Christmas in July: Ideas for Children's Ministry

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Christmas in July
With the blazing summer temperatures, it may be hard to envision celebrating Christmas at this time of year.  But the heart of the gospel is that God came down to be present with us each and every day.  Christmas in July gives us the opportunity to talk about God’s story all over again.  The unique timing of the celebration ensures that it will be a memory maker for years to come.
Here are some ideas to create your own Christmas in July celebration.
Decorations:  Decorate with traditional Christmas decorations such as lights, garland, a Christmas tree or portable plant, ornaments, a manger scene, candy canes, or whatever else is relatively accessible or available.
Food:  Set up a sundae bar with an array of toppings, including finely crushed candy canes and/or red and green sprinkles.  Or, serve peppermint ice cream and call it, “Candy Cane Cones.”  Another option might be to decorate pre-made sugar cookies.  As always, be wary of food allergies before serving food to children.
Worship:  Sing beloved Christmas carols such as Joy to the World, Silent Night, Away in a Manger, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, The First Noel, etc.  If you have the flexibility, extend your Christmas in July celebration to another day and consider taking your group Christmas caroling to a local nursing home.
Service Project:  Adopt a missionary family with kids (whom your church supports) prior to the Christmas in July celebration.  Ask the missionary parents to create a small wish list of fun or practical items their kids could use on the field.  Have the students and their families work towards providing those items.  At the celebration, place the items under the tree with personal notes from your students and then mail them to their destination as an encouragement.
Lesson:  Read one of the accounts of Jesus’ birth, such as Luke 2:1-20 and consider having children act out the parts as you read them.  Use any number of Christmas lesson plans, available on our site.  Read a children’s picture book such as The Crippled Lamb, by Max Lucado, the Tale of Three Trees, by Angela Hunt, or Song of the Stars:  A Christmas Story by Sally Lloyd-Jones and follow the book with a gospel presentation.  Read the “He’s Here” chapter in the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones or watch the “He’s Here” scene as a mini movie and discuss what you saw.  There are so many great options to choose from!
Games:  Play any number of Christmas related games.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Pin the Star on the Christmas Tree – Play a modification of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
  • A Gift Exchange Game – Exchange items you have on hand or donated items – the sillier and the most kid-friendly the better!
  • Unwrap That Gift – With students seated in a circle, play music and pass a heavily wrapped gift around from child to child.  When the music stops, the child holding the gift can unwrap it until the music plays again and play continues.  Whoever unwraps the last component of the wrapping keeps the gift.  Just remember to wrap it in many layers:  bubble wrap, newspaper, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, paper bags, plastic bags, etc!
  • Musical Chairs – Play the party game musical chairs and use Christmas Carols for the music.
  • Over and Under Toss –  Have two teams line up front to back (girls vs boys might work out best) and pass a Christmas gift, candy cane, or ornament over their heads and under their legs.  When the item makes its way to the back of the line, that person races around to the front and play continues until players are in their original positions.

Now it’s your turn.  Have you done Christmas in July celebrations with your children’s ministry?  If so, what did you do?  Share your favorite ideas here!  Thanks!

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