for a coloring practice during Advent.
- Zoom Christmas Play – On Christmas Eve, don’t forget about the nativity play! But, do it over Zoom, each character reading their own part. An Illustrated Ministry also has resources for your Zoom Christmas Play.
- Sing the Messiah Zoom Concert – Many churches have that one song they traditionally sing, maybe it’s the whole of Handel’s Messiah, maybe it is something else. Why not try for a Zoom concert where everyone can sing along?
- Socially Distanced Caroling – Since singing together on Zoom and sounding like a choir at the same time can be a challenge, try socially distanced caroling. Spread out across the lawn, keep appropriate distance, and share your voices with your neighbors!
- Decoration Zoom Party – Pick a day to decorate! Share fun music and screens with your friends and neighbors as you each decorate your own homes in preparation for Christmas.
- Christmas Choir Video – This will take a tech savvy person and a little leg work on your part, but could make an amazing gift for your Christmas Eve or Christmas Day online services. Learn how to record and mix a video.
Worship Times is a full-service digital marketing and communication team that specializes in helping ministries of all sizes and denominations reach their people. Whether you need help planning your Advent posts, or need someone to set up the Advent features on your website, we are here to support your ministry. Let’s get started with a free website review today.